The online world has been all abuzz with the announcement that Google Docs now includes the ability to create, edit, and share Presentations. I found out the news while reading the Webware blog, which by the way is great for keeping up on Web 2.0 apps, and they weren’t as impressed with it as others will be.
PowerPoint-style presentations have two major objectives. Those are to inform the people to whom you are presenting and to hold their attention. I would personally not feel great about using Google Presentations on an important presentation, where I need to impress people. The presentations that it creates just do not have the “wow” factor.
I’d like to contend that of these two objectives of a PP-style presentation, only one can be achieved successfully: informing the people. Basically, if you are giving a presentation and depending on the software to “hold their attention” then you’ll fail almost every time. The “wow” should come from both the content as well as the presenter. PowerPoint has become so common that there’s not much wow left…how many times will zooming, flipping, or blinking text enamor the audience?
Google Presentations will be a powerful classroom tool because it allows authors (students) to focus on the content created collaboratively by many. Multiple authors working together can develop content that is both accurate and engaging, hopefully leaving their teachers with a “Wow!”