Death by PowerPoint. The bane of every staff development or classroom.
The colors don’t work. There’s too much text. The text is too small. Someone went crazy with the transitions. The presenter is reading everything verbatim.
Don’t subject your students (or colleagues) to the same fate.
Designing effective presentations is hard. There are a couple of women on my team that are truly gifted graphic designers, and their presentations always look phenomenal. I’ve taken classes from them, and even masters courses on it, but I feel like I barely scrape by compared to them. So, I’m not afraid to admit that I will take all the help I can get when it comes to making my presentations look better. I use Canva to make my graphics, and I often use Microsoft Sway to create presentations that look polished.
What is Sway?
Sway is a free presentation tool from Microsoft. With Sway, all you have to do is supply the text and images. Sway does the rest and arranges the content to look sleek and professional.
Sway lets you start from scratch, a topic, or even an old PowerPoint. It will convert old presentations into Sway format, and will even pre-populate your Sway with relevant content when you start from a topic. If you need images or video, you can actually search for them without ever leaving your Sway page.
You can click a button and let Sway remix your design until you find the one you like, or you can get daring and go through the settings and customize each one. You also have the option to choose whether you want your content to scroll, like on a webpage, or just be featured one slide at a time.
Another useful feature of Sway is that each presentation you make gets its own web address. This is one of my favorite features, because it makes sharing them with students and parents much easier because you can shorten the URL or make a QR code. Not only that, but you could actually make Sway your classroom webpage and update it throughout the year…no web design knowledge required!
Below, you’ll find some presentations I’ve made using Sway, including an overview of its features:
I could go into more detail on the nitty gritty aspects, but Sway actually provides an incredibly thorough support section with videos and everything you’d ever want to know about how to use it.
Now, get out there and start creating!