I typically write about PowerPoint as it pertains to eLearning. This time I'd like to share a cool add-on I've discovered for PowerPoint for live presentations. Let's say you're presenting to a large, perhaps unfamiliar, audience. Audience participation can be a problem. Many people in your audience with perfectly great ideas might be scared to speak up. Maybe the room is so large that even if someone does speak up, it is hard to hear what he or she has to say. Or maybe you want to survey the entire room, but that room consists of hundreds of people. Shakespeak serves to eliminate all of these problems.
Download and add Shakespeak to your PowerPoint deck and you'll be able to create presentations that allow your audience to text, tweet or use a Shakespeak website to send in votes to polls or written responses to questions, which can appear right up on your screen. (The obvious negative side effect of the latter is that you may have that bad seed in your audience who would send in something inappropriate, but never fear, you can adjust the settings to choose whether or not you want these messages to automatically display.
Downloading Shakespeak adds a tab within PowerPoint with options to add a vote slide, add a message slide, edit the presentation/vote/message, start/stop the session, clear the results, open the moderator, or watch a tutorial on how the plug-in works. When you enter a vote slide or a message slide, the plug-in automatically inserts an instruction slide that will alert your audience how to vote or submit messages.
Don't like the way that slide (or anything else added by Shakespeak) looks? That's cool; it's all fully editable just like any other PowerPoint slide.
Clicking the Start Session button allows you to choose how you want votes and messages to come in (SMS, Twitter, online, or all of the above), and then you can get started. After the session you'll be given the option to save or discard the results of your vote and message slides. The service is not free, but you'll receive 20 credits with your download. Additionally, you can test out the slides for free prior to your actual presentation. Click here for pricing information.
Are you using Shakespeak or something similar to collect responses from your learners? How's that working out? I'd love to hear from you.
AJ teaches a live, 3-hour class that offers tips/tricks for improving the look and feel of your PowerPoint presentations: Slide Sprucing: Remodeling Lackluster PowerPoint Slides for eLearning and Presentations.