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News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Monday, September 11, 2006  

More on Presenting the Atlas

On Friday, I gave some suggestions for how to use the Atlas in a presentation. Yesterday, in Sunday School, I was reminded of the need for it. For the first class of a New Testament survey course, our teacher wanted to give an overview of Biblical geography, so he hooked his Windows laptop up to a projector and presented a series of slides showing various maps of Israel and the Mediterranean. He did a great job, but it was just killing me that the same thing could have been done much more effectively with animated routes and 3-D fly-throughs. And of course, when questions were asked about the distance between two points, there was no easy way to find an answer; but if he'd had Accordance, he could have just option-dragged to measure the distances!

Ah well, that's what I get for trying not to give the folks at my church the hard sell about Accordance. (Darn this whole integrity thing!) I guess I'll have to content myself with preaching to the choir. ;-)

Okay, so today I want to talk about using the Atlas in slideshow mode. You'll recall that in version 7, you can set up a Workspace with multiple tabs, and then enter a Slideshow mode which hides most of the window controls and interface elements which can distract from the text and images you want to present. To enter Slideshow mode, you simply choose Slide Show from the Window menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-option-S).

In Slide Show mode, you can navigate your maps using the scroll bars, or you can command-drag to move the map to a different location. As far as zooming in and out, the In and Out buttons are not displayed, but you can zoom in using command-plus, and zoom out using command-minus. You can also zoom in to a specific point by holding the shift and command keys while clicking the point on the map you want to zoom in on.

Although these basic navigation tools are useful, I would suggest that if you want to show various views of the map, you set those up as separate slides ahead of time and then just switch between slides. For example, in my Sunday School class, the teacher could have set up the map to show the entire Mediterranean with the Roman Provinces region layer. Then he could have used command-D to create a duplicate tab in which he could zoom in on Palestine and overlay New Testament Palstine. Then he could duplicate that tab, zoom way in on Jerusalem, and overlay the Geography of Jerusalem layer.

If he wanted to show modern boundaries, he could duplicate the first tab and overlay the Modern Nations region layer. In a few minutes, he could have four distinct slides all set up and ready to be presented in Slide Show mode.

By the way, when setting up your Slide Show slides like this, remember that you can reorder the tabs in a workspace simply by dragging them to the left or right. So if you create these various map views in a different order than you intend to present them, simply drag them into the right order in the workspace. In Slide Show mode, the order of the slides you show will be identical to the order of the tabs in the Workspace.

I hope these last two posts have helped you to consider how the Atlas can be used to enhance your own teaching and presentations. Let this day be the beginning of the end for PowerPoint slide shows of static maps pasted on a cheesy background! May the twelve tribes never again be shown as a series of hard-to-read labels with no clear boundaries; give your people translucent color fills! Don't just show a missionary journey with static lines and arrows; let your people watch as Paul wends his way through Cilicia and Galatia! Show them photos from the PhotoGuide of the Taurus mountains, or the silted up harbors of Ephesus and Miletus! Don't just tell them the difference in elevation between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea; create a 3-D map and fly through it! Visual aids are great, and explaining the geographical background of the Biblical narratives is wonderful; but if you're going to do it, do it right!

Pant! Pant! Okay, sorry for getting carried away there. I'm through preaching to the choir! :-)

Is there any way to save a slide show from Accordance or animated routes and 3-D fly-throughs as a quicktime movie or flash or anything else so it could be incorporated into PowerPoint or Keynote?

If you want to display animated routes or 3-D fly-throughs as QuickTime movies within a Keynote or Powerpoint presentation, you would need to use screen recording software like Snapz Pro. It works very well.

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