Friday, January 30, 2009

Alternatives to PowerPoint

One things kids love to do for their Interest Projects is to make a PowerPoint presentation. I completely understand why. They are really fun to make.

But there's one problem...not everyone owns the Microsoft PowerPoint software. And it's not very affordable. The Microsoft Office suite, which contains PowerPoint, can run hundreds of dollars!

But if you don't own the software, and your child wants to make a PowerPoint for their exhibition, there are free alternatives. Most are very easy to use. Take a look...

280 Slides--This is a very easy site to use. It doesn't have a ton of different fonts or different backgrounds, but it gets the job done. You can even add images very easily. You'll have to register for this site, but it's free. Once you create your presentation, you can save it on their server so that you can access it from any computer, or you can download it to your own computer. I've used this with kids before and they loved it.

Zoho--You can sign into this site using a Google or Yahoo mail account. Then you can access their presentation creator, which they call "Zoho Show." They also have a word processor, Zoho Writer, a spreadsheet maker, Zoho Sheet, and many other applications. Zoho has more bells and whistles than 280 Slides. And like 280 Slides, you can save your work on their servers and access it anywhere.

Bookr--If you're looking for something really simple, for example if you want to show images and just a little text, Bookr is for you. It allows you to add images from Flickr's website. Just type in a keyword (called a "tag") and it gives you a ton to choose from.

Google Docs--I've talked about this site before. I love it because you can access it from anywhere. You do need a Google account (which comes in handy on a lot of websites) or you can use our classroom account (username: curran310). Google Docs has a presentation option--just click "New" and then select PRESENTATION from the drop-down menu. Just don't forget to hit "save & close" when you're done. We used this to make our presentation about trash and recycling. It's very kid-friendly.

Open Office--This is the only link here that requires you to download anything. You have to download the program and install it on your computer. It's worth it, though, because this program is a perfect substitute for Microsoft Office. And it's completely free. It even allows you to save your work in Microsoft Format so that it can be opened on any computer that's running Microsoft Office! I run Open Office on our Mac computers at school and I love it. Their website has a full load of instalation instructions as well as a help feature that should answer any questions you have about it.

Let me know how these things turn out, if you end up trying them. And be sure to let me know if you have any questions.

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