Please note, in this post, I’ll discuss my thoughts as I play with a Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool designed to make presentations (powerpoints). When I started playing with these tools weeks ago, this was fascinating but seemed limited at the time. With the impending launch of generative AI in Google Apps and Microsoft Office, the tools used in this post, and some of the limitations will quickly be eliminated over time.
In addition, I’ll focus mostly on my process in this post, as opposed to product. Many individuals are quick to examine and critique the product (output) of these AI tools. I’m more interested in the process involved and how they may (or may not) impact my workflow.
A couple of weeks ago I presented with a colleague on socioemotional learning in the classroom.
To prepare for this session, we met face-to-face several times to outline what we would like to do in our allotted time. We kept an outline of the session in a Google Doc and started out an outline of the presentation in Google Slides. This allowed us to make edits and tweaks over time.
It was relatively abnormal for me to meet face-to-face with a colleague to plan for the presentation. I say this because many presentations are planned over a quick Zoom call, or in between emails.
When I create a presentation for an event, I begin by thinking about how much time I have, the audience, what I hope to achieve, and the main objectives. I use online tools (Google Slides) because they allow me to continually iterate and make changes over time on the presentation. So, the fact that I can slowly work individually, or with colleagues over time to tweak the presentation…even up until right before we present…is a valuable function.
As detailed above, here is the document we used to plan during our face-to-face meeting. Here is the slide deck we created, it is also embedded below. Here is the blog post we shared during the presentation that included all presentation materials and resources.
After our presentation, I continued to play with new generative AI tools, and I tested some of the products designed to help create professional slides and videos for pitch decks, conference presentations, and more.
The first tool I tested was MotionIt.ai. To use the product, you generally need a title and a one-sentence descriptor about what you’d like to create.
To test this tool, I indicated that it was for a Conference Presentation, and the topic was “Empowering Students as they negotiate digital literacy, identity, and socioemotional learning.” For the main idea, I indicated that “We will discuss how technology can be used to support and enhance student learning, as well as how to create a safe and supportive learning environment.”
Motion.Ai then creates the entire slide deck in Google Slides and shares it with you.
Here is the output that MotionIt created, it is also embedded below. I did not make any changes.
I was impressed with how much Motion.Ai created with so little guidance. I like the use of Google Slides. I think it provides a starting point but would need a lot of editing to get it ready for the presentation. I present a lot, and so I have a good idea about what, why, and how I’d like to present. For someone just getting started, this would be helpful.
I also have questions about the outline and images used. I prefer to share my slides with Creative Commons, or openly licensed images and indicate where I obtained them.
Tome describes itself as a generative storytelling app. You can type in a prompt and Tome will generate entire narratives from scratch or create additional content pages within seconds. It uses DALL·E 2 to create images to add to the presentation and bring your idea to life. You can sign up for an Education license that includes a lot of extra perks.
I signed in and asked Tome to create a presentation about “Empowering Students as they negotiate digital literacy, identity, and socioemotional learning.” I recorded the process as it built the presentation as I was fascinated at how fast it compiled everything.
The full output of the presentation is available here. One of the negatives of the tool is that it seems to keep your presentation in Tome and you cannot export as Google Slides, Powerpoint, or PDF. I’ve been searching, but cannot find the functionality to do so.
I felt like the output of Tome was a better option than MotionIt, but I could see individuals having an issue with the dark mode of the slides, and the use of DALL·E for images. Because the images are also generative AI, they often have a weird dysmorphia effect at times. There are many other ways that you can edit the look, feel, images, and text of the presentation as well.
Tools like this provide a good way to get started as you learn how to prepare a slide deck for a presentation. I could see using this with students as a way to create an initial slide deck as a template that includes their main ideas, and then go through and continue critiquing and tweaking.
I’ve been presenting for some time and much of my insight around what, why, and how of this art form has been drilled into me by experience, failure, and mentors. For professional, or research presentations, I was guided by my major advisor on the expectations of the audience and my need to always improve. I’ve shared some of this guidance with colleagues and students.
Lastly, when I prepare a presentation for a conference, job talk, or class, I typically go into my warehouse of slide decks from previous presentations and cobble a new talk together using old templates and parts.
Good friend April Leach asked whether the use of these tools was more or less fun than creating it all from scratch. Was this a time saver? In terms of creating a presentation from scratch, I don’t think that I, or most academics do that anymore. If I’m presenting at a conference, much of that is very formulaic as the audience will have certain expectations, or the session has a specific agenda. At this point, I use old presentations as a template and build from there. Most of the work (time) is at the end when I’m fine-tuning things and revising, revising, revising. Tools like this would be helpful (for me) to get me out of a rut and try new ideas, templates, themes, etc. For someone that was just getting started, it might be helpful.
That being said, as these tools advance, I can definitely see opportunities where this would be a huge time saver, and also a tool that stretches my thinking and expectations. I enjoy presenting with others as they’ll have different ways they organize speaking, teaching, or presenting. Imagine a slide deck creation tool that offers a multitude of formats and organizational techniques.
Want a Pecha Kucha deck? Done. Want an Ignite talk? Done. Want a TED Talk? Done. Need it more academic? Done. Need it more for the layperson? Done.
I can imagine a future where an AI assistant could listen to the discussion I was having with colleagues while planning the presentation, and review the outline we sketch out in a Google Doc. (Please note: It seems like Office and Google Apps will be able to review meetings and emails, provide an overview of what you discussed, provide a transcription of these events, and give you an outline of everything you need to do next). The AI assistant could then use pieces of our discussion, planning, and prior presentation formats and files and create a presentation that we could then review and edit.
It seems like these tools are just around the corner. It will be interesting to see what people do with them.