Updated: Analytic Overlays

On thing that classrooms and audiences everywhere love about the SlideKlowd platform is watching interaction results come in on the big screen. Real-time results are a crowd pleaser- an informative one. Educators love using this feature to make a point or to figure out what their students want or happen to believe.

Because this feature is so popular, we decided to redesign the overlays- to make them larger, give them some new colors and while we were at it, animate them. And we couldn’t be happier with the results. Originally, the analytic overlay was located in the top right corner of the Presenter Screen. But research and experience indicated that for large classrooms and auditoriums, it would be necessary to just fill the screen up. Which we did. Here’s a preview of just a couple of the changes we made:

The EQ Sliders graph:

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.24.12 AMLikert Scales:

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.47.43 AM


That’s only a couple of the changes we made to the overlays. We have also expanded the question overlay to be a full-screen overlay as well.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 2.42.58 PMSometimes, it’s amazing what a simple change can make a huge difference. The kind of difference visible even from the back of an auditorium.




Introducing: The Presenter Screen

Few things are worse than starting a lecture with a fight with the projector or display, or trying to manage unwieldy technology while also working to keep students focused. So, we’ve added a new presentation view in order to make connecting to a projector easier as well as to simplify the presentation controls and process.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 10.48.52 AM

Everything in one view

The Presenter Screen has combined the basic navigation and display controls from the Presentation Control Panel with the Projector Screen view. This single view makes connecting to a projector screen easier, as there’s only one browser window to worry about. It also simplifies lecture because professors and students see the same thing.

Hidden Controls, Hotkeys and Everything is Clickable

Navigation and display controls are temporarily displayed after the Presenter Screen is initially launched. After seven seconds, they fade out of view. They’re accessible again using hotspots in the screen. A simple move of the cursor near the bottom right corner of the Presenter Screen reveals the controls again. Basic Presentation information (Current time, Presentation time and Attendance) is available near the bottom left corner of the Presenter Screen. Move the cursor away and the controls and information fade back out of view.

Standard PowerPoint presentation keys also work on the Presenter Screen. Advance slides using the spacebar, Enter key and arrows, display interaction results all with the click of a key or any standard clicker. If teachers prefer, they have the option to advance slides simply by clicking on the Presenter Screen. Educators also have the option to automatically display interaction results as they go, giving them one less thing to think about.

The new Presenter Screen pushes the SlideKlowd technology to the background, enabling educators to focus on their material, while still recording all of the same useful information that educators need from their students during lecture.

Interested in using SlideKlowd in your classroom? Click for more information!

Feature Update: Notes

We’re always striving to improve the SlideKlowd platform and make it easier to use- particularly in the classroom: for educators as well as students. We recently rolled out an update to one of our oldest features, making it a billion times more useful.

Now, when a user wants to take notes during a presentation, clicking the notes icon (the pencil) triggers a drawer to pop out on the left side of the screen. The functionality mirrors the comment stream, which slides out from the right edge of the user’s screen. As a user takes notes, they display in descending order (most recent notes at the top).

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 11.26.30 AMWhen enabled by the presenter, each note taken by a user will have a thumbnail of the slide on which the note was taken displayed with it. The user has the ability to hide these or reveal them by clicking the icon to the left of the slide. If the user wants to see every slide that has been displayed during a presentation, all they have to do is click the timeline icon at the top of the notes container. This new view can be made available in the presentation settings. If the presenter chooses to skip a slide or display them in an order other than how the presentation was created, this is accurately reflected in the timeline (Ex: Slides 1, 2, 10, 6, 8 would display if the presenter skipped around like that).

Clicking the pencil icon to the left of the notes allows users to make edits to previously saved notes.

Pinned Notes
Even though they’re getting huger than huge, mobile devices still don’t offer a ton of real estate to accommodate slides, overlays and menus, but one new addition to notes is an option for the user to “pin” the notes drawer open. Clicking the pin icon does two things: it enables users to complete interactions, ask questions and open the comment stream while keeping the notes container open. It also resizes whatever slide is on display, allowing for the whole thing to be seen instead of the notes drawer covering part of it. This feature is implemented for devices with screen that are at least 1024 pixels wide.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 11.20.29 AM

Emailed Notes and Slides
Prior to this update, when a user wanted to view notes from a presentation after it had been stopped, they had to go back and log in to the SlideKlowd platform. Now, each user is emailed a link to a page containing their notes. They can print this page, copy and paste into a document, or just save it for later reference. If the presenter desires, their slides will also be emailed to users. This feature will benefit students in particular as their notes and lecture slides will be easily accessible.

