doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Will This Sway You?

With apologies to that store, I decided to write once and post twice.

Yesterday, it was “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” on this blog.

I’ve always wanted a chance to try out Sway from Microsoft to see what I could do.  I’ve seen Sways (?) from others and they kind of look like a newish version of a Prezi.  So, I decided to take to Sway to see what I could do with yesterday’s post.

I found that it was easy enough to put together.  If you’ve ever put together a presentation using any other piece of software, you’re all set.  If you’ve ever worked with HyperStudio, you’re familiar with the concept of cards and ideas flowing from one to another.  If you’ve ever worked with a story telling application, you’re familiar with the concept of sequencing.  The nice thing about porting the post to Sway is that I did have the natural opportunity to chop up the document via the various blog posts that were part of my original blog posts.  Some had text; some had images; I used emphasis, accents, and bullets without problem.  They all had links which carried forward.

I played around with a number of the themes that are included.  There is a search for images if you’re interested along with a warning about respecting copyright.

I tried to pull things together and make it true to the original point.  It was almost like Sway had read my mind in terms of the organization of the screen.  Or, I’ve been working with software long enough that it just falls into place.  Or, just dumb luck?

The Sway provides an embed code so I can add it to this post.  As you can see from below, that didn’t work.  WordPress stripped it out the raw code.  There’s only a certain number of media that will work and Sway is  not on the list?  If you want to see it outside this post, the link is here.  The claim is that it will appear the same way regardless of the device you’re using to view it.

(This is what was left after the stripping…) 

You can navigate using the buttons in the bottom right or by scrolling your mouse.  I elected to have the Sway go horizontally.  Actually, I was going to make another one with it going vertically which I think would make it look more like a blog post.  Sadly, when I tried to duplicate the original, I got an error message –


So, I’ll stick with the original.  It’s an interesting result.  I don’t know that it will be a replacement for a blogging tool but the result is kind of impressive.  If you’re looking for a combination presentation/storytelling interactive tool, give it a shot.

A quick tutorial to get you started appears here.

The resulting document is stored in the cloud which actually saved my bacon this time.  I was about half done and decided to take the dog for a walk.  I just left my computer open, figuring to get to it when we got back.  Well…I was doing the creation in Windows 10 and it decided that it needed to reboot itself.  Fortunately, I just went back to Sway when I returned and picked up where I’d left off.  There doesn’t appear to be a way to download the document so if you’re using this in a presentation, make sure you’ve got a good internet connection.  Ever the paranoid, I typically will have the document open and running before I set up so that I don’t have to rely on the internet.

Just remember that the content is important – the bells and whistles should be added for style and not be the driving reason to use the tool!


7 responses to “Will This Sway You?”

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Doug! The other day, someone tweeted me about trying out Sway for my DailyShoot blog posts. Seeing what you created, I think that I’ll need to give this a try. I do love how Storify embeds (as I find that parents won’t always click on a bunch of links). I wonder if Sway does as well. I think that I have some more to learn before summer is over.



  2. Good luck with it, Aviva. I couldn’t get the embed to work with but I’m using the domain and they protect things. Since you’re self-hosted, you might have a better chance.


  3. […] Will This Sway You? | doug — off the record […]


  4. Hi Doug!

    Yet another thing I learn from you and thank you. It looks pretty good and I should try it out at some point. To be honest, I haven’t even tried Prezi – always a PowerPoint user. I know you can get really nice results when using Prezi carefully (and Sway now I think). I have seen great non-PPT presentations, and others that have made me feel as if I were on a boat on the rough sea ; )


  5. thanks, doug:

    Definitely an interesting addition to the suite that my students will have access to. But please, next time, less cupcakes and gingham? 🙂

    I have to push back a little on the question about the hashtag. There are LOTS of teachers/people/students who don’t know what a hashtag is, and I’m not sure we need to assume that everyone should. Yes, it’s a part of modern vocabulary; yes, it’s something important to me in the way I inhabit the world; yes, many of my students say “hashtag yoloswag” despite the fact that they have never typed a hashtag themselves; yes, we need to teach about what they are and how they work…

    but….I have precious people in my world who do not own a computer, or a smart phone, and likely never will. They don’t know, and some have no desire to know, what a hashtag is – and yes, they still call that thing on their phone dial a pound key or even a number sign. I think that’s okay – they are inhabiting the world as best they can as it changes with dizzying speed around them, and I think we need to acknowledge that.

    I am certain there are remarkable teachers who find ways to connect their students with the world through literature, and art, and writing and music and math and…Many of them may be starting to see how integrating effective technology can take this to a new level for them, but we help them do that with grace and respect for their gifts, not by pointing out what they don’t know.


  6. sorry – meant to post this as a comment – I’m not quite awake this morning.


  7. I’m really not awake- my # comment was actually a comment on the edublogs post that you reference in the sway. Now going to have a caffeinated beverage. 🙂


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