There are many great presentations tools out there now. More and more I see presenters moving away from PowerPoint. You can find a host of great, free, online presentation building tools in the SCOPE wiki menu. I've used most of them at one time or another and they each have their benefits and special features.
As far as presentations go, I find that different types of presentations call for different tools. For example, I use Voicethread almost exclusively for presenting lecture material for my courses and for asynchronous delivery because I like the fact that reviewers can leave comments and I can record narration. Haiku Decks are beautiful and photo-journal like. I've used them more for personal presentations with photos but can see great value in them for school counselors, especially for continuous scrolling on a screen in a waiting area or as a visual focal point during an event. Doing conference presentations and trainings however, I use different tools and am often asked about them so I thought I'd take a post to share.
Please note that as a rule, SCOPE only posts tools that are FREE so these won't be listed on the wiki but for those who can afford a modest amount, these might be worthy of purchase. Also as a general rule, SCOPE only posts tools that are web-based because they are generally not platform-specific (Mac or PC) but these two tools are for Mac users.
For presentations and trainings I use Keynote on my iPad with the Keynote Remote app on my iPhone. What I love about using this combination most of all is that I'm not tethered to my presentation source, my iPad. I prefer to circulate throughout the room when presenting especially for large crowds because I can more easily take and hear questions (I'm hearing impaired so this is a BIG plus) and engage with the audience. This means I'm better able to sense the mood of the crowd all while controlling the presentation. I often use a handheld or lapel mic in this format as well. Though I didn't use this format as a school counselor, not being tethered to your presentation source is a GREAT way of being able to move about and keep an eye on all students to make sure they are on track and paying attention.
Let me break these tools down:
Keynote is Mac's version of PowerPoint. It still functions as a slide-to-slide tool but the themes, animations and tools for building your presentation are far more attractive, modern, user-friendly and intuitive, in my opinion. You can save a Keynote as a PowerPoint or as a PDF and you can also import PowerPoint into Keynote. If you already use a Mac, it might be worthwhile to make the switch to Keynote. Keynote is available for $19.99 in the Mac App store and is also available as an app for the iPad in iTunes for $9.99. I generally tend to create my Keynotes on my laptop but then make small edits and present from the iPad.
Keynote Remote app is what makes this presentation format outstanding! When I get ready to present, I turn Bluetooth on both my iPad and my iPhone and launch the Keynote presentation on my iPad and the Keynote Remote on my iPhone. Magically, these two find each other and I'm able to control the Keynote from my phone by simply swiping my finger across the phone screen when I want to advance. AH-MAAAZING! Sure you can by other remotes and "clickers" but with the Keynote Remote app I can not only see the slide I'm on, I can manipulate the settings to see the next slide in the presentation or the presenter notes I created for the presentation. Animations and transitions also work with the Keynote Remote app because they are simply additional swipes of your finger. The Keynote Remote app can be purchased for $0.99 on the iTunes store.
All in all the cost is $31.00 for the Keynote application for your laptop, the Keynote app for your iPad and the Keynote Remote app for your iPhone. For me, the investment has been worth every penny and then some. If you do your fair share of presentations, trainings or even classroom guidance, and prefer to be able to move around during your presentation, this might be a worthwhile investment for you too.