Have any questions about using the SlideKlowd platform in your classroom? Visit the Slideklowd website or contact us for more information. Follow us on Twitter to stay in the know about new features on their way soon!

What Educators are Looking for in 2015


The people over at SmartBlog on Education polled their readers last month, inquiring about their ed-tech priorities for 2015. SmartBlog on Education’s readership consists primarily of teachers and administrators- those who are either in the classroom or who are making decisions affecting students and teachers. The main purpose of the study was to discover what the writers at SmartBlog should be researching and sharing with the education world, but the results are telling- they demonstrate the needs and desires of the education community.

85 percent of the respondents indicated that their biggest priority is finding tools that help them in the classroom. Results indicated that interactive tools were among the most desired, including downloadable apps. Cloud computing and technology found in the flipped classroom were included in that statistic.

Teachers are asking for technology that has the power make their classrooms more interactive. The desire is to make lecture more participatory in order to help students ask questions and make comments at relevant times while maintaining order in the classroom. Professors want students to take an active role in their own education, starting in the classroom.

Another part of the survey worth consideration was that 88 percent of the respondents indicated that they wanted to read stories that include feedback from students. That is, they wanted articles about products, services and methods that included student thoughts and feelings on the subjects covered.

What then, can be inferred about the people who are teaching our children and college students? First, that they want them to participate more in the learning process. Second, that teachers and professors don’t want to waste time or money on technology that students aren’t going to use. Third, educators care about what students think.

It’s with these three points in mind that educators and administrators need to consider their investment technology. They need to look for something that enables students to engage, that students will actually want to use and that will help teachers know what their students are thinking. We would like to posit that SlideKlowd is the tool that educators have been searching for.

Participation: Teachers can get students involved in lecture by embedding questions throughout a lesson. All they have to do is upload their PowerPoint or Keynote slides to the platform and begin adding multiple choice, text response, true or false interactions to slides where appropriate. Students are able to complete these interactions when they display on web-enabled devices.

Useful Technology: The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend made its way to the classroom years ago and is predicted to continue to grow in the coming years. The SlideKlowd platform pushes the slides teachers created (and uploaded to SlideKlowd) to student devices for a second-screen experience. Students are also able to complete the aforementioned interactions using their own devices. This is true for smartphones, tablets and laptops. A couple of benefits to students bringing in their own technology include immediate familiarity with the devices students use at home anyway and lower costs to school districts (This is even true where schools cover costs for students lacking these tools).


Understand Student Thinking: SlideKlowd records all kinds of information, including where in a point a student joined a presentation, all of their questions, every comment and interaction responses (failing to complete an interaction is also recorded). The platform also records every instance that a student disengages from the slides. Disengagement happens when a student opens a new tab or window in their browser, begins texting or playing a game on their phone, or if the device goes into sleep mode due to a lack of interaction. Teachers can view this information as it happens, or examine it later, in the presentation analytics. Patterns tend to emerge, pointing to lulls in the lecture, content that didn’t interest students or other possible distractions.

In meeting teachers’ needs, the SlideKlowd platform helps students, too. The benefit to enabling students to participate, using their own web-enabled technology is that they’re using familiar tools to take a more active role in lecture, to the effect of helping them learn more. While this is happening, teachers receive instantaneous feedback from every student in the room, in an understandable way. When educators know that their students are engaging in their lectures, or have an idea of what general sentiments are taking place in the classroom, they have the chance to respond and continue doing what works, or make a few changes when necessary.

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about the SlideKlowd platform for your classroom.

* Photo by Brad Flickinger
* Photo by KentISD

Mission Accomplished

After a lecture or presentation, we’ve all asked ourselves, “How did that go?” We can make vague evaluations about it based on our performance and even outward audience responses, but those aren’t really measurable. Frankly, if you judge your success on something like your audience’s faces, you’ll likely walk away from your presentation feeling like a failure. As the presenter, educator or speaker, the SlideKlowd platform offers you a great way to validate that you accomplished what you wanted to.

Before you even begin, you need to know what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to change behavior? Transfer knowledge? Win people over to your opinion? There are a thousand possibilities as to why you’re doing what you do. Here are three examples of how the SlideKlowd platform can help you know that you did your job:

1- Change in Behavior: Is your goal to get people to start recycling? To get out and vote? Exercise or to eat more healthy foods? The assumption is that you’re speaking because they are not doing what you want them to. So end with a poll. A closing statement may look like, “Now that you know all of this life-changing, earth-shattering information, will you ________?” (Hint: this is actually your call to action, too.)

