What You Might Not Know About Adding Video to Google Slides

Recently, Google added the ability to add Google Drive video files to a Slides presentation. It’s a great new feature for schools, but it’s not what this blog post is about. Confused? Bear with me, because there was an additional feature added at the same time that didn’t get a lot of attention. I found it by accident, and I think it is a useful option to know about it so I wanted to share it here in case you find it useful too!

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Creating Interactive Presentations on Keynote for iPad

interactive keynote ipad

I was contacted recently by someone who wanted to create an interactive presentation on the iPad. Well, there are lots of ways to do that, but I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant or what they wanted to achieve over and above a standard presentation. Polls? Quizzes? Videos? Live broadcasts? As it turned out, it was none of the above. What they really wanted was the ability for students to interact with the presentation in a non-linear way.

So, how do they do that? It’s easier than you might think and really just comes down to adding links to images that will jump you from one slide to another based on where you want to go in your presentation. This technique has been around for a while and was probably first seen in desktop versions of PowerPoint. However, not everyone knows you can do this on an iPad, so here’s what to do if you want to try it yourself.

1. Start by creating all the slides that you need. It doesn’t really matter what order you put them in, so long as you know which one you are linking to when you start adding links. Make sure you think about the hotspots you want to use as the buttons to link you to a different slide. The hotspots can be images, shapes, text, or a combination of the three.

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Sway: A Brand New Multimedia Presentation Tool

Sway logo

Today, Microsoft took the wraps off a brand new, multi-platform presentation tool called Sway. It lets you create dynamic content that pulls media from a variety of sources like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and OneDrive. There are a variety of styles and layouts to choose from but if design is not your strong point Sway will suggest some layouts for you based on colors it finds in your media. Everything you do is built with a simple drag and drop interface and you choose a variety of navigation paths for your viewers.

Finished creations can be shared with a link, embedded on a website, or shared on social media. Better still, your Sway presentation will adapt to any screen size  so that it looks great on all devices. Check out more in the video below:


Find out more by visiting www.sway.com where you can sign up to be on the waiting list for early access and see some sample Sways. I for one can’t wait to try this. It looks like an incredible option for the classroom and will have broad appeal due to the fact that it works on all modern browsers and has dedicated mobile apps on the way. A more in-depth look at Sway with a demo of how to build one can be found below:

Source: Office Blogs

The Best Free Interactive Presentation Tools

There are lots of great presentation tools for the classroom and these days they are being used by both students and teachers. So, in this post I have decided to round up a few of my favorites from the last few months in the hope that you find something new to use in your classroom the next time you want to engage your students with something a little different.

1. Nearpod – iPad teachers know that Nearpod is synonymous with engaging, interactive presentations. In fact, some would say they wrote the book on it. However, it is no longer just for the iPad because you can use it on Android, Nooks, Chromebooks and Macs or PCs via the web. Top features include the ability to add quiz tools, videos, photo slideshows, drawing tools, a PDF viewer and even a live Twitter stream.


2. EverySlide – Building on the success of apps like Nearpod, EverySlide has some other unique features that make it a great tool for the classroom. As the presenter moves through the slides on their device, the audience slides move at the same time. However, you can build in interactive elements like polls. You can also create quizzes based on interactive hotspots that you add to your slides. Everytime the audience clicks (or taps) on an area of your slide it is recorded for you to view later. Oh, and its web-based and works on any device!


3. Movenote – With an eye on the flipped classroom fans, Movenote lets you add interactivity to your presentations via a webcam video of yourself! You upload your presentation to movenote.com, authorize your webcam, and flip through your slides like a screencast as you record a live video feed of yourself at the same time. If you prefer you can record your video ahead of time, then use movenote to sync the slides to the video. Still not convinced? It integrates with Google Drive, so you can pull over your favorite Google Presentations and use those too.


4. Swipe.to – It may officially be in beta, but Swipe is still a polished performer. Simply upload your presentation as a PDF and/or add some image files are you are good to go. There are no limits on the number of files you upload, or the size of the files you add. YouTube and Vimeo videos can be added with just a URL, and all your decks are private until you are ready to share them. When you are ready to present, share the presentation URL so your audience can follow along on their devices in real time. There are no limits on the number of people you can present to at one time, so if you happen to get called to give an ISTE keynote, this might be a tool worth considering! 🙂 You can even give your students a coding challenge and get them to write their slides in Markup.



5. ClassFlow – Promethean made their name with interactive whiteboards, but when they launched ClassFlow you can see that they are now starting to look beyond the board. The teacher creates interactive lessons like they would for a SMART or Promethean whiteboard, except students interact with it via a mobile app or the web. Videos, websites, documents and more can be added and they are all stored in your cloud account so they are accessible on any device you want to use. Polling tools give teachers instant feedback and the data is stored for future planning.


6. Slideidea – I have blogged about Slideidea before, but it remains a great presentation tool for iPad teachers. It lets you create and present your slideshow and includes a variety of interesting features to make your presentation stand out. There is a digital whiteboard for drawing up some ideas, an interactive polling tool, and even the ability to record your presentation as a screencast. So, if you you are looking for a change from Keynote or Haiku Deck, give it a try. You won’t regret it! Read more about Slideidea here.

