Office Mix: PowerPoint to online lesson

I don’t have Office 2013 to try it out, but it sounds like this free plug-in has a lot of potential to easily create elearning content. I’m not sure how interactive it would actual be, or if it’s just a glorified webcast. Still I’m cautiously optimistic. It’s marketed toward the K-12 demographic, but I’ll be interested to see if it’s picked up by the broader elearning coterie. P.S. It even has limited support for iOS devices and they claim that the full interactive experience will be available soon.


Gamer Wedding – Recap

In my original post about how my husband and I had a gamer wedding I promised to upload more photos and video. Well here you go! I made a series of three videos to showcase our wedding (don’t worry, the longest is only 5 minutes). They took me a while to finish, but I wanted them to have a high production quality. I had fun making them and got to learn/practice a variety of skills. You can watch them in any order since they all begin with a 10 second intro that provides context.

Tools that I used

  • Gimp: Photo editing, resizing, recolor
  • Inkscape: Create the “Couples that play together stay together” logo.
  • PowerPoint: Believe it or not, I created the majority of the videos using PowerPoint animations. With 2010 you can just save it as a .wmv file, including sound and animation.
  • Audacity: I haven’t done much with audio editing before, so it was fun to learn a few tricks. The most complicated part was the timing for the slideshow of games in part 1.
  • Windows Movie Maker: I used it because it’s free. Definitely not the most robust tool for video editing, and it suffers from some annoying usability problems, but it got the job done for the right price.

I’d love to hear your comments, both on the quality of the videos and on our geeky gamer theme.

Presentations playing dress-up

Suited up.

Suited up. (Photo credit: ianmunroe)
This kid actually pulls it off well.

I saw a talk today that suffered from too much ‘pretty’ and not enough content. It reminded me of little kids playing dress-up. They’re wearing the fancy clothes, but  they sleeves and pants are too long and end up looking silly. If you slap a bunch of fancy typesetting and animation on a presentation that doesn’t really say anything. Your audience will spot it. It’s better to have something that’s not perfectly polished visually as long as the content is solid. You need to have a story, entice your audience into following you through it, and then deliver it confidently.

Having a pretty slide deck can help make your presentation more memorable, but if all you have are pretty slides then your audience will still forget you by the next day.

Gamer wedding design

I’ve been absent from posting for a while as I prepared for my wedding (which just occurred on 2/16). I’m happy to share some of the designs I created as part of my wedding planning. My husband Paul and I share a video game hobby, so that was the theme of our reception. The first step was the invitations.


Beary-White Wedding Invitations

We choose 13 games that were most memorable for us as a couple and included them on the front side of the invitations with descriptions of what they signified for us. Our wedding colors were purple and green, hence the color scheme of the invites. All characters are the copyright/trademark/property of their respective studios and game companies. See the full-size front side and back side of the invitations.

Gamer Vows

We wrote our own ceremony and my older brother, Wes, officiated for us. For the most part it was a standard ceremony, but in keeping with our theme we wanted to add a gamer vow. We did it similar to a traditional marriage vow, where the officiant reads it piecewise and the couple repeats it. Paul and I came up with the general themes and I wrote the final version. Here it is in its entirety:

I promise to be your faithful co-op partner for life, in low level and high, whether noob or l33t, regardless of lag, downed servers, or loss of internet. I promise to celebrate your achievements as if they were my own and to openly share my loot with you. I swear to stand by you when your K/D spread is negative and to always help you achieve 100% map completion. I will not grow angry when your character is higher level than mine, because I know in time we will reach the level cap together. I will wait with you for the midnight release of the next summer blockbuster, no matter how long the line, and I promise to always pre-order a second copy of PC games so we can play the online co-op. I swear to never forsake you from my party, nor to quit in rage. From this day forward, my game library is yours, and together we’ll share one hard drive, on this game system, and on every system to come.

Reception Presentation

Our venue provided a digital projector for us to use free of charge, so I decided to create a PowerPoint presentation that gave some more background on us (the bride and groom) and explained the video game references in the invitations. I took out a few of the slides that mentioned personal details about us, but wanted to post the slides I made about each game. They include the same description from the invitation and then an explanation and cartoon image that I drew using autoshapes (except for the Terran and Protoss symbols which I found on elrondsmith‘s Deviant Art page).

Reviewing my work, my favorite part is the documentary-style intro for each game and then the animations I made to accompany my autoshape art. Using PowerPoint 2010 I converted it to a video which you can watch below.

Other Reception Details

For our table centerpieces we bought video game action figures and statues. My other brother, Morgan, created an amazing Halo set piece for us. Paul and I like to team up on a warthog in online multiplayer and usually rack up a pretty good score for our team in Big Team Slayer. The set piece has a warthog with spartan groom driving (complete with tux jacket) and spartan bride on the turret (with white lace skirt). He also added a just married sign and little tin cans hanging off the rear bumper. It was an amazing piece of art (he also made a Halo ring to hang above the ground scene, and there was EL wire included to make it all glow) and I can’t wait to get our photos back from our wedding photographer.

Speaking of photos, I’ll do a follow-up post with images of the centerpiece, set piece, and possibly a video of us saying our gamer vows once we get all of those things. The photos will take 4-8 weeks, so don’t get overly excited yet. Thanks to everyone who made the trip up to Wisconsin to see us! We had a wonderful time and are lucky to have you all in our lives!