Use any number of the SlideKlowd platform interactions to gather the audience response (based on the kind of question you asked).

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 11.58.33 AM

Survey says:

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 12.04.56 PM

If getting homework done was a problem, then it seems that you were successfully persuasive in your speech.

2- Participation: The SlideKlowd platform records the point at which each user joins a presentation, if they leave it and any interaction that takes place during a presentation, proving that your audience or class participated. Some of this information is immediately available in the Presentation Control Panel’s Pres-Alytics and Side-Alytics or all of it can be viewed later in the presentation’s analytics.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 12.18.57 PM


All of these users joined the presentation right away.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 12.19.10 PM

Maybe some of these users were distracting each other.

3- Knowledge Transfer: Quiz your audience throughout your presentation with SlideKlowd’s interaction options to make sure everyone is getting the information they need. This might be best as a break after a particularly intense amount of information. This could look like, “Just to make sure that you got all of that information, we’re going to take a little quiz.” Ask a few questions, let the class or audience respond then move on if they got it. Review if they need a little more help. This helps to maximize the passing on of valuable information.

A note to event planners: this is great for making sure your keynote or workshop speakers accomplish what you want them to. Just tell them ahead of time what your goals are, then look at the information after they present to know that your event was a success!

Drop the Mic- And Other Ways to End Your Presentation Well


The last few minutes of your presentation are some of the most important. The final things you say and the way you make your exit will have a significant impact on peoples’ perception of you as a speaker, even to the point of redeeming you from a rocky start. So, here are a few things to keep in mind when writing, practicing and finally, finishing your presentation.

Things to do…

1-Bring it Back- Revisit your opening statement. It leaves the audience feeling like you wrapped everything up and slapped a bow on top. This works particularly well if you used a story for your opener- even better if that story has a evocative point or conclusion.

2- Repeat- Reiterate the main points of your presentation. With SlideKlowd, you can easily revisit slides containing main points or poll and interaction results to support your conclusion.

3- Drop the Mic (Figuratively, not literally)- Basically, very few people are cool enough to get away with literally dropping the mic- on the floor- so don’t do it. But if you know that you killed it during a presentation, it’s better to acknowledge your success than to feign humility.


(Also? You should avoid awkwardly large face-microphones.
They look dumb and you are not Brittany Spears.)

4- Call to Action- You’ve just informed the people. Now tell them what to do with their newfound knowledge. If you’re a teacher, believe it or not, this is the time to introduce homework. “And now, you will write a paper explaining why we absolutely detest the Oxford Comma, due beginning of class, Thursday!”

You should Never…

1- End with Q&A- If you want to hear from your audience, let them ask questions and make comments from the start. The SlideKlowd platform enables users to ask questions and share their thoughts throughout a presentation, allowing the speaker to acknowledge and answer them at the right time or ignore them entirely.


2- Fade Out- Weak endings are the worst because nobody likes to watch a human deflate on stage then whimper away. Good presenters build to the end of their presentations and end on a strong note.

3- End Suddenly- Announce your conclusion. Telling an audience that you’re nearly done does two things: it energizes them and if they’re well-trained listeners, they’ll ready themselves for your call to action. Don’t surprise them with it, because that’s just annoying and ineffective.

4- End Late- You were given 45 minutes to present? It’s a thousand times better to be done in 40 minutes than it is 50. Seriously. People have schedules and always seem to be thinking about their next meal and if you’re over on time, they’ll likely be annoyed (and possibly hangry) enough to ignore your conclusion altogether. The smart ones will walk out on you. Harsh? Maybe. The SlideKlowd platform counts and displays the amount of time you’ve spent on each slide, as well as how long you’ve been going, to help keep you in check and end on time.

The SlideKlowd platform helps presenters kill it every time- earning the right to drop the mic. The SlideKlowd platform offers second-screen technology, polls and interactions, social connectivity and amazing analytics (and more) to help professors, CEOs and your average Joe see how their presentations, lectures or pitches went. Contact us if you’re interested in using the platform in your next presentation!

*Photo by ImagineCup: https://www.flickr.com/photos/imaginecup/
*Photo by Matt Cornock: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattcornock/

Design for All the Screens


Do you use a flash drive anymore? Do any of us? Sure, they’re convenient when we’ve wandered away from wifi and decent cell reception- when we’re in the middle of nowhere, lost in some dark forest. Cloud technology has basically freed us from carrying around physical storage devices, which is nice.

