My first experience of presenting content with computer technology was Microsoft’s PowerPoint.  I was surprised to discover that it was released to the public in 1990 because I didn’t really see it used much until a decade later.  Once I had my laptop computer in 2000, I started playing with it.  I made my first PowerPoint presentations for others as a graduate student at UMBC, and it mildly impressed the right people.

When I got my first office computer in 2003, I was trying to convert some of my lessons to PowerPoint because there was a rumor that that was the direction our teacher training program was heading.  That never happened while I was there, which especially disappointed me when we got a brand new building with the latest technology integrated into every room.
I designed my first PowerPoint presentations for professional use for the KOTESOL Convention, which was hosted by the school where I was employed, Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul.  It made me feel more professional, but I can’t speak for my audience.  The peak of my PowerPoint usage was when I was presenting seminars and workshops as a Senior English Language Fellow in Russia.  Because one of the key principles of my Fellowship was sharing resources, I made my PowerPoints available to my Russian audience but either sending them the slides directly or by uploading them to my website.

In 2007, I began learning how to integrate PowerPoint slideshows with websites and blogs, trying to make my content more accessible to the public.  In a few courses at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse and at the International University of Japan, I experimented with sharing my content and notes with my students with Google Drive’s presentation software.  I found better success with sharing my notes with Google Drive’s document software as it freed up my students from taking rigorous notes.

By 2009, Microsoft achieved one of its goals because it seemed to me that everyone in education was now using PowerPoint.  Teachers were seemingly now using the software more than the board, and thus the software was becoming as boring as the rest of the physical classroom.  Fortunately, one of my professors was spicing up the presentation world of education with a newer program called Prezi.

Watching the buzz around Prezi was fascinating to observe during my four years as a PhD student at the University of Iowa.  I never heard of it until my second semester, and by my last year it was being taught to undergraduates in the College of Education in their Technology in the Classroom course.

At the time Prezi was spreading like wildfire on campus, the field of education was noticing another phenomenon that was spreading fasting through the use of another software program called Camtasia.  The most famous demonstration of Camtasia for educational purposes is Khan Academy.

But Camtasia costs a lot of money.  A cheaper and more mobile option has come along within the last year, and it’s Explain Everything.  This is a step towards the direction of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, so it’s easier for students to access and easier for teachers who prefer to teach and work on mobile devices compared to their desktops and laptops.  Looking back at the other ways to present content, I am able to see the exponential development and usage of each successive program.  It’s exciting and scary too because sometimes it’s hard to catch up with the latest innovative format.

Just when I thought I had caught up to the most popular and successful technological ways to present content to learners, a colleague of mine introduced me to a new web-based platform from Mozilla called Popcorn.  This is the reason I was inspired to blog this post.  After doing a little reading, Popcorn hasn’t caught on as much as Prezi or Explain Everything because of a few limitations as expressed in this review.  However, I would like to experiment with Popcorn more than Explain Everything mainly for blogging purposes.

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