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Monday, May 31, 2010

Five Tips on 3D eLearning and Training Courtesy of VenueGen

Here are 5 Tips On 3D eLearning and Training sent to me to share with my readers from the 3D virtual world vendor VenueGen. I think they make sense, let me know what you think.

1. Provide a Road Map

Just as in real life, it is important that your attendees are provided with specific details on the location of the event and how to get there. It's important to provide attendees with basic steps on how to login to your meeting and how to move around in the world they are using.

The first problem that new users in 3D environments tend to face is navigation. How do I get my avatar where I need to be or sit down at that table? Non-gamers have a hard time walking around using arrow keys and tend to collide with things. Having attendees appear already in their seats can minimize many issues. Likewise, flying, teleporting and using portals within a virtual world is also very cool but not the kind of things people want to figure out when late for a meeting or class.

2. Make it Real

Realism is an important part of fidelity that addresses how life-like the 3D experience appears. For example, do avatars move in a natural and convincing way? Do they make eye contact when they look at each other? Do their lips move appropriately while speaking? The key to an immersive movie viewing experience is the suspension of disbelief. We have all watched low budget movies with poor and unconvincing graphics and sets. No matter how great the dialogue or story line, you probably struggled to “get into” the movie. The attendee’s mind should have minimal obstacles in accepting the virtual venue and other attendees as reasonable likenesses of what is being simulated.

If others appear as flat cartoons incapable of neck movement or the ability to walk without “ice skating”, then the business professional or student is constantly being reminded that the envoirnment is not real. Realism is important because it helps the virtual world to “get out of the way” so that attendees can focus on the goals of the gathering.

3. Don't Forget the Props

As any good teacher knows, the more visuals you have the better. The best 3D worlds are those that allow users to mouse click directly on the object, person or content with which they want to interact with and provide the ability to clearly read content from anywhere in a virtual environment. The best interface for viewing content involves two capabilities: first, users should be able to zoom their focus in on content without actually having to move their avatar closer to it. A second important capability for viewing very small content is an in-venue floating window. This technique forces the selected content to enlarge and float in reading position within the 3D environment.

4. Offer an Alternative For Sound

Many users do not have a headset or are behind firewalls that do not allow them to connect to the Voice Over IP channel required for most virtual worlds. The best dial-in solution is one that turns the attendee’s telephone receiver into a VoIP headset, for all practical purposes, and usually is offered as part of a virtual world training package.

5. Out-of-World Experience

Make sure your materials are working correctly not only within the virtual world, but outside of it as well. Browsing the Internet and viewing web-base applications is a requirement for most 3D virtual training and meeting platforms. Platforms that have taken the time to integrate the operating system’s native browser into their 3D engine will have much better compatibility and provide a more consistent viewing experience for virtual attendees.

Thanks again to VenueGen for the tips.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

A Few Quotes in Praise of Video Games

When asked about the value of video games Daphne Bavelier, an assistant professor in the department of brain and cognitive science at the University of Rochester said "People that play these fast-paced games have better vision, better attention and better cognition." Bavelier also said games could be developed that would harness the positive effects of the first-person shooter games without the violence.

President Barack Obama recently identified the creation of good educational software as one of the "grand challenges for American innovation."

Sigmund Tobias of the State University of New York at Albany said an Israeli air force study found that students who played the game "Space Fortress" had better rankings in their pilot training than students who did not.

Sigmund Tobias also pointed out that that students who played "pro-social" games that promote cooperation were more likely than others to help out in real-life situations like intervening when someone is being harassed.

**These quotes lifted from an article in the Huffington Post titled Violent Video Games Touted As Learning Tool

Also, check out this "ancient" but still relevant paper titled Video Games and the Future of Learning.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

3D Virtual Immersive Environment Role Plays

A 3D Virtual World role play provides a realistic environment in which two or more people act out a scenario. Role playing is valuable for immersing a trainee in a job she would actually be doing. This type of environment is flexible. No matter what direction a learner takes, the experienced person playing the other role can provide the right feedback and act appropriately for the role.