It has also made things like presentations and other documents available to nearly anything that has an internet connection and a screen. As a teacher, speaker, presenter and SlideKlowd user, this leaves you with the responsibility to design your content to work on all screens, large and small. Fortunately, many of the design ideas that work for the little screen, also apply to the big one.

7 Points to Designing Your Presentation for Any Screen

1-  Simple Backgrounds- Ever lose sight of information on the screen at the front of the room because the genius who designed the presentation chose some crazy picture for the background? That will still happen on a smaller screen. Even the bigger-than-big iPhone6+ or any of those other larger than life phablets. If your slide has text, put it on something simple.

2-  Negative Space- Sounds like a good place to talk smack or throw a tantrum, doesn’t it? “Excuse me, I need to go to my negative space for awhile.”

This design concept was co-opted from photography long ago. Negative space is choosing to frame the subject of an image in such a way that it only occupies a portion of the available space. Choose images that have plenty of this, then place your text in the negative space.


3-  Large Text- In most cases, the information on your slides is more important than the image behind it. Unless you’re a photographer or an artist. But how many photographers or artists are giving presentations? Just kidding, you all need to show your stuff off too. But seriously, if you’re putting text on a slide, let it fill up the screen to be more easily read.

4-  Clean Fonts- Don’t be fancy. Choose something simple without decorative clutter for your presentation. Even choose the dreaded Comic Sans over something with swirls and curves all over the place. Your audience will secretly make fun of you, but at least they’ll be able to read your slides, which is most important.


5-  Don’t be Too Wordy- Speak as much as you want or need to. But don’t put all of your information on one slide for three reasons: First, every added word takes up more space, requiring smaller type in order to fit it all. Second, as the presenter, you’ll end up reading your slides to your audience. Third, if you don’t read your slides verbatim, then you’ll be competing with them for your audience’s attention. Your slides are there to serve you, not steal the show.

6-  Contrast- Make the important things pop off the page. Use color or avoid it in order to make this work. Just don’t put white text on a light gray background, blue text on a black background or everyone in the room will hate you. Hate is a strong word- they’ll think you’re incompetent.

7-  Be Careful With the Charts- This goes hand-in-hand with the size and amount of text. Put charts on a solid background as much as possible. Keep them simple. If possible, break them into different parts if you must convey a lot of information.


SlideKlowd is the second-screen platform that pushes presentations to user devices, including laptops, tablets and smart phones using cloud technology. With SlideKlowd, you don’t have to carry around a flash drive or email everyone your slides before or after your presentation. SlideKlowd helps presenters and audiences engage like never before using interactions, questions, comments and social media. Using SlideKlowd and designing your presentation for all the screens it’ll be seen on will make you look good in the boardroom, classroom, meeting hall or wherever you’re speaking.

*Photo by Amsterdam Printing: https://www.flickr.com/photos/amsterdamprinting/
*Photo by Ingrid Eulenfan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eulenfan/

People We Like: Chad Kaydo at The X Letter

chadkaydoChad Kaydo (@ChadKaydo) writes The X Letter, an email and website about experiences, brands, and culture, and hosts Xembly, a cocktails-and-speakers series for creative professionals who are passionate about compelling live experiences.

Chad speaks frequently about event marketing trends. He also consults with brands looking to keep their events fresh and relevant, and advises companies looking to connect with event professionals.

As the first editor in chief of BizBash, Chad helped launch and build the leading magazine and website for the event industry, overseeing BizBash’s print, digital, and social media content until March 2013. He now writes a biweekly column for BizBash.com. He has interviewed the most innovative event marketers, producers, designers, and vendors working today.

Chad also writes about culture, fashion, and travel for various magazines and websites. He earned degrees in journalism and English at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and now lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with a black standard poodle called Rhonda.

We recently asked Chad a few questions: 

How do you serve your clients?  I have different types of clients now, but since I’ve spent most of my career as a journalist, I usually think of readers first. Hopefully I serve them with relevant, inspiring information and a unique point of view. I try to find smart, talented people and innovative work to share, and then put them in the context of larger trends.

That information goes in the email, website, and trend reports I publish for my own brand, The X Letter; in my column for BizBash; and in my stories for other magazines. I also ask some of those inspiring people to talk at my cocktails-and-event series, Xembly. And all of that work informs the speaking and consulting I do.

Who are your clients?  My readers come from across the world of live events and experiences, and—increasingly, to my surprise—from across the world. My speaking and consulting clients are mostly corporate planners or brand strategists, along with some companies looking to connect with event professionals.

