Category Archives: Darned Good Idea

How to Create Presentations that Don’t Suck – Lifehacker

Image of the non-existent MS BulletPoint 2007 from s_p_a_c_e_m_a_n via flickr

Though the title of Lifehacker’s post is tasteless, it gets to the point: that too many presentations fail to have the impact they should. Too many teachers and professors, people who are professional communicators speaking to groups, do so not very well. The post covers five key problems and offers solutions for them:

  1. Too Many Ideas on One Slide

  2. Clichés and Clipart

  3. Lack of Emphasis

  4. Random Design Choices

  5. No Relationship to the Audience

So read up on how to reduce the suckage in your presentations!
How to Create Presentations that Don’t Suck – Lifehacker.

iPad Wireless HD mirroring

iPad2 screen mirrored wirelessly on an HDTV. This screenshot taken from the YouTube video demonstrating the hack

Well isn’t this interesting? A presenter can mirror the iPad screen wirelessly – what could teachers do with this? Very impressive, and apparently they spent only about $150.

Teachers and corporate presenters alike begged Apple for video mirroring capabilities for the iPad, and the company delivered the feature in the iPad 2. Apple’s solution still leaves users tied to a cord, however, so two employees at networking service provider Straight Up Technologies developed a simple hack to give their client wireless HDMI output and freedom of movement while sharing the iPad’s screen.

via iPad wireless HD mirroring hack makes for better presentations.

Digital Multimedia in the Classroom – PubCampGa

We’re talking about video editing, trying to get students to work on storyboards and other pre-production, what teachers are already doing with their students (zombie movies!), and more. We have high school teachers and elementary ed teachers here. Flip cameras are popular; cheap and good enough.

One suggestion: use Legos instead of storyboarding, or do stop action with them.

Photostory is good: for making stories, and for assessment purposes. Example: folder of butterfly images on shared drive. Student puts them in the right order, and they write the narration, record it, export as WMV, and it can be posted for parents to see.
Shaun leads the discussion
A library media specialist explained how no project is ever finished; ask them, as the final part of the project, what they would have done to make it better. If they’re a 4th grader, they conceivably come back the next year to improve it.

Use professional film/video for comparison in class, and then evaluate their own work.

Book trailers: make movie-style trailers for books. Works from high school all the way down to kindergarten; little kids can draw their own version of a picture book, knowing what part of the story to withhold to build interest; scan them in or use a digital camera, and then iMovie or Photostory, even PPT, record narration, and create the movie. The best ones can be posted online.

What about releases, for school and system liability? An issue with no certain resolution in the near term. Too many policy makers, administrators, and parents have too little trust in the schools, teachers, and their students. The kids are more visually, technologically, and culturally literate in this regard than these adults. We may have to wait for them to age themselves out of the situation.

A public awards ceremony can be a great motivator and reward – and one educator also explained how the program for his school’s award ceremony includes the educational standards met by the students’ films. The students have to explain how their work meets the standards. Great idea.

Final points about tools and sites: iSkySoft iMedia converter;;’s Digital Education site, with access to thousands of hours of educational video, a lot of which is available not just for streaming, but download and even editing for projects.

If you need an account there, send email to

Twitter Chat – Conversations on Twitter PubCampGA

What the Hashtag allows direct following of a given hashtag, along with statistics, graphs, and more. The group is now discussing bits of the history of Twitter, the value of asking questions of your network of followers, and how hashtags allow you to get direct answers.

A lively conversation

Other ways to do this: in third party apps like TweetDeck, or on the Twitter site itself. What the Hashtag makes it easy to show others what a Twitter conversation is like.
Now a high school teacher is asking about how to use it – yes, students will need a Twitter account, and they’ll need to know about the hashtag.

This is useful for students to tweet links to each other and to the class, for reporters/editors to follow stories, for parents and teachers to communicate. Students are going to use this technology – it’s damaging to make them outlaws just by banning their phones.

Bring the technology into the classroom and show them how to use it for positive ends! It requires trust and high expectations and patience, and a thick skin sometimes.

[This is all exciting!]

I just got to give a blurb for buying your name as a domain, and for WordPress, too.

The Future of Social Media – PubCampGA

Learning about how social media can increase audience and make the station/media producer more responsive to the audience.

[Moved to this session in the middle.]

They’re talking about a Social Media strategy for public stations. Should a producer do it? What about an audience member? – Yes, if it’s “curated” but not controlled.

What about sponsorship, product placement? It can work.

A church leader describes how Facebook and Google searches brought more new visitors than anything else. (Wow.)

Lots of anecdotes about how a good web presence, and announcements on Facebook, really make a difference now.

“What are you selling?” vs. “What are you saying?” is an important distinction, and another indication of the importance of a well-thought out web/social media strategy. That requires attention a careful response to what others say about you on the social network. If you don’t respond carefully, and model good “service” to your audience/listeners/customers, then it can be a net loss for you.

Schools – if students know they’re going to be in media – television, on the web – they’re interest picks up. And many of them use social media as well, so put it there.

Digital Core Values Session – PubCampGA

Came in a bit late – session members are discussing broadcasting weather forecasts, and how to make sure they provide accurate information that the audience understands.

Michael – he proposed this session – explains what he means by digital core values. He referred us to the Local News Initiative for some details.

Query: have ethics changed because of the technology? Is there more pressure to follow sensational stories, to be reactive? It’s an old pressure, but is there more pressure now?

Thinking in terms of what audience wants, the web guy told us they put the NPR feed on the GPB home page, and got an unprecedented number of hits when Gary Coleman died….

[I left that session to join another on the future of social media.]

Crowdsourcing Session #PubCampGA

Working on a definition of what it is, and comparing it to citizen journalism. Aggregating reports of milk prices by WNYC, gas prices around Atlanta, Talking Points Memo publishing PDFs from the Justice Department of the U.S. Attorney firings, are all examples. But what about credibility? How to trust the source, to know it’s a reliable report?

WNYC has a Crowdsourcing Fieldguide. Nice.

A lively and solid discussion on Crowdsourcing

Many classrooms are using it – students across a district, county, state, or around the world can gather and aggregate all kinds of information.

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk offers a kind of crowdsourcing – posting one’s project there can get many good sources/responses.

One guy described how crowdsourcing reports on Southern California wildfires kept him apprised of the condition of his house there while he was in Georgia.

Crowdsourcing relies on an existing network of attentive followers, whether it’s blog commenters, or twitter followers, or facebook friends, or LinkedIn connections.

Tanya Ott described the Get an Edit Facebook group to help freelancers get feedback and editing for their radio scripts. – new Washington DC website – is based on a sort of crowdsourcing model.

ImageWell Only $10 Today via MacUpdate

I have relied on ImageWell for years. It makes adding images to a blog post easier than through the WordPress interface

This MacUpdate Promotion offers Xtralean’s ImageWell for $10, half its regular price. It’s well worth it – it’s great for screen grabs and annotations, allows dragging and dropping of multiple images for quick composites, it has great text tools, and built-in FTP and (for me, the beauty feature) SFTP as well. You can even drag and drop any other kind of file on the “Send” button to quickly upload to one of your stored server locations. Supports PNG format with transparency… an incredible set of features, and I paid full price for it years ago. I have rarely recommended software more highly, and at $10 it’s a real bargain.