In a previous post, I described how Zoho, a suite of programs designed for office use, has many applications for education. I focused on Zoho notebook in that posting. Now we’ll take a look at Zoho Show.
The technology (or what are my powers?)
Currently in beta, Zoho Show is a presentation tool. You can select from a variety of themes, add text, insert clipart or your own images. You can insert video by inserting an HTML code snippet from a selected number of video sites, including YouTube.
Zoho Show does not have all the features of PowerPoint. Right now you can’t animate text and images (though it looks animations and transitions are on the way). But it’s easy to use, free, and does have a powerful feature that PowerPoint doesn’t have. Learners can collaborate to create and edit a presentation using the “Share” option on the toolbar.
An example of a Zoho Show I created about Zoho can be accessed here.
You can embed a Zoho Show on your Web site, on your blog, or in a Zoho notebook. You can also share a link as I did (since embedding’s limited in WordPress). While you can export Zoho as a PowerPoint slide or pdf, you’ll lose any of the multimedia you inserted. The biggest part of the learning curve for me when getting started on Zoho was not being able to rely on familiar keyboard shortcuts—I kept clicking “ctrl c” and “ctrl v” expecting to be able to copy and paste objects. Just right click instead and you’ll get a drop down menu allowing you to do this. For an excellent list of Zoho tips and tricks, see the Zoho FAQ Web page.
Zoho Show can be used to create presentations and like PowerPoint, its uses and misuses are primarily in the hands of the user not the tool. You don’t have to create linear presentations; you can use hyperlinks to create branching presentations and link to other Web sites. The use of bullet points is entirely in your hands. Ditto, your reliance on clipart. (However, a lot of Zoho clipart actually looks pretty good.)
Learners can use Zoho to create their own presentations and because it’s free, it’s one more way to cross the digital divide. As mentioned above, a particularly nice feature of Zoho is that you’re able to collaborate with others to edit and brainstorm a presentation. Currently, only one user can edit at a time; however, Zoho’s working on real-time collaboration for multiple users, which should make Zoho Show great for group projects.