The Constant Change of Technology or The Death of SlideRocket

Technology is constantly changing.  I do my best to have options and have a plan for when services are no longer available. I try to walk the middle ground on the technology “vs” arguments – focusing on the benefits of each side.

So, I am struggling with my grief over the loss of SlideRocket.

SlideRocket is/was a presentation option which was recently bought by ClearSlide. I assume that the presentation tools will be integrated into ClearSlides sales presentation options, but I am not in sales.  I am in education. And while I tried to sign-up for free trial to see if I could still access the presentation tool – perhaps I just needed to pay, I was informed that a salesperson would be contacting me.  I have yet to hear from Samantha.  I guess they don’t want to waste their time with educational institutions.

I have been searching for a replacement – which I have to find before December 2013. There are many presentation software/cloudware options available, but I have yet to find one that works as well as SlideRocket. In trying to pinpoint what it was that made SlideRocket AMAZING, I can’t narrow it down to one specific thing. I think it is the combination that was brought together so beautifully to create this tool.  So here is a list of the things that I wish I could find in one solution.

Not a Copy of Your Average Presentation Software

Creating a SlideRocket presentation was different. The tools were within easy access and yet had powerful options. There was an ease that came with inserting images, shapes and text. With little effort you had access to impressive design tools.

Collaboration

No, emailing large files back and forth or tracking the most recent version in cloud storage. It was easy to add additional people to collaborate on the presentation.  While same time collaboration was not as slick as GoogleDocs, with a little coordination each person could do their portion of the presentation.

Sharing

In addition to the ability to collaborate, it was easy to share the presentation via a link. You could also use the permissions to add a password, collect emails and names and manage the ability to download, share, embed or print.

Faculty could add the same presentation link in several classes, but only had to update it in one place.  No need to worry about uploading large files into the learning management system (lms).  No need to worry about extra software.  No need to worry about access across devices – more on that below.

Adding Audio

The ability to upload audio files or to record directly into SlideRocket was one of the major selling points to our faculty. All other options that I have found thus far, have obstacles in terms of large file sizes, high learning curve or additional hurdles for the students.  It was also possible to record one slide at a time, with the ability to time the animations. Many of the other options available require you to record the entire presentation.  So updating the one slide in the middle becomes more time consuming than it needs to be.

Flash and HTML5

Another key component for faculty in using SlideRocket was the early availability of either flash or HTML5.  This made the presentations accessible across many devices.

Analytics

The analytics in SlideRocket turned out to be wonderful for faculty. It was easy to see who was accessing the presentation and when.  In addition you could see the average time spent on each slide.

Commenting

If enabled, any viewer could add comments to any of the slides.  Great tool for providing detailed feedback on student presentations.

Questions

It was easy to add a learning check or allow viewers to provide feedback to the presenter.  While the answers did not sync with the lms they were still useful and easy to access.

Design

The design factors in SlideRocket were easily accessible.  The available templates made you feel like you could create something amazing. And I loved how all the templates were created as models, to help everyone make great presentations. I have seen some of this in other solutions, but not to the extent of SlideRocket.  And I know that many of the design things I could do in SlideRocket I could also do in your basic presentation software, but for some reason it felt easier in SlideRocket.

New Tool Suggestions?

At this point it comes down to prioritizing and deciding what we can do without. I would have to say that the ability to easily add audio and access through the lms are at the top of the list. As I’m looking for solutions, I’m open to your suggestions…

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28 Responses to The Constant Change of Technology or The Death of SlideRocket

  1. I too am very disappointed to see SlideRocket acquired and integrated into a package focused on sales processes. It is a great stand alone product and ClearSlide’s firing of educational accounts and other language is a bad omen for the product.

  2. Anonymous says:

    http://slid.es

  3. DMZ says:

    Yes it is very sad to hear about sliderocket. I have sent emails to the CEO and head of marketing to see if there could be a “light version of clearslide which would essentially be slide rocket with minimal support so that it would not take away from their enterprise users. Needless to say no reply.If someone hears of a suitable substitute, please feel free to post.

    • lckidder says:

      DMZ – I too contacted the company. It did take several tries and final a rather pointed email before I actually talked to a person. The salesperson had not even seen sliderocket and was too excited to tell me about clearslide. It does not look like there is going to an individual option to access sliderocket.

    • Sultana says:

      I did (after a few weeks of trying) connect with a Clear channel rep. The cost is about $3,000 a year. Not worth it for what I need (also for education). I was happy see that Prezi has made it much easier to work their site but I am still looking for something like Sliderocket.

