Tech Tool Review: Web-based Presentation Tools

It seems fitting that our Tech Tool Review post for February comes during the month that features Groundhog Day. While most Americans await Punxsutawney Phil’s prognostication of more or less winter, others may recall fictional weatherman Phil Connors’ imprisonment in a time loop, doomed to repeat the same day over and over. While most of us wish for an early Spring, we don’t want you to be doomed to repeat the same old presentation over and over. With that in mind, the Instruction Committee is highlighting two very useful and powerful web-based tools to create dynamic and engaging presentations as well as a tool for storing and sharing your presentations. Our reviewers looked at Haiku Deck, Prezi, and SlideShare. We also look forward to learning which tools you find most useful and creative. You can post your thoughts in the Comments below as well as linking to projects you might have made with these tools to share with others.

Haiku Deck

Access/Storage: Cloud-based/iPad App/Exportable
Cost: Free (premium images for a fee)
Learning Curve: Easy
Evaluation: Haiku Deck is a slide presentation tool, accessible via the web or iOS app. You must register for a free account, which comes with unlimited storage. Haiku Deck lets you do a keyword search for images from the web to use as slide backgrounds. The image search settings can be adjusted to find Creative Commons images licensed for all use or for commercial use only. The iOS app allows you to find and purchase premium images from Getty Images for $1.99. You can also upload your own images or use a solid color background. Haiku Deck comes with several layout options for the text, as well as different font themes. Graphs/charts and speaker notes can also be included with the slides. Presentations are synced with your account, so you can work on the same presentations from both the web and iOS app versions. Presentations can be set to public, restricted, or private. You can present your slides directly from the Haiku Deck website or iOS app, or you can export them to PowerPoint or Keynote. The Haiku Deck website has an extensive Support section with instructions for use, troubleshooting tips, and educator resources.
Reviewer: Hilary Bussell (with Michael Courtney)


Access/Storage: Cloud-based/iOS App/Desktop Version
Cost: Free (all presentations will be made public)/Fee-based pricing for premium options such as making presentations private, offline editing, and volume purchases.
Learning Curve: Medium-to-Difficult
Evaluation: Prezi is cloud-based presentation software. It uses pan & zoom technology and allows for the importing of PowerPoint slides, images, videos, YouTube videos, PDF’s, etc. There are many familiar features such as text and image manipulation, color customization, URL linking, and slide/path rearranging in the sidebar. Prezi includes templates and layouts or projects can be started from scratch. The layout features and path navigation allow for a unique look where the whole layout can be visible on the screen; panning from frame to frame and zooming into and out of details in each frame is controlled in the sidebar. Judicious use of the path navigation should help avoid motion sickness among the audience. The free account allows editing and includes 100MB of storage and presentations are public. Two higher levels include privacy, more storage, support, and offline editing. There are educational prices available.
Allows for worldwide collaboration.
Reviewer: Jim Kinnie (with Hilary Bussell and Michael Courtney)


Access/Storage: Cloud-based
Cost: Free for basic/Premium levels for a fee
Learning Curve: Easy
Evaluation: SlideShare is a worldwide site for sharing presentations. Besides slides it also supports documents, PDFs, videos, webinars, etc. It can be linked to many of the social networks e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. However, one cannot create in this site, it is only for storing & sharing.
Reviewer: Holger Lenz (with Hilary Bussell and Michael Courtney)

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