I teach middle school technology and use PowerPoint in 5,6,7. I teach them how to do PowerPoint and have them use a subject in Math, SS, English and create a Powerpoint. I am looking for more extensive projects. In other words, I am tired of the same old PowerPoint.
Apart from games, you can use PP for other non-presentation purposes:
1) Create 'Choose your own adventure' style stories. The hyperlinks soon become quite complicated and require a lot of logical thought by the students
2) in a similar vein, create a classification tool for plants or animals eg does it have six legs? yes / no
3) Use it to make simple flip-animations that demonstrate a scientific (for example) principle. Students create a kajillion slides with fast transition times to show planets orbiting the sun or a plant growing etc
Yes, i agree hyperlinks are complicated but I think it can only benefit kids who use it. Logic and overall familiarity of different aspects of PowerPoint can be learned with those suggestions you've made. Good idea.
I have made a blog post on this topic of PowerPoint in the classroom. I think it's a good demonstration of how one teacher used PPT in a unique way to fit her class's specific needs, click here. Maybe it will help.
One of my most successful uses of PowerPoint in the curriculum is to develop summarizing and outline skills with students. Many students have difficulty with summarizing and organizing information; however, they "get" PowerPoint and bullets, which is really the same skills.
I have students take something to summarize (a current events article, a textbook chapter, etc.), make a PowerPoint from it, and then present their summary to the class. In the course of presenting, we talk about how to present from notes (the PowerPoint) without reading it word for word. PowerPoint makes this easy and makes for much more engaging presentations.
(Of course, you can add whatever tech-related bells and whistles to this that you like, but I prefer to focus on the literacy skills and let the technology flow behind that to support communication skills.)
For larger projects, I like to have students publish their work online (with something like Google Docs or Zoho) to share with parents and the community.
Sounds like a logical and sound thing to do. So many time the focus is on the tools and not student literacy--I can't tell you how many times I've read about this tool or that and how cool it is without mention of content or learning.
In our district we actually pushed those skills into lower grade levels. 3rd and 4th grades make powerpoints to grasp the concepts of publishing visuals. By the time they reach middle school - they are prepared to learn photostory and other advanced tools.
Students always seem to get excited when a teacher explains that they are going to use PowerPoint for a project. There is something about PowerPoint that is creative, entertaining and appealing to kids.
My concern has always been that all of the focus on the “fluff” of PowerPoint will lead to PowerPointlessness. PowerPoint is a presentation tool so why is the content and message seem to be lost in the production?
I have come up with a solution that counteracts the focus on formatting and not on content. I teach students how to write out all of the content for their PowerPoint slides in a Word outline and focus on the information before I allow them to open up the PowerPoint program.
Today I taught the students how to change Word from Print view to outline view and place all slide titles on Level 1 of the outline and all body content on Level 2 of an outline. Students spent several days researching their topic and writing out the information on the outline. Resources were cited right on the outline and the focus was clearly what information was to be conveyed in the presentation.
When the students completed the outline, they opened PowerPoint and then opened the Word outline IN PowerPoint - and presto - all the text was placed on the appropriate slides. The students reaction is the best part - they loved it. They were amazed that these two software pieces work together seamlessly.
The next step is then to teach your students how to use the Slide Master.
Many students come to my class feeling “comfortable” with PowerPoint so my goal is to teach them some news skills to keep the focus on content or make formatting and animating quicker, easier and consistent.
One of the ways that I do this is to teach my students how to create their own original design template by using the slide master. The preformatted design templates are overused and not very interesting - plus they usually don’t match the topic. I teach students how to go to View / Master / Slide Master and design a template from scratch. I encourage students to choose background colors, designs or images that match their topic.
The slide master shown above was created for a slide presentation for “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. The images on the left are hyperlinked to a slide to explain more about that wonder. The column and text banner appear on every page. This student put a lot of thought into the design of their PowerPoint and had it coordinate with their topic. It was much better than choosing an overused Design Template.
The student is now more than half done since all the text and slide formatting is completed. The next steps include changing the slide layouts, transitions and adding images/sounds/movies.
Animations for titles and body paragraphs can be added to the slide master as well as “actions” to link the navigation bar to individual slides.
The whole point, you mentioned it--is presentation. The idea is to have some graphics and a few words that enhance your oral presentation. Check out Dan Meyer's (and others) blog for some good ideas on how to focus on the design of the slides.
When you are in Word, switch from print view to outline view. Every time you indent you move to a different level in an outline. For example:
This is would the title of your first slide
(now press tab to indent) this is level 2 of the outline and what you type here will be in the body section
This would be the title of your second slide (hint: you might to to press shift+tab to get back to level 1)
(now press tab to indent) back on level 2 - you could have the items of your bullet points here
Keep repeating until your write out your entire PowerPoint presentation.
Then after all of the content has been written, edited and revised you can send it to PowerPoint by going to File / Send To / Microsoft Office PowerPoint and all of the information will show up on the slides. It works great!
I wrote a practical and I believe helpful article on fostering oral presentation skills in the powerpoint age for ISTE's Learning & Leading journal, vol 33 no. 4 December/January 2005-06. Look for Oral Presentations in the Age of Multimedia, . If you are an ISTE member you can download for free.