In a virtual immersive environment, some of the traditional obstacles and barriers of conducting face-to-face role plays are eliminated. For one, online role plays are easier to take on because the learner can get closer to the role. She can dress the avatar in the right clothes, put it in the right environment, and obtain the right tools just like on the job. The environment can be realistic and immersive and literally place the learner into the role she is assuming.

Participating in a virtual world role play helps crystallize the learner’s knowledge because the learner is forced to apply all their skills and abilities to the role.

In addition to taking on prospective roles, a role play can also allow a learner to experience a role she does not normally fill, such as allowing a person to experience a different gender or a different race. This provides the learner with a new perspective. This can also be done by having a doctor take on the role of a patient to observe the sights and sounds from a completely different point-of-view or having a sales person take on the role of a customer. The instruction can place the learner into many different situations in which she can participate in different roles within the same activity.

Retail sales role play in a virtual world.

An experienced copier sales manager can play the role of a potential customer in a virtual store with virtual products. A new trainee can play the role of a sales representative and engage the potential customer in a discussion in an attempt to sell him copier.

A student can take on the role of a border patrol officer and practice interviewing individuals entering a country.

A pre-service teacher can role play teaching in front of a group of kids (played by experienced teachers.)

One advantage a role play has over traditional programmed simulations or branching stories is that it is open ended from the learner’s perspective. In a pre-programmed simulation, the designer of the instruction needs to consider as many of the possible branches of the simulation as possible to cover the broad spectrum of learners and their possible responses. The designer, because of limited resources, must then choose only those branching scenarios the learner is most likely to encounter or create. The instructional designer must keep exceptions or variations to a minimum since the branching can grow quite large with just a few choices.

In a VIE role play, the branching is infinite since, ideally, an experienced person is playing to other role and is able to go in any direction the learner initiates.

Both the learner and the instructor need to be in the virtual world at the same time. Additionally, given the current state of avatars, the ability to read facial expressions and subtle body language cues does not currently exist. Virtual worlds are, at this point, simply not complex enough to convey those nuances. Although, this is one of many aspects of virtual worlds being worked on by developers and will be overcome in the near future.

Also see:

3D Virtual Scavenger Hunts

Virtual 3D World for Teacher Training

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hanging Out In Chicago with Allison and Tony

Earlier this week, I had a chance to hang out with Allison Rossett and my co-author Tony. I've worked with Allison before for an ASTD event about Rapid eLearning. I always enjoy hanging out with her and gaining insight from her ideas and perspectives on learning.

Karl Kapp, Allison Rossett and Tony O'Driscoll talking about learning. 

We were all in Chicago for the Corporate University Technology Assisted Learning Conference. Allison gave a workshop on blended learning and provided great insights into different forms of blended learning and discussed the pros and cons of those options. The particpants were wonderful and shared stories of successful blended learning and some unsuccessful attempts. I really enjoyed meeting everyone.

Tony and I conducted a workshop about Learning in 3D. We discussed the Seven Sensibilities and the 3D Learning Archetypes as well as a demonstration of some virtual worlds and a lots of examples of practical implementations.

Here are some of the slides we used in the presentation (Similar to our ASTD presentation which can be seen here. Slides are below.)

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ASTD International Conference Learning in 3D Recap Video and Slides

Here is a link to the video of the presentation Tony and I did at the ASTD conference a few weeks ago courtesy of Protonmedia. (Once you follow the link, you will need to scroll down to view the video on the post.)

Also, here are the accompanying slides if you want to follow along "at home."

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Monday, May 24, 2010

A Lot Happening in the 3D Space

Last week a lot of 3D news occurred, here is a round up of some of the highlights:
  • I stopped by the ASTD booth of Digitell, Inc. and met James A. Parker, the President, who said his booth was buzzing the entire conference and a lot of people were interested in 3D webinars. Digitell is company that owns VirtualU a 3D virtual immersive environment that has been used for everything from meetings to rock concerts. Learn more about their 3D solution here.

