Thursday, 1 September 2011

Things 19 and 20

Thing 19 - SlideShare

Of the many things I dread, public speaking is pretty near the top of the list. My favourite time of year is Christmas; my second favourite is the moment after I finish my final library induction tour at the start of Michaelmas Term, when there is the longest stretch of time until I have to do another one. The actuality is never as bad as the anticipation, but all in all presentations are something I avoid making if I possibly can. Like Laura, I am in awe of those to whom such things come naturally.

I had to make occasional presentations in seminars when I was a student, of course, but not generally using slides. My lecturers sometimes used PowerPoint, but it sort of passed me by. I had to rack my brains to think of a presentation of mine that I could upload to SlideShare, but then I remembered a short one I'd helped to assemble for a piece of UCL groupwork about children's libraries, mentioned before in my post about Google Docs. (In all honesty, it was more my colleague Clara's handiwork than mine, to give credit where it's due, though I contributed the pictures.) I uploaded it to SlideShare and it should now be visible here:

SlideShare seems a handy site, though there's no system of peer review, so the quality of searchable presentations may vary wildly. That said, a simple search for 'children libraries design' brought up over 1500 results including a number of slideshows which were impressive, if not always particularly relevant to the search terms.

Thing 20 - Prezi

If my conflation of these two Things into a single post (not that they don't go together) seems a little rushed, it's because I am a little rushed. I will be away all weekend playing the piano in a production of Oliver! which is being assembled from scratch between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, and want to get this post written so as not to have to play catch-up next week. All of the songs have been buzzing around my head for the past month or so, and I decided that in the interest of not producing something unutterably boring I might as well relate my first ever Prezi to the musical in some way.

I was relieved to read the Book Gryphon's soothing words in the Cam 23 post: 'your first attempt is likely to be fairly poor'. I feel able to report without too much shame then that my first attempt is poor. Comparing it to other Prezis on the site, and particularly to this superb tutorial by thewikiman, it is pedestrian in the extreme. I'm sure there is a learning curve, but I'm not even on it yet. But I can see that Prezi-making is a skill that can be mastered, and I am not inexpressibly disheartened by my feeble efforts at this stage.

I had planned on using Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr in my Prezi, but was saved the hassle of crediting them all by Prezi's option of a specially tailored licensed image search via Google. I haven't worked out how to exploit fully the changes in size and perspective that Prezi offers yet, but I hereby vow to keep trying until I establish something approaching competence.

For the moment, though, I must prepare for the workhouse. So long, fare thee well, pip-pip, cheerio, etc. etc.


  1. Haha I love that last image! Good luck with Oliver, scratch musicals are always good fun :)

  2. Thank you, it's all done now (last weekend - feels an age ago, in fact). It was great fun, but astonishingly hard going at times. I don't know if you have ever played the piano for 10 hours in a day, but I do not recommend it.

  3. Oops, didn't look at the date of your post! I've done my fair share of long rehearsal days in my time, can't think of the last time I did 10 hours though!