February’s well-attended session featured demonstrations of freeware alternatives to the ubiquitous PowerPoint slide.

Dr. Dave Jackson, from the education department, demonstrated Prezi, software that allows one to move beyond the linear slide show to create dynamic presentations that foster open-ended discussions and the development of learning relationships and contexts. With Prezi, the presenter is not tied to sequence as is the case with PowerPoint; the presenter can move easily among the teaching concepts enabling open-ended discussions. Jackson also encourages his students to use Prezi to organize their thoughts around a topic or a chapter reading. It can be used collaboratively as well.

Joe Dulak, Chair of the Academic Skills Center, presented Keynote, Apple’s answer to PowerPoint for Mac users (not freeware, but available at SMU) and CmapTools, a concept map builder that doubles as a presentation vehicle. The Cmap folks, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, offer an in-depth discussion of the theory underlying concept maps for unbelievers. When the concept map becomes a presentation, again, as with Prezi, teachers have a rich and lively educational tool to work with.

SMU faculty and staff are encouraged to contact Jason Spartz, Director of Instructional Technology (jspartz@smumn.edu), for help getting started with any of these programs. Dave Jackson (djackson@smumn.edu) and Joe Dulak (jdulak@smumn.edu) will also be available for consultations.

If you missed this presentation you can view it on Tegrity here.