What has been one of your biggest business successes to date and why?  I was part of the original launch team at BizBash, and seeing it grow to become an industry stalwart was enormously rewarding. I remember calling people during my first summer there, before we launched the site, trying to explain why they should let me come to their parties. Years later, when I’d call and say, “I’m from BizBash,” and people would respond, “Oh, I love BizBash!”—that was cool.

More recently, at my first Xembly event—which I thought would be a gathering of my industry friends—I loved when people I had never met before told me how inspiring they found the talks.

What are you passionate about?  The programming of live experiences, and how people interact as individuals inside a group. Also, more simply: good parties. Also modern and contemporary fiction, theater, and film. Cheeseburgers. Bourbon. Fleetwood Mac.

What do you read?  For better or worse, Twitter first. Also all kinds of blogs and news sites about culture, business, design, tech, fashion, food, etc. The New York Times, mostly in digital forms. (I love the NYTNow app.) Still some print magazines too. (Fast Company and Wired are great online and in print.) Novels when I get to them. (My book club helps.)

Why should someone follow you on Twitter?  I tweet what I’m reading, writing, and thinking about live events and experiences, and how the broader culture influences them. And pictures of my standard poodle, Rhonda.

Who do you like?  People who make great, unique, inspiring work and are also genuinely nice people. People who work hard but are generous with their time to help others. People who will sit and have lunch or a drink and tell you how it really is.

A handful of those people: designer David Beahm, planner Marcy Blum, caterer Carla Ruben, trend watcher Irma Zandl, product strategist Farrah Bostic, Melanie Altarescu at Wired, Kim Last at Fast Company.

Also Meryl Streep.

Be sure to check out The X Letter and follow Chad on Twitter!

What is Engagement?


The Oxford Dictionary adds new words to its pages every month. Keeping up with the publication can be an exercise in frustration or entertainment, depending on how much of a wordy you might be. Just last month, humblebrag, binge-watch, amazeballs and similarly recent words found recognition at the hands of the Oxford Dictionary’s editors. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 11.50.28 AM

The thing about dictionaries is that yes, they set out definitions for users to look up, but that’s secondary- the initial objective for the likes of Oxford or Webster is to track word usage. Words come in and out of use all the time. And some words’ meaning changes over a period of centuries.

One of those words is Engagement. A look at the word’s etymology shows us this word emerged from 15th century French and originally meant “To bind” as in oath, or promise. Basically, we’re looking at a marriage engagement. Later, we see that the word was used for machinery-use and even entering into combat. It’s through these uses that we eventually arrived at phrases like, “engaged in conversation”.

As a term that’s constantly used in communication and event circles, we have to ask, what is engagement?

Let’s start with a couple of things that engagement is not.

Engagement is not necessarily filling seats. People can show up and completely check out. Some of us did this our freshman year at university and may or may not have suffered as a result.

It’s also not as simple as getting someone’s email address or other information. How often do we sign up for something and when the emails show up, we delete 90 percent of them?

If engagement is more than showing or signing up, what else do we need to consider?

First, it depends on who’s involved. Is a television show trying to engage viewers? Is a football program attempting to engage people in the stands? Does an artist want viewers to consider her work? Is a presenter trying to get everyone in the room involved?

Second, we have to ask what does engagement look like? Is it some kind of action? Conversation? Or is it just getting people to look away from their phones and listen long enough to gain some new information?

We would say that engagement is the mutual contribution of each party in an interaction to the benefit of all parties involved, whatever the event may be. If a television network is one party and viewers the other, then the people watching a show should be entertained to the benefit of a network getting higher ratings and more money for its advertising. Each party gains something meaningful. (By the way, The Walking Dead is KILLING it with their audience engagement…)

So that leaves us with just one more question:

What can you give to your audience (class, coworkers, potential clients) to make their experience better and gain what you need?

SlideKlowd helps presenters place their content in their audience’s hands. The platform provides a means for those who are listening to speak up, which is invaluable in so many situations. It helps the presenter, teacher or speaker to give everything they need to in an effective way. The platform also collects information by storing responses, questions and comments. It even offers analytics to help you understand how well you engaged your audience. SlideKlowd helps the people on either side of a presentation get what they need. SlideKlowd is the engagement tool that university professors, political candidates and so many others are using to engage their audiences in a meaningful way.

It’s a good thing that audience engagement doesn’t have to involve romance or war, but no matter how you define it, you and your audience both want it and SlideKlowd can be the tool to help you create it.

*Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: