The best known presentation tool is PowerPoint. Presentation tools are used to incorporate visual aids to classroom teaching (or student presentations) to add an illustrative dimension to the teaching / presentation narrative.

In recent years, some applications have emerged to challenge PowerPoint’s linear approach, notably Prezi. New generation presentation tools have moved presentation creation online which allows for easier collaboration. For that reason, presentation tools might also comprise online collaborative collection apps (“online corkboards”), such as Padlet and Pinterest. Online graphics making software (e.g. Canva), and mindmaps can also be used to illustrate & illuminate presentations online and offline.

Presentation skills are about making information exchange persuasive. Politicians need to persuade their voters of the value of their policy ideas, as sellers need to persuade their customers of the quality of their product. Equally, academics need to persuade their peers and the general public of the usefulness of their research and students need to persuade their teachers of the validity and depth of their learning (teachers need to persuade their students to engage with their concepts and ideas). When any of this is done in presentations, then presentation tools deliver the visual persuasion elements.

Presenting and…


Presentation tools allow for easier integration of digital media to introduce alternatives or complements to textual content, make it easier to navigate to and from other resources, tools and activities and offer alternatives to the linear structure. Presentations will thus become more interactive and engaging to the audience.


Most of these tools now also offer the possibility to invite other people to view or collaborate on your presentation, whether it is to prepare for a conference with a colleague or share material easily with your students or make it available outside of your institution.

To add interactive elements to presentations we recommend using polling tools or apps. For more information on these, please see

So many tools… which one to choose?

Opinions on what the best tool is vary, the best is to try some out and choose the one that suits your needs and context.

Things to consider when choosing your presentation tool include:

⦿ How does the chosen piece of software present the information?

⦿ Is it linear or does it follow a path?

⦿ What kind of content does it support?

⦿ Does it provide themes or templates?

⦿ Can you navigate to and from other files, and if so, how easy is it?

⦿ What are the tools available to insert and customise content?

⦿ Are they easy to use?

⦿ What kind of content can you include in your presentation?

⦿ Can you access the presentation offline?

⦿ Is the format supported by most devices?

⦿ If not, are there other formats available?

⦿ Can you embed and/or share your presentation?

⦿ Can you control the privacy of your presentation?

⦿ Is it possible to add collaborators?

⦿ Can you export it to another format and/or download your presentation?

⦿ How much storage do you get?

PRS – a plugin to use in PowerPoint (or as standalone) to poll large student cohorts during teaching. See our pages for more information, this is a core LSE application.

Educause created a 2 page 7 things to know about next generation presentation tools in 2010:

Presentation Zen, Garr Reynolds (2013)

Prezi – presentations are built up on one giant canvas rather slide after slide, which allows for greater flexibility and might encourage users to think in terms of overall narrative instead of linearity.

Padlet – an ‘online corkboard’, padlet allows users to collect and curate text, audio and video from the internet which in turn can be used as a shareable visual aid or personal prompt image map.

Pinterest – use as visual aid to create moodboards or a collection of politically, socially, culturally impactful images, to curate an archive of visual rhetoric etc

Stormboard – educational pricing (for accounts with valid HE email address) still entirely free until 31st July 2017

Tablet app ‘paper by 53’

Smartboard ‘Smartkapp’ – an example can be found on 1st floor of Clement House Rotunda;

SlideShare – share your presentations with online audiences