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Connect to Colleagues and Students in New Ways

by Will Ritter

Are you tired of working within the confines of a Word document, PowerPoint presentation or their Google equivalents? Are you looking for ways to get creative? Maybe you are a faculty member looking to spice up your lecture and get through to distracted students or a student hoping to find new ways to collaborate with your classmates. In either case, there are new collaboration, brainstorming, and presentation sites on the web that may be right up your alley.

Creating an interesting PowerPoint has been the Holy Grail for over 20 years since the software was introduced. I think we’ve all sat through more than enough PowerPoint presentations that use those same generic backgrounds, colors and bullet points that come pre-packaged with the software.

Prezi.com aims to make your presentations more interesting and dynamic. With a unique zooming feature, Prezi is ideal for image and video laden presentations. Images, YouTube videos, and dynamic text can be added to a Prezi with ease. It’s simple to drag and drop media items into groups to express ideas. You’re able to resize items to denote their importance in the presentation and click on them to determine their order in the finished product.

Prezi is the perfect way to wow your colleagues. Take a peek this Prezi that is an introduction to the Professional Center Library:

Mindomo.com also allows you to create elegant, moving, dynamic presentations. The idea is much the same as Prezi, but where Prezi is focused on creating a presentation, Mindomo is about “mind mapping.” Mind mapping is putting down ideas or bits and pieces of ideas and drawing lines to connect them visually. Mindomo allows for private or collaborative mind mapping by creating many connected boxes filled with text, images, and videos.

For an example of what’s possible with Mindomo check out this mind map presentation on the history of email.

So Prezi.com can help you break out of the mundane presentation and Mindomo can help you map out your thoughts, but what about collaboration with other presenters? Enter Linoit.com. Think of Linoit as the “social” post-it. It allows you to use what looks like a wall-hanging corkboard. You can add text, images, and video that you add to digital post-it notes to express your ideas. It’s easy to share the board with anyone and even add collaborators!

Linoit.com offers a world of drag and drop digital post-it notes that can carry all the multimedia that you wish to share. You can even date-stamp the post-its for when they are “due” and set up alerts when collaborators edit the board. It’s all the fun of a corkboard hanging on the wall, without the fear of poking yourself with a pushpin!

The best part about all these tools is their ability to empower us to collaborate in new and interesting ways. The ability to break ideas down into chunks and share them freely through the web is powerful; powerful enough to break down barriers between classmates or between faculty and students. These new tools take brainstorming to another level. Sometimes getting through the static of every life requires more than a Word document or a basic PowerPoint. When you need to reach people and take collaboration and your presentation to new and interesting places, Mindomo, Prezi, and Lenoit are all great places to turn!

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  1. February 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Nice Prezi about PCL!

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