Presentation Products: Software
The newest version of SMART Board software (www.smarttech.com, 888-42-SMART) for Windows and Mac operating systems makes incorporating graphics into SMART Board lessons even easier. SMART Board Software 8.1.1 includes thousands of curriculum-related images in the categories of science, math, geography, history, technology and animals. The new "Gallery" allows teachers to group like images for easier retrieval, and they can also group templates with like clip-art images. New functional features include screen shade and spotlight functions, which allow teachers to hide part of the material on the whiteboard while highlighting other material. All of these features are in addition to SMART Board software's functions that allow teachers to control the board by touch, write over applications and record activity.
Designed to bridge the gap between data analysis and visual presentation, Xcelsius 3.0 by Infommersion Inc. (www.infommersion.com) offers teachers and students a new way to present data. Xcelsius essentially converts data from Excel spreadsheets into Flash-based interactive reports and Internet applications. Version 3.0 supports the newer functions of Excel 2003, including the use of XML, which lets users create and share formatted information over the Web or any network. This means that Xcelsius users can share and present data in real time. Available in both standard and professional editions, the software also allows users to export to PowerPoint or Outlook with a single click.
Instant Effects (www.instanteffects.com) has created OfficeFX, a software program that allows users to transform standard PowerPoint slides into rich multimedia presentations. With just a few clicks, OfficeFX creates multimedia presentations complete with 3-D backgrounds and foregrounds, realistic shading and lighting, interactive behavior, and transitions. The average student or teacher can easily create these interactive presentations by selecting an FXTheme - an interactive layered environment that transforms and envelopes user's content. OfficeFX currently contains more than a dozen themes to choose from, but with a complimentary software development kit from Instant Effects, users can create FXThemes for their own use or for sale on the open market.
This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.