There has been a lot of talk over the past few months about the release of the new Google Apps, PowerPoint-like presentation tool. The tool, which has been code named, "Presently," will allow you to create a slide show like PowerPoint, allow others to collaborate on the slide show with you. There are several omissions right now, like animation and video, but I would assume that these will be coming right around the corner since that has been the typical 'modus operandi' of the Google Apps releases. (The graphing tools were added after the initial release of the spreadsheet tool.)
The one cool thing that is there, is a chat function. So, you can have your slideshow and give a live presentation and allow others to chat with you in real time. I can see two different ways this will be used. One as a way to discuss the presentation as it is being constucted and secondly as a feedback tool during a live presentation.
This is just the latest in the series of tools Google has released in the Docs and Spreadsheets tool kit, but it isn't the last... I would suspect that their wiki tool, JotSpot (or a re engineered version of the old JotSpot) will be out before the end of the year.
What does this mean for education? The bar for entering the digital academic world has just been lowered again. Students, most who can't pay even the $150 for Microsoft Office for Teachers and Students can do all of the basic office tasks for free and store them online. I don't have to worry about lugging disks from place to place, scheduling time at the one parent's home that has all of the correct software. I can even go to the public library, a friends home, school, etc. and have access to all of my documents and e-mail. For teachers, this means they can assign more work that needs to be done using technology because the socio-economic barriers to access are so low that students can easily meet them.
Want to learn more about the new Presentation tool... Lee Lefever, from the Common Craft Show has done another of his great videos to show off the Google Apps Presentation tool. Take a look below!