  • As announced first on this blog, ProtonMedia announced a strategic partnership with RWD on heals of another announcement of a strategic partnership with Kaplan-EduNeering. I think these two activities signal a real "serious" look at moving 3D virtual immersive environments into organizations at the enterprise level. Stay tuned for more big announcements in the enterprise space for 3D virtual worlds.

  • ThinkingWorlds, the 3D simulations software created by Caspian Learning, just announced a joint venture with Bohemia Interactive, a well known military simulations company with the VBS2 engine also known as Virtual Battlespace 2. VBS2 is a fully interactive, three-dimensional, PC-based synthetic environment specifically developed for military training, mission rehearsal and analysis.According to Chris Chris Brannigan, of Caspian, the "main driver of the partnership is to bring rapid authoring and thin client delivery to VBS2 and therefore into the military simulations arena."

  • Additionally, ThinkingWorlds announced they are bringing immersive simulations through Java applets to the browser. ThinkingWorlds demonstrated this capability at ITEC Conference in London. The capability is currently in testing with military clients and over the next month Caspian will add in SCORM and other functionality. Java gives the ThinkingWorlds application many advantages for delivery - it is almost ubiquitous, it can be delivered securely and it is very portable and easy to host by any client.

  • Linden Labs, makers of Second Life, announce the list of the Top Ten: 2010 Linden Prize Finalists. The prize recognizes a Second Life Resident, or team, for an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn, and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world. There were 130 finalists and I am happy to say our friends at the Uncle D's Storyquest project are among the finalists. I visited with them a few months ago and blogged about it in Using Virtual Worlds in the Conspiracy to Create an ah-ha Moment so congratulations to Marty and Jena.

  • Sue Todd, president of Corporate University Xchange-- leading provider of corporate university research, benchmarking, and advisory services for helping organizations transform corporate learning--wrote an interesting piece she calls Long Live 3D Learning where she discusses three encounters she's had lately with the concept of 3D for learning and collaboration. She ends her post with Improved performance. Stronger ROI. More and better education. Yes 3D Learning – it’s looking like you have a bright future ahead.
It looks like things are happening in the 3D space, to learn about important aspects of 3D check out my post at The Tech Dimension called Three Things to Know about Learning in 3D Environments to gain additional understanding of why 3D is starting to take hold. __
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Virtual 3D World for Teacher Training

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) launched an online resource for potential and current educators in West Virginia called Teach West Virginia and as part of the initiative, a 3D world is playing a key role in the process.

According to the article West Virginia looks to Second Life

As part of the program, they have developed a unique and groundbreaking virtual world on the internet’s largest 3D virtual community, Second Life. This world is being created through a partnership with West Virginia University’s College of Human Resources and Education. Pamela Whitehouse, assistant professor of Instructional Design and Technology, is directing the production of a virtual space for Teach West Virginia, which showcases many of the things that are unique and wonderful about teaching in the Mountain State.

Visitors currently may interact with avatars of representatives from the WVDE, explore a movie theater, and participate in an interactive scavenger hunt designed to highlight state professional teaching standards. The movie theater features virtual refreshments and video clips about issues relevant in a new age of education while highlighting many of the ongoing events and initiatives going on at the WVDE. The scavenger hunt takes users on a journey through classrooms from traditional styles of the past into the progressive Global21 classrooms of today. Along this journey, visitors collect clues to progress through the interactive game. The clues educate visitors about West Virginia’s professional teaching standards and how each standard applies to a new style of learning and classroom instruction for the 21st century. At the end of this journey, users are assessed on what they have learned and rewarded for their efforts by winning a virtual Global21 T-shirt for their avatar.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fun Moments at ASTD 2010 Conference Captured on Video

Had a great time at ASTD 2010 conference, saw lots of friends and made some new ones. I was impressed by the number of people and the energy of the conference, my buddy Ron Burns of Protonmedia had the idea to do a little tour of the show, so with some video, some stills and some crazy moments. So we created a fun little "snippet" of some of my fun and exciting experiences at the show.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

RWD Speaks about Using 3D Virtual Environments for Learning and Collaboration

At the ASTD Conference, I had the privilege of interviewing a couple of folks who are pioneering the use of 3D virtual environments across the enterprise. As indicated in this blog earlier in the week, RWD has entered into a partnership with ProtonMedia to make ProtoSphere available to its clients.

