Playing around with Sway

If you haven’t had a look at Sway yet, I really suggest you do. It came online as part of our schools 365 software about 6 weeks ago, although I had been using it off and on for about a year. It is a flexible presentation medium that allows for a wide range of images, videos and documents to be stored in one place. Sway also looks great on any device and as it is solely web based will work on any device. While I am still not 100% sold on using sway to deliver content and would still mix it up with OneNote and Office Mix, I am 110% sold on my students using sway as a tool to get their message across.

Some situations where I have used office sway have been

As additional information for my CV.

When I applied for a job earlier in the term, I put some additional ‘supporting information’ onto a sway. I did this as I still felt uncomfortable submitting a completely digital CV (not because I was didn’t think it would work, but I am also very aware of the need to a piece of paper to read for some people) so I compromised and did both.

I also used it to put together a (slightly rushed) application for the roll of ICT rep for Otago Southland (which I didn’t get, but never mind). Incidentally, this was my first ever sway I made – it really is very easy to use. Just drag, drop and type really. It will even automatically search images etc for you.

As an alternative to Powerpoint for a presenting

I have used sway a couple of times when presenting now. I have found (for me) if I am using it as a presentation tool, I like to keep it simple and mostly images – if you have too many things flying around, it gets a bit busy and confusing. So this sway was for a catch up with other MIEEs from around NZ just highlighting what I had been doing. This sway was a presentation I gave to staff after I got back from Seattle.

I’m still not sure exactly what my favourite app for presenting is. I really like using OneNote as a ‘Trezi’ style (Travis Smith uses OneNote exceptionally well, like a prezi presentation with even more awesome), and sometimes there is safety in powerpoint 🙂 But a sway can be a great tool to move away from ‘bullet points’ and reading off slides.

Displaying content

A real advantage of Sway is that you can easily incorporate other files and images into it. When you are on the home page, you have the option to import other documents straight away

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For time poor teachers who may already have resources made up, this is a real time saver. You can create a sway from a resource you already have. For example, there was a powerpoint already made up for a genetics topics coming up. So you can chose to upload this straight into a sway

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You can then ‘remix’ the sway to get it to look how ever you like.

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I sometimes find this function awesome, and other times frustrating. I would prefer an ‘options’ or pick template. But the students love remixing their sways, although they can occasionally waste a bit of time on it too. But it does break up the content in different ways.

So in the case of the genetics powerpoint, I am going to keep what works of the old and add in some more pictures, videos and maybe a mix or two. Then a real beauty fo this system is it so easily embeds into Sharepoint sites, so you can add content to a site in a really straightforward way – even if you are not super confident using technology.

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So, all in all, Sway is a super easy to use, super flexible display/presentation tool that seems to work seemlessly with other software (and on a mac too). I think I will still mostly use OneNote and Office Mix for most of my content delivery, but will definitely allow my students to submit their work in this way if they wish.

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