Monday, March 11, 2013

App Review: Presentation Apps

One of my goals for 2013 is to share apps that I'll be incorporating in my library, whether as part of programs, in-library displays, or app advisory. Today I want to focus on three of the presentation apps that I regularly use to supplement my programming. I use them all different and in different programming scenarios. They are all available for free for the iPad.


How it works: The SlideShark app accesses slideshows that the user has uploaded to his or her online SlideShark account. An account is free, although it does come with a storage limit of 100 MB (plan upgrades run from $49-$95 per year). Users are able to upload presentations (Powerpoint, Keynote) to their accounts; sync desired presentations to an iPad; and share presentations publicly if desired. When connected to a projector and in presentation mode, SlideShark allows users to time their presentations and see their presentation notes. Users can also set presentations to autoplay with options of slide length and looping.
When I use it: So far I have used SlideShark for two types of programs. The first is for presentations for library staff and workshops for caregivers. When I offered early literacy workshops for our local Parents as Teachers group last autumn, I modified the official ECRR2 slideshow to reflect my specific content. During the event, I managed the entire presentation as I went, choosing when I moved from slide to slide. I loved having my notes visible to me on the iPad while caregivers only saw the slides.
     The second type of program for which I've used SlideShark is a school-age program in which I wanted a slideshow to be on in the background. A perfect example is my recent potato chip history and tasting program. I shared information on the history of the potato chip at the beginning of the program, but I wanted that information to be on a screen while kids were going about their activities in the room. I uploaded a Powerpoint I'd made, set the presentation to loop and autoplay with slide changes every 15 seconds, and let the app do its thing. Children and caregivers both liked having something interesting and informative to look at between activities.


How it works: The Prezi app makes mobile all the great visual elements of the original online Prezi presentation. A free personal Prezi account comes with 100 MB of storage space (upgrades run from $59-$159 a year) as well as the service's core features, which include beautiful templates, great editing abilities, and useful help services. Prezi presentations can be created and edited both online and in-app, which means last-minute changes to presentations don't require re-syncing the device.
When I use it: My favorite use for Prezi presentations so far is in my school-age science programs. Each program opens with a brief introduction to our topic of the day; our brief intros would require a slideshow presentation of just one or two slides, limiting the options for great visual engagement. With Prezi, however, a small amount of information can be presented in a beautiful and visually-exciting way that holds attention much better than static slideshows. I frequently add images, video, bursts of color, and interesting pathways to my Prezis to keep kids' attention.
     I've also used Prezi for "Meet the Artist" school-age programs, during which lots of artwork by the featured artist is shown for the audience. Prezi makes that artwork pop much more than a slideshow can, and the creative possibilities for setting up the presentation fit better with the mood of an art program.

Haiku Deck

How it works: The Haiku Deck app is an all-in-one slideshow creation and presentation app that doesn't require a link to an online account. The app is meant to facilitate creation of simple, beautiful slideshows. Users can manipulate a finite number of aspects of slideshows, which I think really streamlines the creation of great presentations. Users can give a presentation a title and a theme, and each individual slide can contain a title, some additional text (either one line or bulleted/numbered lists), and a full-screen image; there are fourteen slide layout options, and users can add images of their own or search for high-res images in-app.
When I use it: I have used Haiku Deck, to great success, for my Stuffed Animal Sleepovers. These story time programs necessitate creating an image-heavy slideshow of photos of kids' stuffed animals doing sleepover activities at the library, then showing that slideshow at a program the next day. Before I had Haiku Deck, that process meant five distinct, and sometimes time-consuming, steps: 1) take photos on the digital camera or library tablet; 2) upload photos to a computer; 3) create the slideshow in Powerpoint; 4) upload the Powerpoint to a slideshow app; 5) show the slideshow. With Haiku Deck, however, the whole process happens on the iPad. I take pictures with the iPad's camera, immediately add them to slides in my slideshow on Haiku Deck, add a bit of text, and I'm ready to present. What was originally a 90-minute or more process was down to about 20 minutes. The slideshows are beautiful, image-focused, and shareable with a link, which caregivers who want a copy of the slideshow really appreciate.


Those are the three presentation apps you'll be most likely to find me using in the course of my library work. Do you have any apps you rely on for presentations? I'd love to hear about them!


  1. Great post! I've tried these apps and also a few other presentations, including Scrollshow, which offers interesting horizontal animations, and Zeega, which isn't quite a presentation tool, but could be used for presentations or online exhibits. I actually recently created a guide to presentation tools if you are interested in finding others:

    1. Thanks for sharing that great resource, Carli!


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