I was lucky enough to be at the conference and two interview people from RWD and ask them about the partnership.I spoke with Mal Poulin, Enterprise Market Director for RWD, and Paul Bejgrowicz, Principal Performance Consultant for RWD

We conducted the interview in the thick of the conference so its is a little loud but interesting information from RWD's perspective in terms of them trying to bring 3D virtual enterprise solutions into the market place.
Mal Poulin, Paul Bejgrowicz and Karl Kapp discuss the use of 3D virtual
 world ProtoSphere and it potential impact on the learning and collaboration space.

Here is the full interview and, pay close attention to the last question, they are reading some interesting stuff:)

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Interview with CEO of ProtonMedia and President of Kaplan-EduNeering on 3D in Compliance Training and Collaboration

The other week, I had the privilege of being able to interview two very interesting people about the future of 3D Virtual worlds for collaboration and training in the compliance space. It was an exciting interview with some really interesting answers to my questions.

Here is a link to the interview of ProtonMedia's blog: What the ProtonMedia-Kaplan EduNeering partnership means for life sciences companies

Ron Burns, CEO of Proton Media, Lisa Clune, President of Kaplan EduNeering
 and Karl Kapp (just some guy).

PS: Look for an awesome question near the end related to some intense reading Lisa and Ron have been doing:)

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Exclusive: RWD and ProtonMedia Form Partnership

Here at the ASTD international conference, you can learning a lot just by listening and talking to folks.

So, here is an exclusive piece of news (a couple of days before the "official announcement") Protonmedia and RWD are teaming up in a strategic partnership.

RWD and their focus on human and operational performance improvement solutions is partnering with the 3D virtual learning and collaboration company, Protonmedia, to create an engaging and exciting solution that will provide their clients with a rich, 3D environment to encourage collaboration, innovation and foster learning. This adds another great tool to RWD's large arsenal of tools, processes and solutions. It also helps them expand their solution base into new areas of collaboration and positions them well in the various industries they serve.

Ron Burns, CEO of Protonmedia said that the partnership will allow the two organizations to "bring collaboration and learning together for large enterprise customers."

Quick Analysis
As companies like SAIC purchase 3D world vendors like Forterra , I think we will see more of these partnerships and I believe that having RWD and Kaplan-EduNeering behind Protonmedia will propel 3D virtual immersive environments into the forefront of enterprise solutions for collaboration and learning.

More on this story as it unfolds.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Training Magazine: Back in Business!

Training Magazine which was officially closed in February partly because its owner could not find a buyer has once again "opened its doors." A buyer has been found and the magazine is back in business.

Lakewood Media Group - part of Mach1 Business Media - has acquired Training magazine, its conferences and Training Top 125. Lakewood Publications was the original publisher of Training.

More great news: Former Training editor Phil Jones is joining Lakewood Media Group as operations resume in the near future

Check out Training Magazine, Back in Publication.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Summits, Conferences and Some Relaxation

It has been a busy few weeks and May continues to be busy as I have a couple of presentations with my co-author Tony O'Driscoll coming up. We are co-presenting at the ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition May 18, 1:00-3:30 in Chicago, Illinois on the topic of "Learning in 3D" we are looking forward to the presentation

We are then doing a workshop together at the Corporate University Technology Assisted Learning Conference on May 24th called "Learning in 3D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration"

Meridian Know and Learn Conference

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of working with the great folks at Meridian on a panel discussing learning trends. I was on a panel with Mark Bower and Susan Smith Nash. It was a lot of fun discussion whether or not we thought a trend was "fact" or "fiction."

