Monday, 22 September 2008


It's hard to believe that Microsoft PowerPoint is 21 years old now! During my lengthy time in education I've seen some interesting PowerPoints, but I've also seen some awful ones, many of them delivered by adults! The desire to include lots of brightly coloured backgrounds and animated text is not just limited to students.

Whilst it's true that PowerPoint is a useful communication tool, it's not exactly cutting edge and needs to be used carefully within the classroom. Is it the right tool for the job? Is there something that might work better or be more appropriate, should we be using Slideshare to enable us to reach a wider audience, or Google Docs to allow collaborative work etc? Is PhotoStory a viable alternative, or even Movie Maker, or Animoto, or one of a range of other Web 2.0 type tools?

If we decide it is the right tool, how can we ensure we use it to achieve our objectives? Year 7 are tackling these issues as they look at preparing to give a presentation to their peers about themselves.
There are lots of tasks to carry out surrounding collection of resources before they think about creating their PowerPoint, do they need photos scanned, will they use sound, where can they source digital images?

Examples of poor design have already been looked at and students have been able to identify aspects of poorly made slideshows. This will hopefully allow them to avoid making mistakes when they give their presentation.

Giving the presentation is a different matter of course. This relies on speaking skills and presentational style. It's imprtant to remember that the slideshow is merely an aid to your presentation, not the actual presentation itself.

For those of you that need a little tech help with the software, here are a few suggestions;

Useful short tutorials… ignore the ones that talk about inserting clip art!!

Some good advice for students on how to create interesting presentations

Easy to follow basic tutorials

Slideshow Tutorial from Microsoft – too long to find out the answers, maybe, but the template creation video may be helpful to you.

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