    • Kidsfirst13 says:

      I did talk with a sales person at Clearslide who told me the monthly fee was around $500 but they had a nonprofit fee of $250/month. I told him I doubted they would have many nonprofits switching at that price.

  4. Pat Hairston says:

    I too feel your pain. We are small nonprofit and Sliderocket was a great tool for presentations at various locations. We don’t need the bells and whistles of a sales tool and google docs is not useful for presentations. The one reference slid.es is private unless a monthly fee is charged. Going to look into Prezi

    • Kidsfirst13 says:

      I was underwhelmed by Prezi. Too cute and not straightforward like Sliderocket was.

  5. carole990 says:

    Hi ! If you looking for an alternative, you should have a look on EWC Presenter.
    It’s a free tool and they always plan to have a free plan available, additionally to the premium plan which running out soon.
    It allows you to create any kind of interactive content (presentation, add banners, CV, animations and so forth) in HTML5 or Jpeg /PDF. Many functions useful such as the possibility to embed your presentation directly on your website or blog. Hopefully that can help !

    • lckidder says:

      carole990,
      Thank you for the suggestion that does look like a great tool. I do like the ease of the creation tools! Looks like audio and video can only be added using a url. For me that is not a big deal, but for my faculty that will not work. There is a variety of shapes, icons and even infographics that you can add to your presentation. The animation is very slick and easy too! I wasn’t able to see where they state that they plan to have a free option, but things are still in beta – definitely a tool to watch.

      • Payman Taei says:

        Hi Lisa. I’m the founder of EWC Presenter; Loved your article and how your pointing out the Pros and cons of Slide Rocket. As noted by the prior user carole, although Presenter is in Beta we’ve come a long way in the last 6 months and we have a lot of great tools/improvements rolling out in next couple months (near when SlideRocket ends). So definitely keep an eye for our App as by early 2014 you will find it a great asset and likely a replacement to SlideRocket.

        The App is free and we’ll have a paid version as well for those who want to get some extras. We also love user feedback so make sure to use our Feedback within the App to send requests or concerns. We stay on top of things.

      • lckidder says:

        Payman Taei, Thank you for joining the conversation. I have added some of my suggestions I’d like to see in the Feedback.

        I will definitely be watching to see how things develop, I see some amazing potential. As you grow keep Educators in mind. We are constantly looking for tools to support learning and while your company is focused on the web development side of things with more and more education moving online, easy web development is needed. And as educators use your tools in their courses they will share their amazing experiences with other educators and their students.

      • Kidsfirst13 says:

        It’s the ability to upload a file from an existing powerpoint that I am looking for. It doesn’t look like Presentation has that capability.

  6. Caya says:

    I’m part of the slidebean.com team, a new presentation tool with a different approach to the whole process. We’d love to hear your thoughts and find out if you find it as a worthy replacement.

    • lckidder says:

      Caya,

      Thank you for pointing me to Slidebean. With the end of the semester craziness that always happens, I was unable to check it out until today.

      I am excited to see where Slidebean goes. With it still in beta, I know there will be some exciting changes and improvements ahead.

      First, I must say that I LOVE the “focus on the content” frame of mind that Slidebean uses. This may be a bit different for some people, but the idea of here is my stuff, now make it “pretty,” is neat. I’m looking forward to seeing the templates that get added.

      I can see Slidebean being great for presentations that need to be “thrown together” quickly and presented in person. Which is what Slidebean was built to do – create presentations quickly.

      As I support online educators, Slidebean would not work for many of them. The main feature they are looking for is a way to add audio to the slides so that students can view the presentations online without a live presenter. I will say that the presentations uploaded and played wonderfully in our learning management system (Moodle).

      I see a place for Slidebean for classroom or conference presentations. The tool was easy to use, the templates are clean and offer some variation in color and layout options.

      • Kidsfirst13 says:

        Looks interesting but it is still not offering the capability to upload an existing powerpoint presentation. Any one know of a program that allows that?

  7. Jim says:

    Found this post and thread when searching for ‘replacement for SlideRocket.’ Glad to hear I’m not the only one mourning and looking for an alternative. I work at a nonprofit (<10 FTE), so we have a small budget that would allow for licensing of an online tool (either single or small-pack licensing would be desirable).

    I've used Prezi also, but find the process of building a presentation less than intuitive, plus I'm hearing attendees of workshops (where we see Prezi increasingly in use) are tiring of all the 'spinning, zooming and panning' motion. Like with any presentation tool, it's the speaker who can make the content sizzle, and the rest of it is just icing, right?

