Tablets in Learning and Teaching: Electric Slide
Yesterday I was one of the presenters at our lecture capture conference (about which more in my next post). I’d decided that hosting the event, giving the welcome address, presenting a workshop session, and chairing the closing plenary wasn’t stressful enough (!) so I decided to try ouy our new iPad Mini as a presentation tool.
In the last post on tablets in learning and teaching, I described various ways in which your iPad screen can be mirrored on the teaching room projector. All the methods described relied on both the tablet and the ‘receiving’ device being on the same wifi network, ie Eduroam.
There is, however, a more technically straightforward way of doing this, and that it to use a web-based presentation tool such as Electric Slide (pictured). There are other similar services but Electric Slide receives generally favourable reviews.
Electric Slide comprises a web service for which there are both free and paid-for pricing plans together with an associated iPad app (there is no Android version). Once you have set up your account, you log in via your desktop / laptop and upload Powerpoint presentations, Keynote presentations or PDFs. These are then converted into a format which allows them to be viewed and controlled online, including via the app. The main limitation of a free account is that your presentation is limited to 90 minutes before you are timed out and have to log back in again – which would be a bit of a pain in a 2-hour lecture!
When you come to deliver your presentation (or lecture), you access it via the iPad app and can then navigate through it by tapping / dragging, and you can zoom in / out using the standard pinching gesture.
This worked well in my presentation yesterday, although of course you’re limited to viewing documents in Electric Slide, as opposed to the other mirroring methods which allow your audience to see anything on your tablet. Also, any embedded links in your Powerpoint (eg to other websites or videos) aren’t rendered.
In conclusion, I will probably use Electric Slide again for simple presentations, but it certainly doesn’t replace the other mirroring methods.