Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Use SlideShare

I first began using SlideShare as a way to store PowerPoint presentations so I did not have to worry about where they were when I needed to do a presentation. That is, I did not have to store them on a portable drive (e.g., flash drive), carry around a laptop, or save them to a network drive. Instead, I could simply upload my presentations to SlideShare and access them from anywhere.

However, in the last few years, I have also discovered the beauty of using SlideShare as a social networking site. As the name implies, SlideShare is a place to share. Many users upload their presentations and grant rights to others to use these presentations. This feature can be a real time saver. When a user finds a presentation on SlideShare that he or she wants to use, the user simply needs to save it to "favorites" and can easily access it when the need arises. Using tags when saving to "favorites" can help when searching through the "favorites" to find a specific presentation. Type in a search word to find the presentation. On the other hand, if you don't have many presentations stored n as "favorites," just scroll through them looking at the titles and thumbnails.

This morning, I came across a link on Twitter for a SlideShare on Personal Learning Networks (PLN), a topic I am covering in the course Integrating Technology and Literacies in an attempt to build a spirit of educators as lifelong learners who can increase their PLN by accessing resources online. I decided to take a look at the presentation. I discovered the creator archived the presentation under Creative Commons Attribute for use as long as the creator is identified. Here, I embed the slide show for a variety of reasons. One is to demonstrate the ease with which a SlideShow can be embedded in a blog. Another is for viewers to review the very content in the presentations: ways in which one's PLN can be increased by using online social media. Another and third reason is to persuade viewers to make use of SlideShare if they are not already.

Creating a Personal Learning Network
 Presentation from from Corinne Weisgerber and Shannan Butler

Do you have a SlideShare account? Have you used the service? If you make PowerPoint presentations and lose track of where they are saved or don't want to be bothered storing them on a portable device, which can easily get lost or damaged, consider the convenience of SlideShare. Moreover, presentations saved on the site can be viewed from the site or downloaded to a specific computer to show on that computer during a presentation.

Once you become a regular user of SlideShare, you will not only find links that others share to presentations that you can access, but you will find presentations by browsing the site itself. If you like one presentation a person put up on SlideShare, you might find another one you like from this person by just browsing through the thumbnails of that person's presentations. You can also do a search with terms to find presentations. For instance, recently, I was looking to spice up an educational research course I am teaching. Although I could find a few excellent YouTubes, this site is blocked in the school where the course will be taught. Searching through SlideShare, I found some excellent alternatives.

Of course, finding relevant presentations on SlideShare not only is a timesaver because we don't have to create our own PowerPoints, but also it allow us to let another voice speak in our classrooms or for other audiences. Whereas our own PowerPoints can have a distinct look and feel, using someone's else can add variety.

Take some time to look through SlideShare perhaps on a topic you will be teaching soon. See what you find and check the creator's options for sharing. If you already use SlideShare, let us know what you think? Can you see how the site can open new possibilities and also contribute to your PLN? Would you consider putting your PowerPoint presentations on SlideShare?

Another similar site to check is AuthorStream, but if you need to begin somewhere, start with SlideShare, where you will find a host of ready-to-use presentations, such as the one I embedded above and other ones embedded in this blog. SlideShare can also help you with brainstorming for new presentations you want to create. By viewing others' work, you will get ideas.

Post your comments. What do you see as your potential use for SlideShare? After exploring for awhile, find a SlideShare to embed on in one of your own blog posts or to share with your students or others. Remember to give credit where credit is due and to check the sharing rights to use the presentation.

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