Ludus Interview #8:
Every once in a while, we interview individuals or companies which, like many others, fell in love with Ludus and its limitless possibilities to design better presentations. This time, we met with Sandro Costa, a multimedia designer working at the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria in Portugal. In this interview, he shares his Ludus experience with us and his implementation initiatives within his educational institution.
Sandro Costa is a multimedia designer at the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, located in Portugal.
Hi Sandro, could you tell us how you became a multimedia designer in the education sector?
I still remember the time I built my first website. I was 15 and one of my teacher hired me to create a personalized web page for his training center. The beginning of my career at the Polytechnic of Leiria wasn’t any different. After finishing my degree, I was invited for a 3-month internship at a small research unit called the Distance Learning Unit (Unidade de Ensino a Distância in Portuguese). Since then, 10 years have passed. We’re now a smaller but more focused team and we are still striving to push forward new teaching methods and new ideas. As for me, I’m just another cog in a multifaceted team of very talented people.
The Polytechnic of Leiria is located at the heart of Portugal. It educates 12,000 students and employs 900 teachers.
From Undergraduate programmes to Master Degrees, we prepare around 12,000 students every year to face the global market. This means that new ideas, new tools and new means of facing old challenges really matter on this ever-evolving generation.
Why were you interested into Ludus first? What do you like about this tool?
A year ago, I discovered Ludus for the first time on Codrops blog. I was so tired of PowerPoint and other desktop presentation tools that I gave it a try.
I was in desperate need of a tool which could provide me the flexibility of a design tool without all the hassle of having to install a desktop app on my Linux machine. Ludus was all that and more.
The way Ludus enables users to integrate other apps, like Airtable, Google Maps and CodePen, gives a significant advantage compared to PowerPoint. I love its simplicity and how easy it is to change fonts and colors. How simple it is to get images from Unsplash and how I can, in less than two hours, get a presentation ready for prime time.
In which context do you use Ludus?
After I got acquainted with Ludus, I started thinking about how different our teachers’ presentations could be if they were able to harness its power. So I starting creating a training programme called Goodbye PowerPoint (Adeus PowerPoint in Portuguese).
Adeus PowerPoint, the training program created by Sandro Costa.
My thought process was a bit different from what it usually is. This time, I didn’t only want to train teachers on the tool, I wanted to help them with their critical thought process. Then, I created a two-hour workshop session where I talk about my symbolic marriage with PowerPoint, knowing that they would identify themselves with this relationship. Then, I talk about the divorce process I went through, breaking bad habits and forcing myself to better focus on the message of my presentation. Because the message and its content are so important, I even got some props (some pots and pans borrowed from my 3 years daughter 😅) to show them that the most important thing in a great presentation is its ingredients and the recipe.
Two days later, I was overwhelmed by the number of teachers that applied for the workshop sessions. After two training rooms filled to capacity, I can say that it was totally worth it.
The teachers loved Ludus, its interface, its keyboard shortcuts and all the new ways they can use inside and outside their classroom.
We did an in-class practice session where I invited them to think outside the box on new solutions for old problems. It went amazingly well. At the end of the workshop, I remind them that the initiative doesn’t stop here, there’s much more to come. Teachers respond positively and ask to plan more work sessions focused on their specific areas, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
With all the knowledge I gathered throughout the years, I’ve created a site called adeuspowerpoint.info where I could help teachers with their message and provide tips and tricks on how to build a good presentation. It’s also a place where they can contact our team and share their presentations anytime.
So you’re suggesting some technology alternatives to your teachers in order to help them improve their teaching practices. Could you tell me more about it?
That’s exactly it. As a unit, we are focused on improving classroom practices. As the language changes and get transformed, there’s a need to find new means of conveying the message with ease and transparency, without losing its meaning.
Students want to have easily access to the information without any barriers or hard to reach internet spaces. Ludus, like many other cloud-powered tools, cuts the middleman, by providing easy ways to interact with your presentation just by sharing the link. This avoids all the file-sharing platforms and the compatibility issues with all the different versions of Microsoft Office. Moreover, it avoids the waiting period students have to go through until teachers share their presentation content on Moodle, our Learning Management System.
Integration also plays a big part in our overall plan to simplify teaching practices. Ludus allows us that flexibility.
We can now show a 3D model of a human body to our students. It’s directly embedded in our presentation instead of some low-resolution pictures with out-of-focus labels. Providing some course material to our students with which they can interact, is a huge step towards the future classroom and Ludus can definitely be the provider of such integration.
What are the next steps of your initiative?
Our first two workshops are the beginning of something big. The overwhelming reception gave us hope about the future of this initiative. We need to grow our website into a workspace and a tool which will help teachers to assemble, plan and discuss their presentations. Ludus plays a central role in our plan to change the classroom practices. As different techniques emerge to play along with the concept of the traditional classroom, techniques such as flipped-classroom or project-based learning, we need a tool that enables us to have the best of both worlds. Ludus is that tool.
What would you like to see improving in Ludus?
I’ve been observing Ludus fantastic growth rate. It has been continuously upgraded and new functionalities are added on a monthly basis. Hopefully, in the future, Ludus will add some ways to do slide revision. A heavily requested feature throughout both workshops was a way to save slide changes while editing, as teachers continuously rearrange and reuse their presentations. As for the rest of the request, I think time will tell. I firmly believe that the more they work with it, the more efficient they’ll get.
As for me, I’ll try to be a helping hand to our community, using Ludus to create my own presentations while sharing with everyone all the good practices I’ve been learning while working with it.
We’d like to thank Sandro for sharing his experience and implementation initiatives. Teachers’ needs will be fulfilled soon since we are planning to work on providing versioning before the end of this year.