Here are some photographs from the panel discussion.
Mark, Karl and Susan prepare for audience questions. 
We considered switching seats to have some fun with the audience:)

Susan makes a point to Karl and Mark about Social Media.

Kaplan-EduNeering Knowledge Summit

Last week I attended the Kaplan-EduNeering Knowledge Summit and once again had a great time. It was the Seventh Annual Summit and I believe I have attended all seven. And speaking of "seven." I had the opportunity to meet Jeffrey Hollender the executive Chairman and Chief Inspired Protagonist of the Seventh Generation Corporation which is a company that is committed to creating authentic, safe, and environmentally-responsible products for a healthy home.

I also had a chance to have a few moments with the fascinating, interesting and highly educated Bror Saxberg, the Chief Learning Officer of Kaplan, Inc. His vision for the future of education is exciting, interesting and will be scary for traditional institutions. The data that Kaplan will be able to collect in the near future concerning student performance, learning methods and strategies and the delivery of content to life-long learners is staggering. It will be an exciting and unsettling time in higher education in the next 5-10 years when Bror begins to mine the data and opportunities within Kaplan.

Bror Saxberg discussing the application of research 
to learning design to an enthralled audience.

And, at the Knowledge Summit, Kaplan-EduNeering and ProtonMedia announced a strategic partnership.

As the press release indicates:
Kaplan EduNeering, a leading provider of compliance and knowledge management technology solutions, and ProtonMedia, the developer of the ProtoSphere virtual collaboration environment for the high-performance workplace, today announced a new multi-year partnership. The companies will develop and offer a uniquely comprehensive suite of tools for compliance training, product life cycle management (PLM), and collaborative decision-making for life sciences organizations.

Kaplan EduNeering’s online compliance solutions are used by over one million individuals in more than 50 countries by companies in regulated industries, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biologics, dietary supplements, and medical devices.

ProtoSphere is the market-leading virtual collaboration environment for the high-performance workplace, and the #1 virtual environment for collaborative product life cycle management (PLM) in life sciences. ProtoSphere’s virtual environment provides an arsenal of business-focused collaboration and communication tools that help companies accelerate decision-making and raise productivity, improving workplace performance overall.

Together, Kaplan EduNeering and ProtonMedia will create a best-of-breed 3-D virtual collaboration environment, driven by the powerful compliance tracking engine of the Kaplan EduNeering Platform. Kaplan EduNeering’s expertise in delivering solutions that help companies meet regulatory and compliance requirements will augment ProtonMedia’s ability to effectively foster product life cycle collaboration within research, development, production, marketing, and customer engagement phases.
But it wasn't all work, we had a nice dinner at the Adventure Camden Aquarium.

Having a compliance discussion with 
Dave Peterson and Gilly, the aquarium mascot.

Having fish dinner among the sharks.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Presentation Tip: Highlighting a Small Piece of a Model in PowerPoint 2007

Recently I have been doing a number of lessons on the topics of "Avoiding Death by PowerPoint" and by far, one of the most requested parts of the presentation is how to take an image that no one can read, you know one where the presenter says..."I know you can't read this but" and make it readable. Here is one method that I use.

Step one: Take a small image that no one can read, like a flow chart. An example is shown below.

Step Two: On top of that image create a shape (square, circle, etc.) which is an enlargement of an element of the underlying "too small to read" image (in this case a flow chart box, this is "hand drawn" using shape and text tools from PowerPoint).

Step Three: "Group" the image you created. Then click on the image you created and go to “Add Effect,” “Entrance,” “Faded Zoom.” This should be set to occur “On Click.” Choose the speed you want it to appear and you are good to go.

Step Four: The final sequence of images should appear as shown below:

On Click, the "enlarged" portion of your image will appear.
Additional Resources:
Avoiding Death by PowerPoint Presentation
List of Various Presentation Resources

Wow!That Presentation was Awesome!(This is for fee, $50. The first three slides are teaser but contain valuable information and then you hit the "toll booth.")

