Explaining emergent technologies (with PowerPoint)

I’m working on a JISC project to produce guides to how emergent technologies like social media, RSS and wikis can enhance the practice of staff in research, teaching and administration. One output of this will be a series of icon-based videos explaining the key concepts of these technologies. Unable to find suitable icons in stock image sites, I started to make my own – with PowerPoint. This post is an attempt to justify that and retain some credibility!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming these icons (see sample above) are better than those you’ll find in stock image sites. Those sites are full of professional quality vector icons with stunning use of lighting, shadows and 3D. But that’s the problem. The more striking the design, the worse they look when you mix icons from different sets. You also need a relatively high level of graphic design skills to manipulate them.

In contrast, while PowerPoint is clearly not a graphics app, it has some decent built-in effects that can make even simple geometric shapes look respectable with just a few clicks. Also, for screencasts that are essentially narrated presentations, it made sense to work with them in a presentation tool, then convert to a web video format for delivery.

As PowerPoint is a tool that most people (in our target audience) are familar with, we hope that others might start to make their own resources with them so are looking to release the PowerPoints under a creative commons (non-commercial) licence.

If you’d be interested in using them, please add a comment to let us know.

Related posts: