Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How Technology Can Be Out of This World

'Astronaut Abby' with actual astronaut Mike Massimo
and Bill Nye the Science Guy
In #GEN2243 we never fail to touch up on a topic that will wow you. This week I was wowed when we got to talk to a girl who has the dream of being the first astronaut to Mars, Abby Harrison. She is best known throughout the world as Astronaut Abby. She was coined Astronaut Abby after 8th grade when she made this her online persona and reached out to other scientists and astrothat nauts over social media to bring about opportunity for her dream. This girl used her PLN to the very fullest and at only 18 years old with all the opportunity it has given her it has definitely paid off. Since then she has participated in a ton of amazing events such as her own TEDX talk,  invited as a guest for a Soyuz Launch, and even was featured on NASA's website. It is definitely inspiring to see a person that young bring herself so much closer to dreams that big through the power of social media. It just goes to show you all of the opportunity that is out there when you put yourself out there on the web. It is more prevalent now than ever.

 On the topic of more out of this world things, I think it is time we all finally stray away from Microsoft Powerpoint(although it has certainly grown over time) and start to utilize all the other awesome presentation tools available. Rick Broida covers this pretty well in his article "Anything But Powerpoint: five fresh presentation alternatives". He covers probably our second best known presentation tool Prezi, that allows us to zoom and animate all over our template but also several other lesser-known tools like Haiku Deck that has a very professional and aesthetically pleasing choice of templates that give a nice clean look, or Pixxa's Perspective that you pay for but allows users to animate slides individually into "scenes" that give each presentation more of a movie feel. Broida goes on to discuss the importance of keeping presentations exciting like we learned in class. They're not always the most attention grabbing thing but potentially they can be, and you want to make those minutes entertaining!

PowToon is another incredible presentation maker that is just pure fun. It isn't free but it does have a free 30 day trial which allows you to see mostly everything it has to offer. Powtoon has fun characters and slides that can give your presentation a cool comic book feel. In terms of quality this one is definitely one that's worth your money if you're in an environment where you're making presentations often.

Microsoft obviously wasn't going to let all these tools come about without firing back something new-wave of its own. In Juan Carlos Perez's article, you can learn about PowerPoint's new add-on called Office Mix that gives PowerPoint that upgrade to make it more interactive, mostly aimed at educators in the classroom. Something else huge with Office Mix is that it allows users to find other "mixes" through tags, categories, topics, and authors. This makes it into a little Mix community. Definitely worth checking out.

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