For Some Examples of great presentations:
Go over to Slide Share and search for "worlds best presentation" examples.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Knowledge Summit--Talking about Social Media But, Will it Blend?

Today and tomorrow I will be at the 7th annual Kaplan-EduNeering Knowledge Summit. I have been to many EduNeering Knowledge Summits and always have a great time. I'll be doing a book signing, facilitating a video interview about the strategic relationship between ProtonMedia and Kaplan-EduNeering with Lisa Clune and Ron Burns and generally mixing with a great group of folks.

Also, I'll be hooking up with Novorati's president John Royer. And see my friends Bonni and Heath from Stellar Meetings.

This year I will be speaking on the topic of Social Media and its use in organizations with tight compliance regulations and what lessons those organizations can take from others. One of my favorite uses of social media is Facebook and so I look to Blendtec to answer the question....does Facebook Blend? And you can check out Blendtec's Facebook page to keep up-to-date on Blendtec blends.

Here are some pictures and thoughts from a previous Knowledge Summit I attended.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Five 3D Environments on Your 2D Laptop

Here are five products on the market today that allow you to escape the 2D environment of your laptop and add a third dimension to your file structure, navigation and functionality. 3D interfaces are starting to appear everywhere for your laptop, iPad or other portable computing devices. Check them out.

Recently, Google has purchased a 3D interface that is pretty slick for the desktop called is a video showing how it works:

You can do a semi-3D search with SpaceTime 3D which shows web pages scrolling one after another in a carousel format.

Tactile 3D allows you to organizing your files and directories customizing their position in a 3D space. All common file operations are supported and can be shown in 3-dimensions.

The 3B Browser lets you take any web site or photo and place them in a personalized 3D space, your 3B room. You can add many web sites and have a complete gallery where you, as an avatar, and a friend or two can walk around a 3D space and look at the web sites together.


The company 3DNA provides different 3D Add-on Worlds to explore and customize for an immersive and entertaining desktop. 3DNA is not a replacement for Windows - it works seamlessly with your current set up, while providing 3D environments in which to view your information. You can hang photos on your walls and explore 3D spaces with many different environments to choose from.

So, you might not be ready to jump into a 3D world like ProtoSphere, OLIVE or Second Life but, are you ready for a 3D environment to make your laptop a little less...boring and a little more productive?

If you'd rather check out 3D worlds see:__
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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Survey Request: Take some time and help the industry

 A colleague of mine, Dan Bliton asked me to help promote this survey, I think it is a worthwhile endeavor and would invite you to take a few moments and participate. Here are the details.

Please complete the survey on Effective Approaches for e-Learning and share it with others.

We need at least 100 survey responses from e-Learning developers for an I/ITSEC conference paper.
Begging for our survey
The goal of this survey is to gather information about how instructional designers use both text and audio in their design approaches and to identify the approaches that are considered the most effective.

The first page of the survey asks about your experiences on e-Learning projects. The second page covers your opinions on the effectiveness of different e-Learning approaches based on a set of e-Learning examples and your use of audio and text in e-Learning. Click the link to open a new window and review the examples. Links to the examples are provided throughout the survey, so you don't have to view them prior to starting the survey.

Also, please consider sharing this survey, if you know of other people or groups that might have opinions about how to best use audio and text in e-Learning. If you would like a summary of the results, please e-mail us. A report of the results will be available a few months after the conclusion of the survey.
We appreciate your time and thank you in advance your participation.

--Dan Bliton

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Presentation Resources for DPW Webinar

Here are some presentation resources that might be helpful when creating an exciting PowerPoint presentation.

PCAR Presentation Resources

Resource for Presentations

Learning Circuits Big Questions: Avoiding Death by PowerPoint

Here is an example of a presentation using some techniques to avoid bullets, lists and other PPT distractions.

Here is an article about some of the dangers of using PowerPoint incorrectly:
We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint

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