Lately I’ve been looking for ways to make my teaching more innovative. The content is reasonably static at this stage as there is a certain amount of information which new students have to know so I have been looking for ways of improving the visual aspects as a quick win. I also wanted free tools, as (naturally) our budgets are stretched to the limit – hurray for opensource software is all I can say!
The first tool I used to do this was Prezi which is an innovative presentation tool. It works like a mindmap as opposed to Powerpoint’s linear show, and the zooming aspects means you can be innovative in the paths you create. The movement of the visuals is very slick and makes the presentation look professional and dare I say it – expensive. Students are suffering from death by powerpoint and I found this tool an excellent way of breathing new life into presentations – and students.
Naturally, images play a key part in my training as too many words on a screen is disheartening for students, no matter how innovate the software and this is where Jing comes in. Jing is screen-capture software which sits on your PC. When you select it, you activate cross-hairs which you use to select the area of the screen you wish to copy or save. This negates the need of the Alt+PrtScn then editing in Picture Manager shenangigans which have been the bain of many a librarian/teacher’s working life.
Using Prezi and Jing together have added interest to the task of updating and creating training presentations for incoming students, and have also made the presentations look much slicker and professional. I would recommend both tools to librarians, and anyone working with images and presentations as they are great time-savers, and there is no need to get locked in to proprietry software just because it comes free with your work PC.