    Happy to hear about EWC Presenter and SlideBean, so I'll check those out.

    I'll be looking in particular for pre-designed templates and layouts that are clean, don't feel like PowerPoint and offer the ability to easily embed various media types via URL and feature both "presenter hits play" controls and auto-play. Also looking for flexibility — where a presentation can be viewed online or downloaded and used offline in those situations where our staff don't have network access (which is often the case in rural parts of our state).

    • lckidder says:

      Jim,

      I would have to agree that it really is the presenter that should have center stage in the presentation. That being said, I do think that a bad, tired looking presentation can be distracting and take away from even the best of presenters.

      Based on the description of what you need, I would suggest Slidebean. They are still in early beta so there are a few hiccups and not all the options are available – but the sharing and download options worked well.

  8. jenna says:

    Thanks for this helpful discussion and suggestions. Does anyone know if my current sliderocket presentations are just “gone” in the near future? And do you know if there is a way to save them to another format? I put a lot of work into creating them. Do I need to manually copy the content into another format? I hope not!! Thanks

    • lckidder says:

      For the EDU accounts, there was a notification that the accounts would be closed on 12/31/13. There are several ways to export the presentations – pdf, ppt (no audio), packaged SlideRocket presentations. I know I spent a day just downloading and saving all my work.

      If you still have access to your account there is information about saving your presentations on http://www.sliderocket.com/blog/2013/10/integration-progress/

  9. Thomas Frank says:

    I love SlideRocket and am really bummed no one from ClearSlide will get back in touch about a new account NOR can i find any other tool that offers the same features I got use to on SlideRocket. Slidebean is just not as robust as I need and EWC Presenter looked too simplistic in nature. What I really need is a tool that allows a lot of customization and then like SlideRocket, allows you to upload or download as Powerpoint, when needed. Would love to hear if anyone has found other tools. Looking into SlideCapitain and Slide.es but don’t know much about them. Any advice?

    • Kidsfirst13 says:

      Ditto. I too am looking for the upload/download from Powerpoint function. That was a great feature of Sliderocket that allowed me to easily share Powerpoint presentations with embedded video and audio with others without having to send a large file. Would love to hear if anyone knows of a program with this capability.

  10. Tony Lee says:

    I guess we all have been looking,. I think Clear Slide is making a big Mistake not to have Slide Rocket as an intro tool to all of its other services. I still have not figure out why they bought them? There is no reference to them on their site nor any reference to their presentation build program..

    Slide Rocket was the Best Presentation Software available in my opinion. People just has not found it yet. I really do not like. Slide Shark, or any of the others until they up their game. Clear Slide should sell Slide Rocket technology to one of the competitors mention above. any one of them just do it so it can bring back my normal life again! LOL I hate not having Slide Rocket!

    • lckidder says:

      Earlier last year, I read something that made me think that SlideRocket was having difficulties with it’s former host and financial backer. I continue to look and everything I find has some gaping hole – granted SlideRocket was AMAZING! but I do wish some of the other companies would at least try to mimic some of the features.

      One of the biggest problems I am finding is you can either have collaboration or audio – but not both. As I work in Higher Education – the ability to give students a group project to create in SlideRocket was easy and the outcome was, well usually, amazing.

      If I ever find something I will definitely share it! I hope others will do the same.

  11. lckidder says:

    I was just made aware of “Office Mix” – https://mix.office.com/ which may be helpful for some. I still need to explore it more, so no recommendations from me just yet.

  12. Pingback: Selecting a Wiki Tool | For the Love of Teaching

  13. David A says:

    Still mourning Sliderocket – what an awesome tool – found your post in my google query “what happened to Sliderocket” since the site shows zero activity since 2013. What a waste of great technology – there doesn’t seem to be anything out there that matches it. Fortunately I was able to save my presentations – and you can still log in to download anything you have made so it is not, so to speak, dead.

    • lckidder says:

      David A.

      I will say I have continued to explore presentation tools and am still watching the EWCPresenter which is now visme.co – http://www.visme.co/ They have been consistently adding features and improving the overall look of the tool. It does not have collaboration, you are limited to 3 projects with the free account, and you add audio using a url, but the visual aspects – especially what they have done in the way of infographics is nice.

      I will say I do like the editor in Slid.es – however still no audio (or video) or collaboration options.

      I have some other presentation tools I’ve collected – haven’t used the all, but you might find something that works for you – https://www.diigo.com/outliner/yu3od/Tech-Tools-for-Learning?key=r14z0b5f28

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