Tuesday, September 28, 2010

iPad app for presenting with speaker notes!

When Keynote for the iPad was released, I was really excited about the possibility of leaving the laptop at home and using the iPad for presentations. With Keynote's ability to project the slide via the iPad's 30-pin to VGA connector, I thought I was all set.

I was disappointed to find out the Keynote app just mirrored the presentation, and did not allow for the presenter's notes to be seen on the iPad while the viewers just viewed the slides. I always use the presenter's mode in PowerPoint and Keynote, and find it very handy to have my notes available to me.

I came across an iPad app called 2Screens- Presentation Expert a few weeks ago, and suggested to the developer, Edwin Lam, that perhaps he could come up with a way to allow the presenter's notes to be seen on the iPad. Edwin told me he was already figuring out a way for that to happen, and a new version was released on September 23rd with this capability! Yippee!

Here is how it works, as outlined in the directions in the FAQ section of the Web site.
  1. Open your Keynote or PowerPoint file with the Keynote app on Mac.
  2. Select File > Export > PDF and choose “Export Slides With Notes”.
  3. Check “Print each stage of builds” and UNCHECK all other options (please make sure NOT to check the options for “Include slide numbers” and “Include date”).
  4. Click “Next” to enter file name and select the destination folder for the output PDF.
  5. Transfer the output PDF to 2Screens' local folder on iPad through iTunes file sharing function.
  6. Open 2Screens app on iPad and make sure “Fast PDF Mode” is turned ON in the “Tools” menu.
  7. Select the PDF from the Folder menu.
  8. After the PDF is loaded, click on the “PN” button on the bottom bar menu to show/hide the semi-transparent yellow area where the presenter notes are shown.
It may sound like a lot of steps, but it is really very easy, quick, and, as you can see from the images below, works like a charm!

Original Keynote presentation with presenter notes

Screen shot from the iPad of the exported PDF of the Keynote with the presenter notes popped up (they scroll)

Photo of the iPad attached to the VGA connection of the TV. Slide on external device, slide and notes on iPad!

Kudos to Edwin for working this out! If you are a Windows user, find a friend with a Mac and Keynote to import and then export your PowerPoint presentation for use on the iPad!

Information page with the manual and an FAQ page for 2Screens. 
Link to the iTunes store and the app here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Interesting Virtual Experience

Today the entire middle school went to the auditorium to watch the live, streamed back-to-school speech given by President Obama. An interesting phenomenon occurred.

As you can see by the photo below, for the quarter-hour before the speech, the stream was live from a school auditorium in Philadelphia. The camera in that auditorium was situated behind the first couple of rows of students, so, without anything else on the stage at that point, there was nothing to do but watch the students in the audience. They were talking, pointing, using their cell phones to take photos, and just acting like "regular" kids. The students sitting near me asked me why those students could have cell phones in school (since they could not) and mentioned how, with the students on the screen and with our audience flowing down to the screen, it looked like we were there in person, too!

The interesting thing occurred as President Obama was introduced. The students in the auditorium in Philadelphia stood up and clapped and cheered, and the students in our auditorium did the same! When President Obama introduced the special guests in his audience, our group of 500+ students clapped right along with the audience on the screen.

It was mind-boggling to me that the students truly felt as if they were participating in the event in Philadelphia. They acted like they were there. The virtual video stream, to them, was not even evident, and they were an attentive audience, on their best behavior, as if they were present at the event in person.

I know the camera angle before the event helped make the students feel as if they were there in person. Someone at the White House gave some thought to how the event would appear to the virtual connections, and did a great job at making us all feel as if we were there!

I have to give this some more thought, but it truly was amazing to me to see the students so engaged in a virtual event. (And the speech was great, too!)

Blogger's Post Summary

Tammy Worcester recently posted about Blogger's new "post summary" feature. It allows you to just show a small part of a post on your Blogger page, with a link to a "read more" link to allow users to see the rest. The toolbar now includes  a "jump break" button you insert in the text where you want the "read more" break to be.