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PowerPoint Keynote Prezi

Pros and Cons of PowerPoint, Keynote, and Prezi

Posted by Gabrielle Reed | April 19, 2016



The versatility and compatibility of PowerPoint is a primary selling point for many presenters. Since it functions with both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS, PowerPoint is especially ideal for users intending to distribute their presentation out to other individuals and groups. Compared to Keynote and Prezi, PowerPoint has robust design options and multimedia capabilities. Through this program, users are able to follow a simple process to add audio and video clips to their slides.


Although PowerPoint is compatible across both Mac and PCs, the quality of the program is not created equal on each system – with the Mac version falling short of the PC version. On the design front, what PowerPoint makes up for in design options, it lacks in design function. Plus, audiences may perceive PowerPoint templates and themes as outdated



For those well-versed in Mac applications, Keynote will be breeze. Beginning presenters, along with veterans who are pressed for time will also appreciate the ease of Keynote. Equipped with templates with built-in layouts into the themes, Keynote allows its users to essentially knock out two birds with one stone. Are you featuring animations in your deck? Keynote handles these much better than PowerPoint or Prezi. Compared to PowerPoint, Keynote boasts more elegant, sleek templates and design features powered by Adobe programs. If you want to save your Keynote presentations as a YouTube video or Quicktime slideshow, there will be no hassle involved in the effort.


PC users might really struggle with Keynote upon first introduction. For example, the application’s design tools are nested in dropdown menus and tabs, possibly foreign to the avid PC user.



Prezi is a useful option for particularly storytelling-driven presentations. It’s non-linear storytelling capabilities far surpass the offerings in either PowerPoint or Keynote. From integrating multimedia and pngs and vector images constructed outside the web-based application fairly seamlessly to allowing collaboration among team members invested in the presentation, Prezi provides unique design and distribution capabilities. This presentation-building option also adds movement to a presenter’s message, which could be particularly engaging in many settings.


While Prezi’s web-based format provides simple embedding processes for blogs and web pages, any disruption in Internet connection or tiny glitch can reduce design quality and functionality. Even utilizing the zoom functions within Prezi can lead to fuzzy and pixelated photography. Some audiences could find the zoom functions gimmicky, while others could succumb to motion sickness. Designing within Prezi can be a challenge too, as users are limited to a set amount of colors and fonts and shapes are difficult to manipulate.

more on presentations in this IMS blog

Death by PowerPoint

How PowerPoint is killing critical thought

Bored students is the least of it – the bullet point-ization of information is making us stupid and irresponsible

The genesis story runs like this: from the late 1950s corporations began to realise that, rather than going to the trouble of developing new products they hoped would meet a need, they could use marketeers to create the perception of need, then develop products to meet it (a shift brilliantly dramatised in the TV series Mad Men). To do this, different departments had to be able to speak to each other, to sell ideas internally. So while there had always been meetings, now there were meetings about meetings and – hey presto! – the modern world was born.

The presentational precursor to PowerPoint was the overhead projector, which is why PP screens are still called “slides”. The program owes most to Whitfield Diffie, one of the time lords of online cryptography, but it was quickly snapped up by Microsoft. Its coding/marketing roots are intrinsic to its cognitive style, being relentlessly linear and encouraging short, affirmative, jargonesque assertions: arguments that are resolved, untroubled by shades of grey.

It’s no coincidence that the two most famous PowerPoint presentations are: a) the one presented to Nasa managers by engineers, explaining with unarguable illogic why damaged tiles on the space shuttle Columbia were probably nothing to fret about; and b) General Colin Powell’s equally fuzzy pitch for war with Iraq. Now, blaming PowerPoint for Iraq would be a bit like blaming Darwin for Donald Trump, but the program made scrutiny of the case harder. Not for nothing did Brigadier General McMaster, of the US military, subsequently liken the proliferation of PP presentation in the military to an “internal threat”, saying: “It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control. Some problems are not bullet-izable.

More on the topic in this blog:

maximise PowerPoint’s true potential.

Course content

  • An introduction to the principles of data visualisation
  • Storytelling with PowerPoint
  • How to design using PowerPoint
  • Creating compelling narratives
  • Practical exercise: create a sample slide using pen and paper
  • Tools and further reading
  • Q&A and group discussion


PowerPoint alternatives

Finally, the pre-Internet application PowerPoint, which is suffocating higher education in terms of presentation alternatives, is discussed to be retired:

The Company Trying To Kill Microsoft PowerPoint Just Raised $57 Million

Microsoft Sway
Microsoft Is Sick Of PowerPoint, Too

Death by PowerPoint (from #POD13)

what is it:

how it could be:

Nancy Duarte: The secret structure of great talks

Cheating Death by PowerPoint: Analyze and Synthesize

how to do storytelling:

How to tell a story (6 talks) 

how to student learning

How Can We Amplify Student Learning? The ANSWER from Cognitive Psychology


We know now from rigorous testing in cognitive psychology that learning styles are really learning preferences that do not correlate with achievement (An et al., 2017).