SlideIdea iPad Presentation Templates

Which is your favorite interactive presentation tool for the classroom? Is it listed above? If not, feel free to add it to the comments below to share with others!

Swipe to Unlock Learning with @Swipe_to

swipe on any device

Do you Swipe? If you own a tablet or a smartphone, you are probably thinking that you do it several times a day. However, what I’m really talking about is a new online startup called Swipe. It’s an innovative, multi-platform presentation tool that works in any browser and on any screen size. Here’s how it works.

Do you remember the first time you saw Nearpod, and your jaw dropped as everybody’s screen simultaneously advanced to the next slide when the presenter told you it would? Well, Swipe works in very much the same way, but there is no app, just a solid HTML5 platform that works seamlessly.

You start by creating an account, and uploading your content to your first presentation deck. Swipe supports PDFs, Keynote files, JPEGS, PNGs, RAW files and more. (See a full list of compatible file types here). Next, name your deck, and rearrange the slides as you see fit by dragging and dropping. Want to add a video? Vimeo and YouTube videos can be interspersed among your slides simply by adding the URL to the video you want to show.

Swipe Dashboard

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The 5 Best Presentation Apps for the iPad

Teachers often turn to presentation software to help deliver the content they choose to meet their lesson objectives, but what is the best way to do this on an iPad? Well, there is no PowerPoint for the iPad, (yet),  but don’t let that put you off. There’s an app for that!


1. Keynote – A “best of” list like this would not be complete without Apple’s own venerable presentation app. In many ways it sets the standard for all the others, but its sheer simplicity and ease of use continues to surprise new users of this very capable app. Everything is optimized for a touch screen device, and presentations sync effortlessly between your Mac and iOS devices via iCloud. There are only 12 built-in themes, but a recent update to the app means you can now add your own themes without too much effort. Keynote is by far the most complete and most versatile presentation app for the iPad, but it is not your only option.

2. Haiku Deck – All the cool kids are using it, so isn’t it time you started too? Haiku Deck emphasizes minimalism. It forbids you from overloading the audience with too much information by limiting the amount of text you can add to one slide. This is great for students who may be prone to reading you their presentation, as opposed to delivering you a presentation. There is a built-in library of creative commons images that can be used for creating your slideshow, but be careful what you search for, because these images are not filtered for the classroom. However, it is hard not to impress when using Haiku Deck. The app is free, as are your first five themes, and others can be bought via in-app purchases.

Haiku Deck

3. SlideShark – This app started as a simple PowerPoint viewer for the iPad, but has since grown into so much more. It only supports PowerPoint files right now, but so long as you are okay with that, you will be able to quickly take advantage of this useful iPad presentation app. Start by uploading your PowerPoint to the SlideShark website, or use the Open In feature to send it there from another app. It plays embedded videos, and lets you read your notes. A timer keeps you on track for finishing on time, while the laser pointer and annotation tools let you draw your audience’s attention to exactly what you want them to focus on.The iPhone app can even act as a remote for your iPad to help you advance the presentation over Bluetooth.

The free account comes with 100MB of storage, but you can easily remove presentations that are taking up too much space if you don’t want to upgrade to the Pro account. To date, the only issues I have had with SlideShark is when you try to import a Keynote file that you exported as a PowerPoint. The formatting was not good, but this is more to do with Keynote’s export abilities than SlideShark’s ability to present it.


4. Nearpod – This stalwart of the classroom has been around for a while now, but it terms of interactivity, there are few better ways to deliver your presentation. This is one of my favorite apps to show teachers if they have never seen it before. The look on their faces when everybody’s iPad advances to the next slide simultaneously is priceless! 🙂 Nearpod stands out from the others in terms of audience participation. Although you can use it solely as a content delivery tool, the ability to throw in a short quiz, a poll or even a live website, means that this app is a truly immersive multimedia presentation tool.

Again, the standard account is free, but further options that include more storage, or the ability to have students log in from any web browser, are available. As a word of caution though, Nearpod works best on a strong Wi-Fi network. Presentations can quickly get out of sync or grind to a halt if you are often maxing out your available bandwidth.

5. PDF Expert – Ok, so this is one is a wildcard, but it is better than you might think. If you can export your Keynote or PowerPoint as a PDF, you have some nice presentation options for showing it with PDF Expert. This app was originally created as a PDF annotator, and it does this exceedingly well, but recent updates added a presentation mode. Simply connect your iPad to a projector via VGA/HDMI or through AirPlay, and you will automatically have the option of entering the new presentation mode.

PDF Expert

There are four options. Screen mirroring lets your participants see exactly what you see, and gives you a gamut of annotation tools with which to annotate your presentation. Document view shows them a full page document, regardless of whether you as the presenter need to scroll, zoom or pan on your screen. Again, annotation tools are available, but the toolbar is hidden from the viewer. Then there is the Screenshot mode, which freezes the curent slide for the viewer, letting you flick ahead to future slides to see what is coming up. Best of all in my opinion is the Focus mode. Simply draw a circle around an area you want to draw the audience’s attention to and PDF Expert will highlight it and dim the rest of the screen. If Readdle would add support for presenter notes, I would be a very happy man! 🙂

If you need more ideas for what to use as a presentation app on the iPad, check out my iPad Apps page for a more extensive list. Meanwhile, if you have any comments about any of the apps above, feel free to leave them in the comments below.