What is It?

Presentation tools allow a presenter to structure content prior to delivery and to deliver the content mainly by means of projection. Text, digital images, sound files and web resources can all be embedded within a presentation.  PowerPoint is the most commonly used, but other tools are now expanding the definition of “presentation software.”  Concept mapping, web pages, Flash, and non-linear formats such as Prezi are alternatives to the traditional PowerPoint software.  With add-on tools such as clickers or Twitter, presentations with PowerPoint or other devices can become interactive or develop a more “live” feel.

How Can I Use It in Teaching?

Teachers can use Presentation Tools to:

  • Enhance Group/Collaborative Work
  • Increase Student Engagement
  • Work Effectively with Large Classes
  • Make Lectures Engaging
  • Facilitate Meaningful Discussions

Resources for Learning More

Presentation Tools


PowerPoint is a software application that is part of the Microsoft Office Suite used to produce presentations. You can use PowerPoint to produce slides that include titles, subtitles, text, bulleted and numbered paragraphs, tables, charts, images, sounds, photos, videos and other elements. UIT PowerPoint tip sheets and documentation at Tufts
Workshops at Tufts


Keynote is a presentation software application developed as a part of the iWork productivity suite by Apple for use on Mac computers. It is similar to PowerPoint. How to Use KeyNote


Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is a concept and content mapping application, primarily developed to support teaching, learning and research and for anyone who needs to organize, contextualize, and access digital information. With the help of a simple set of tools and a basic visual grammar that consists of nodes and links, faculty and students can map relationships between concepts, ideas and digital content.

VUE combines concept mapping with a presentation tools so that presentations can be non-linear and more dynamic. By using VUE’s interactive zoom tool, authors may quickly zoom any node to full-screen mode with a single click. The Pathways allows you to create custom “trails” through nodes in your map and it permits construction of interactive presentations. VUE’s pathways feature allows presenters to create annotated trails through their maps. Using VUE for Presentations (Tufts video)


A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds documents, images, and videos and allows people to participate in several ways including using voice (with a mic or phone), text, audio file, or video (webcam or iMovie). Students and colleagues can share a VoiceThread and asynchronously discuss the content of the VoiceThread. What’s a VoiceThread Anyway (video)


Prezi is a web-based presentation tool using a map layout and zooming to show contextual relationships. Unlike PowerPoint which presents slides in a linear format, Prezi starts with a large blank canvas. Elements for a presentation – such as text, images, and multimedia – can be placed on the Prezi canvas and organized according to relationships. Information can be sized according to importance so that the presenter can show larger relationships as well as zoom in on specific details or examples. Quickly Learn Prezi


Slideshare is a file-sharing site that allows users to upload and share PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, as well as Word and PDF documents. Audio can be added to an uploaded file to turn a presentation into a “webinar.” Basic How-To on Slideshare

Comparative Matrix of Presentation Tools

Technology Tufts Supported Learning Curve Costs Associated Requirements to Run
PowerPoint y easy Usually comes packaged with most computers Computer
KeyNote N easy Y Mac Computer
VUE Y easy 0 Computer with Internet Connection
VoiceThread N Easy 0 Computer with Internet Connection
Prezi N easy 0 Computer with Internet Connection
SlideShare N Easy 0 Computer with Internet Connection

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