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RealShow: A new way for producing and communicating virtual conference presentations



Microsoft PowerPoint is the leading presentation software used in our professional and educational world for years. It is easy-to-use, flexible, popular, and cost-effective, and allows presenters to create digital multimedia content quickly and efficiently. However, PowerPoint is recognized as a presenter-oriented tool and slides are not substitute for the in-depth information and guidance a presenter should deliver. If the audience are not seeing or listening to the presenter, then reading the slides in isolation will be less valuable. In addition, PowerPoint is not an interactive medium and requires the use of additional supportive technology, such as a whiteboard or flipchart, to engage the audience. At the same time, video is demonstrated to be an expanding channel for communicating ideas. It is socially acceptable and therefore it can be a powerful link between the presenter and the audience.
Teachers and presenters usually record their presentations for class revision, knowledge sharing, and distance education purposes. However, taking video of the presenter and materials projected on a screen or whiteboard is not an easy task and associated with many technical problems. RealShow is a desktop solution that automates the process of recording and producing video presentations. It combines presenter’s PowerPoint slides, freehand drawings and illustrations, screen text typing, and video view in one single video object. RealShow helps presenters apply principles for the design of multimedia materials and human cognitive processing in delivering their PowerPoint slides. It takes advantage of the dual-channel structure of the human information processing system by means of text, pictures and audio. It can promote active cognitive processing by allowing the presenter to guide the processes of selecting, organizing, and integrating information. RealShow gives visual aids and fosters human contact between the presenter and the audience. The presenter can clearly identify the main points and communicate in a way that will have the desired impact on the audience through texts, illustrations, slides, and visual presence of the presenter. This solution would be very useful in helping virtual presenters to record and share their conference presentations via the conference website or YouTube. In addition, it gives the audience a sense of interaction with the presenter while watching the presentation. Later, the presenter can receive feedback on the video or interact with the audience asynchronously via the conference forum or social networks.