Alternatives to PowerPoint in the classroom

sillouetteWe’ve all seen the presentation “Death by PowerPoint” .. if you haven’t, shame on you and go and see it now – “Death by PowerPoint / SlideShare“.

This isn’t to say that using PowerPoint is wrong, or should be stopped. It highlights the techniques that are used over and over again to bore the audience, and should wake us all up to the variety of different ways we can generate interesting design concepts to (properly) display our thoughts, theories, work, ideas, data, etc.

This is all well and good, and it can make presentations more interesting and more appealing. But what if you want to take your presenting style to the next level? What about a non-linear presentation where you need to jump around the data and results, or the theory needs overview and details all mixed up together … PowerPoint itself can’t do this easily.

Is there an alternative? Yes. While the list is fairly short at the moment, I’m sure it will grow as the advantages are realised and other providers bring out their offerings. So, what do we have;

Prezi –
Billed as “the coolest online presentation tool I have ever seen” and “you no longer have slides –  you have a huge canvas to play with”, Prezi is best described by clicking below and watching their promotional presentation;


This is non-linear presenting in such an interesting way. You can It is possibly most effective when you want to present the big picture – for example a model, a timeline or a map – that becomes your canvas. Using Prezi you can zoom in on details and then zoom back out to the big picture. This kind of functionality will transform the audience experience.

pptPlex –
Using an add-in to PowerPoint 2007 you can layout all your slides on one “canvas” and then zoom in on specific slides during the presentation. Watch the promotional video (WMV) by clicking the image below:


I’m still trying to find an actual example of a presentation made with pptPlex, so when I do I’ll update this post with the details. Without seeing it in action it’s difficult to say what it’ll be like, but it is certainly a good start in making presentations more dynamic and less linear.

Are these the only two? Well, they’re the ones I could find. A colleague found one other than showed potential …

Ventuz – It is described as “the next generation tool for professional high-end presentations … [with] stunning 3D and multimedia content and displaying your presentations in the most effective and mind-blowing ways.”

Do you know of another? If so please share with us here.