An, Donggun, and Martha Carr. “Learning styles theory fails to explain learning and achievement: Recommendations for alternative approaches.” Personality and Individual Differences 116 (2017): 410-416.

To assist time-strapped instructional faculty and staff, we offer a consolidated summary of key cognitive science principles, in the form of an easy-to-remember acronym: ANSWER.

Attention: Learning requires memory, and memory requires focused attention. Multitasking is a myth, and even the more scientifically-accurate term “task-switching” yields errors compared to focused attention. The brain is quite adept at filtering out dozens of simultaneous stimuli, as it does every second of wakefulness. Attention is a required ingredient for learning. This has ramifications for syllabus policies on the use of electronic devices for note-taking, which have been shown to be irresistible and therefore lead to distraction and lower scores (Ravizza, Uitvlugt, and Fenn). Even when students are not distracted, laptops are used primarily for dictation, which does little for long-term memory; writing by hand does more to stimulate attention and build neural networks than typing (Mueller and Oppenheimer).

Novelty: variety into lesson plans, activities, and opportunities for practice, instructors amplify potential learning for their students. Further, the use of metaphors in teaching enhances transfer, hemispheric integration, and retention, so using picture prompts and images can further solidify student learning (Sousa).

Spacing: Sometimes called “distributed practice,”the spacing effect refers to the jump in performance when students study a subject and then practice with gaps of time, ideally over one or more nights (sleep helps with memory consolidation), as compared to studying all at once, as if cramming the night before a test. Cramming, or massed practice, is successful for temporary test performance, since information is loaded into working memory. But the practices that work well for short-term memory do not work well for long-term memory. The spacing effect is particularly effective when combined with interleaving, the intentional practice of mixing in older learning tasks/skills with the new ones (Roedeiger, et al.). An ideal example of this would be regular quizzes in the semester that are cumulative (think “tiny final exams”).

Why: Memory is associative; when new memories are formed, neurons wire together (and later fire together), so the context can lead to the information, and vice versa. A teaching strategy of comprised of questions to guide lesson plans (perhaps even beginning with mystery) can pique student interest and learning potential.  If you use PowerPoint, Haiku Deck, or Prezi, do your slides consist primarily of answers or questions?

Emotions: Short-term memories are stored in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain associated with emotions; the same area where we consolidate short-term into long-term memories overnight.
As instructors, we create the conditions in which students will motivate themselves (Ryan & Deci, 2000) by infusing our interactions with the positive emptions of curiosity, discovery, and fun. Simple gamification (quizzes with immediate feedback, for instance) can help.

Repetition: The creation of a new memory really means the formation of synapses across neurons and new neural pathways. These pathways and bridges degrade over time unless the synapse fires again. Consider the days before smartphones, when the way to remember a phone number was to repeat it several times mentally. Repetition, in all its forms, enables more effective recall later. This is why quizzing, practice testing, flashcards, and instructor-driven questioning and challenges are so effective.

more on learning styles in this IMS blog

more on multitasking in this blog

for and against the use of technology in the classroom

on spaced learning in this blog




Combining screencasting, desktop control, and an interactive whiteboard in one app, you’ll never have to turn your back to the class or audience again. Create a lesson or presentation, insert images, save and edit your project and record a screencast video you can easily save or share. Doceri does it all!

Control your lesson or presentation live with Airplay or through your Mac or PC. Annotate a Keynote or PowerPoint, or present your original Doceri project. Great for student projects, too.

Positives Peculiarities
Airmore – crossplatform (Android + iOS) Airmore – more of a presentation tool
Doceri  screensharing Doceri – more of a collaborative tool

5 Online Collaborative Whiteboard Services

Thursday, March 22, 2018

WebRoom is a free service for hosting online meetings

Know Lounge is a free platform that will let you create a live broadcast from your laptop.

Stoodle is a free online collaborative whiteboard tool hosted by CK12.

 Draw Chat is a free service that allows anyone to create a video chat over a whiteboard, PDF, image, or map

Scratchwork is an online whiteboard and video conferencing tool designed with math students in mind. The platform works like many similar services as it provides you with a whiteboard on which you can draw, type, and import images to annotate.

more on mobile apps collaborative tools in this IMS blog

definitions online learning

Online learning here is used as a blanket term for all related terms:

  • HyFlex courses – hybrid + flexible
    “hybrid synchronous” or “blended synchronous” courses

