Pro Keyboard Shortcuts in Apple Keynote

A few days ago I was priveleged to hear Neil deGrasse Tyson speak to a sold-out crowd in Portland, Oregon. At one point, a Microsoft employee sitting next to me chuckled, because Neil was struggling with his computer. I watched for a moment, and then I had to chuckle to myself – the Microsoft employee didn't have a clue what was going on!

Dr. Tyson used some little known keyboard shortcuts that made his presentation even more magical than usual.

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Haiku Deck, I'm Disappointed

Oops. This post should have come out a month ago. Oh well. :-)

Haiku Deck updated their iOS app to version 2.0 a month or so ago. (I reviewed the original app here.)

I shared my thoughts on this upgrade by creating this Haiku Deck… about Haiku Deck 2.0.

Update: I should have mentioned, and I think most people understood, that this was all in good fun. I still think Haiku Deck is a wonderful app, and I'm glad to say that even the folks at their shop got a kick out of it:

Source: http://www.haikudeck.com/p/XwGVMdqDq1

HaikuDeck and the Future of Presenting

I haven't been this excited about a presentation app for years. I've never liked PowerPoint, but do love Keynote, and have been pleased with other apps like SlideRocket or Prezi. But never have I been this head over heels enamored and downright giddy as I am now. What is this crush?

It's HaikuDeck, and it is beautiful.

HaikuDeck was released just a few months ago as an iPad app. I discovered it and started playing with it just days after it's launch. It's a simple solution to a great big problem: Presentations are just awful these days, and some of the blame goes to the complexity of the software.

HaikuDeck solves this problem by drastic measures: it greatly reduces the amount of control you have over the slide design. But with this constraint comes awesome opportunity. Rather than fiddling with text boxes, bullet-points, and animations, you are forced to simply focus on the content. It helps you follow the mantra of one idea per slide.

HaikuDeck does have one feature that you won't find anywhere else, though. When you enter your single idea onto a slide, the app automatically helps you find relevant images on the web that are free and legal to use (i.e. Creative Commons licensed). For example, if your slide says, "That place is the core of the sun," you will, of course, be presented with the key words "core," "sun," and "place." Tap on one, and you will instantly see a gallery of beautiful pictures that have that keyword. Simply tap the image you like, and it will become the background of your slide, with the text formatted on top. It couldn't be easier.

Here's a deck I threw together to test out the app. It's based on a blog post by The Bad Astronomer.

The future?

In my opinion, HaikuDeck could be the future of presenting. I have in my mind a vision of elementary and middle school classrooms where students are given iPads and told to create book reports and presentations with HaikuDeck. They focus on the story they want to tell and spend most of their time finding striking visuals to accompany that story. They aren't distracted by bullet-points and formatting or led astray with slide transitions and templates. I am confident that if students learn how to create presentations with HaikuDeck, they will grow up avoiding the tendencies of our generation. If Death by PowerPoint is the disease, consider HaikuDeck the inoculation. The future looks bright without PowerPoint leading the way! Head over to the HaikuDeck Gallery to view some featured decks.

Get it now!

The best part about HaikuDeck? It's free! The app comes with a handful of built-in themes. You can purchase new themes within the app for $1.99 each, or buy a theme pack for $14.99. Download the app now and start creating beautiful presentations.

Great design is about a story

Prezi.com once again held a contest for classroom presentations. The results are encouraging – teachers are improving the way they present material to their classes. But it doesn't require special software or fancy zooms to improve your lecture slides. It simply requires an age old tactic of tapping into your students' emotions. The winner this year was a deeply philosophical lesson by Mr. Adam Griffin. He discusses the morality of choice in a way that any college student in Philosophy 101 will be familiar with, but he also uses a novel tactic to grab his students' attention. View it below:

See the rest of the contest winners at Prezi's blog: Prezi “Zoom Back to School” Contest – Winners Announced! - Prezi.com Blog.

Video Episode 5: Designing Slides for Cognitive Load

Here's a real world example of a chart adapted to a slide and how some simple changes make the chart more readable and easier to understand.

This video is also available via a free subscription to the Brainslides Video Podcast in iTunes.