In a recent blog post, Theron wrote "A very simple image that begs more conversation". I found Theron's post through my rss reader so initially, I saw only the title. Consequently, I expected to see a simple image (a small jpeg, gif, or other image format). At first, I could not find the image because he was not sharing a simple image but a link to the resource. I did not see the link because I first thought it was the formatted title of the post. Once I clicked on the link, I saw that I had started to download a 9.8 Megabyte pdf version of Teemu Arina's image-laden presentation at a recent conference. Despite the hardwire connection to a cable modem, I had to wait for the download.
While I waited, I followed Theron's link to his source: Stephen Downes' post about the presentation who in turn pointed to Arina's post "Missing third places of learning" about his own presentation. Arina provides links to his presentation in various forms: pdf, slideshare, mp3 and other enhancements. Since the pdf that I requested at Theron's site had still not finished downloading, I looked at the Slideshare version. It loaded quickly and I started using it before the complete pdf version arrived.
Slideshare offers several advantages beyond faster access. It provides links to individual slides within the presentation that update automatically as the viewer advances through the presentation. For example, the link
takes the browser directly to Arina's representation (a complex image) of the factory model of education. This feature improves the granularity of citation for presentations similarly to the time-code links that I described in Testing time-selected links at Google Video.
Slideshare also provides the code snippets that allow me to embed Arina's complete presentation in this post. Finally, Slideshare provides comment support at the level of individual slides. Slideshare requires users to register and login to use the comment functions in order to control comment spam but it keeps the discussion closer to the context of the presentation.
While many presenters abuse audiences with presentation software, most put substantial amounts of time and effort into planning and developing their presentations. These features of Slideshare go a long way to help them become more valuable resources for reflection and discussion as Theron, Nils and I have discussed for video ala Jim Gibbons.
Note: While I wrote this post, Theron revised his post and improved it along the lines I suggested here. We collaborate despite the distance.