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Monday, 29 September 2008

Google in the Classroom: Google Presentations

I've been using Google Docs  for quite some time now and absolutely love it. I had used Documents and Presentations quite a bit, but had rarely used Presentations until recently. Last week I decided to slowly get away from PowerPoint, and start using Presentations. So, for this weeks lab I did a Google Presentation, it went excellent. I uploaded last years PowerPoint file, which went well, except for exit and entrance animations being removed. Next I modified the text, easily added images from the web and my computer, and the best part, I inserted a YouTube video. Another excellent aspect of using Presentations is that I created the presentation at work last week, and over the weekend I had some good ideas, and since this is accessible online, I could easily add these without any file transfers. The actual presentation went excellent, the only problem was  playing the YouTube video, it was very choppy, and based on the speed of Google Chrome, it was probably my poor internet connection (my university needs to invest in this). Some things that needs improvement in Presentations are:
  1. Drawing Options: Right now this is very limited, basically a few shapes and arrows, with no rotation. Maybe PowerPoint goes overboard on this, but Presentations definitely needs more.
  2. HTML/CSS Editing: Documents allows HTML editing and the use of CSS, if this could somehow be incorporated into Presentations, maybe for just text boxes. Now for any special editing such as subscripts, I type it in Documents and paste it in Presentations.
  3. Animations: The only thing available now is incremental reveal which adds items one at a time. Again, more should be added so presentations can be "spiced-up."
If Google can address these 3 points, than they would definitely have a Microsoft PowerPoint killer. I almost forgot another advantage of Presentations, they can easily be inserted into Google Sites or Blogger, check out the presentation that I gave my lab today. 
Note: I did not mention any of the collaboration features (i.e., chatting within presentation) since these are currently not allowed at my university.