Are your students driving you crazy with the number of fonts, animations, and sounds on their PowerPoint presentations? Does style seem to have replaced content in their presentations? Or, are you just looking for new ways to grab students' attention in an upcoming lecture? Check out these Web sites filled with tip, tricks, and warnings about the use of PowerPoint in the classroom.
Explore the dozen Web sites below filled with free templates, tutorials, downloads, and tips for making effective and elegant PowerPoint presentations -- or not.
Microsoft PowerPoint Site
Get PowerPoint pointers straight from the source. First, scroll to the middle of the page and check out the current articles on PowerPoint. Topics can vary and might include information on plug-ins for PowerPoint, using PowerPoint in the classroom, or learning about a new tool in PowerPoint. Links for assistance for newer versions of PowerPoint also are included, as are discussion groups, and access to PowerPoint MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) for expert advice. Still, the strength of the site is in its array of new templates, ideas for color schemes, and training tips. A word of caution: Many additional PowerPoint resources might be buried in other areas of the Microsoft Web site, so be prepared for a little hunt and click time before you find just what you're looking for!
Education World PowerPoint Techtorials
Whether you're new to PowerPoint or a veteran user looking for a new trick or two, this site offers techtorials -- how-to guides -- for you. Scroll to the middle of the page to find the PowerPoint techtorials, and then click a title that interests you. Each techtorial opens in a new window; most are designed to be completed in 5-15 minutes. You can open a techtorial and PowerPoint at the same time, or print the instructions and practice later. Those new to PowerPoint should click Creating a Class PowerPoint Presentation or Make a Countdown Clock. Teachers with a few PowerPoints under their belt might want to look at Narrating PowerPoint Slides, Writing Storybooks with PowerPoint, and Create Interactive Maps in PowerPoint. Those teachers who are PowerPoint experts and ready for a challenge should consider creating quizzes and word-by-word audio books using the techtorials as guides. New techtorials are added throughout the year, so don't forget to check back on this dynamic and easy-to-use resource.
Sponsored by Epson, Presenters Online is a free and comprehensive resource for anyone who gives multimedia presentations, although much of its information and materials are relevant to the K-12 classroom. Begin in the Basics link, where short sections (10-20 points each) on delivery, content, and visuals help both teachers and students learn what makes a great presentation. Tutorials on both PowerPoint and using a projector also are provided, with suggestions about more advanced software for those who want their presentations kicked up a notch. The Resources section offers free clip art, templates, sounds, digital images, and links to anyone who signs up for the (free) Presenters Club.
What's the Point of PowerPoint?
Microsoft PowerPoint can be a powerful classroom tool. Used ineffectively, however, its technical bells and whistles can obscure educational content, turning a great lesson into computer chaos. The Education World Tech Team offers ideas on how to use PowerPoint to enhance, rather than overshadow, student learning. Included: A detailed lesson plan and rubric, an equation for creating your own PowerPoint rubric, a completed student presentation, and dozens of tips for ensuring effective PowerPoint presentations in your classroom.
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Article by Lorrie Jackson
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