    • Definition:
      The HyFlex model gives students the choice to attend class in person or via synchronous remote stream and to make that choice on a daily basis. In other words, unlike online and hybrid models which typically have a fixed course structure for the entire semester, the HyFlex model does not require students to make a choice at the beginning of term and then stick with it whether their choice works for them or not; rather students are able to make different choices each day depending on what works best for them on that day (hence the format is “flexible”) (Miller and Baham, 2018, to be published in the Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Teaching Statistics).
    • Definition from Horizon Report, HIgher Ed edition, 2014. p. 10 integration of Online Hybrid and Collaborative Learning
    • Definition from U of Arizona (
      Beatty (2010) defines HyFlex courses to be those that “enable a flexible participation policy for students whereby students may choose to attend face-to-face synchronous class sessions or complete course learning activities online without physically attending class”
  • Online courses
    • Definition
      Goette, W. F., Delello, J. A., Schmitt, A. L., Sullivan, J. R., & Rangel, A. (2017). Comparing Delivery Approaches to Teaching Abnormal Psychology: Investigating Student Perceptions and Learning Outcomes. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 16(3), 336–352.
      p.2.Online classes are a form of distance learning available completely over the Internet with no F2F interaction between an instructor and students (Helms, 2014).
      An online class is a class that is offered 100% through the Internet. Asynchronous courses require no time in a classroom. All assignments, exams, and communication are delivered using a learning management system (LMS). At Oswego, the campus is transitioning from ANGEL  to Blackboard, which will be completed by the Fall 2015 semester.  Fully online courses may also be synchronous. Synchronous online courses require student participation at a specified time using audio/visual software such as Blackboard Collaborate along with the LMS.
    • Web-enhanced courses

Web enhanced learning occurs in a traditional face-to-face (f2f) course when the instructor incorporates web resources into the design and delivery of the course to support student learning. The key difference between Web Enhanced Learning versus other forms of e-learning (online or hybrid courses) is that the internet is used to supplement and support the instruction occurring in the classroom rather than replace it.  Web Enhanced Learning may include activities such as: accessing course materials, submitting assignments, participating in discussions, taking quizzes and exams, and/or accessing grades and feedback.”

  • Blended/Hybrid Learning
    • Definition

Goette, W. F., Delello, J. A., Schmitt, A. L., Sullivan, J. R., & Rangel, A. (2017). Comparing Delivery Approaches to Teaching Abnormal Psychology: Investigating Student Perceptions and Learning Outcomes. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 16(3), 336–352.

Helms (2014) described blended education as incorporating both online and F2F character- istics into a single course. This definition captures an important confound to comparing course administration formats because otherwise traditional F2F courses may also incorp- orate aspects of online curriculum. Blended learning may thus encompass F2F classes in which any course content is available online (e.g., recorded lectures or PowerPoints) as well as more traditionally blended courses. Helms recommended the use of ‘‘blended’’ over ‘‘hybrid’’ because these courses combine different but complementary approaches rather than layer opposing methods and formats.

Blended learning can merge the relative strengths of F2F and online education within a flexible course delivery format. As such, this delivery form has a similar potential of online courses to reduce the cost of administration (Bowen et al., 2014) while addressing concerns of quality and achievement gaps that may come from online education. Advantages of blended courses include: convenience and efficiency for the student; promotion of active learning; more effective use of classroom space; and increased class time to spend on higher- level learning activities such as cooperative learning, working with case studies, and discuss- ing big picture concepts and ideas (Ahmed, 2010; Al-Qahtani & Higgins, 2013; Lewis & Harrison, 2012).

Although many definitions of hybrid and blended learning exist, there is a convergence upon three key points: (1) Web-based learning activities are introduced to complement face-to-face work; (2) “seat time” is reduced, though not eliminated altogether; (3) the Web-based and face-to-face components of the course are designed to interact pedagogically to take advantage of the best features of each.
The amount of in class time varies in hybrids from school to school. Some require more than 50% must be in class, others say more than 50% must be online. Others indicate that 20% – 80% must be in class (or online). There is consensus that generally the time is split 50-50, but it depends on the best pedagogy for what the instructor wants to achieve.

Backchannel and CRS (or Audience Response Systems):

More information:

Blended Synchronous Learning project (

VII.A.3. Distance Learning Courses
Distance learning courses are indicated in the schedule of classes on BU Brain with an Instructional Method of Online Asynchronous (OA), Online Synchronous (OS), Online Combined (OC), or Online Hybrid (OH). Online Asynchronous courses are those in which the instruction is recorded/stored and then accessed by the students at another time. Online Synchronous courses are those in which students are at locations remote from the instructor and viewing the instruction as it occurs. Online Combined courses are those in which there is a combination of asynchronous and synchronous instruction that occurs over the length of the course. Online Hybrid courses are those in which there is both in-person and online (asynchronous and/or synchronous) instruction that occurs over the length of the course.

plugins and addons for images

Plug-ins and Add-ons for Adding Images to Documents & Slides

Pixabay for Google Docs is a free Add-on created by Learn In 60 Seconds.

Pixabay Images Plug-in for Word and PowerPoint

Unsplash photos Add-on

more on free images in this IMS blog

effective presentations and AR

augmented reality takeover. It’s played out at Snapchat and Facebook, at Google and Apple. Companies are using AR to design carssell furniture, make little digital sharks swim around your breakfast table. What if Prezi could apply that same technology to make better presentations?
the product isn’t ready for a public launch yet. Prezi has enlisted a select group of influencers to try out the AR tools and offer feedback before the company releases a beta version.

more on effective presentations in this IMS blog

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