Posts Tagged ‘power point’

Quite often in the teaching and learning process, we become focussed on the end result. I’m not a hug fan of assessment that simply “tests” a student’s ability to retain knowledge and thankfully, we are moving away from that towards providing students with more authentic opportunities to apply what they know. Surely, that is the real purpose of C21 learning?

Year 9 and 10 provide great opportunities to step away from “end of unit tests” and review students’ learning in a range of contexts.

While English students still need to know who to write a visual text essay, I’ve added a group based assignment that allows junior students to apply their knowledge of a visual text (film!) at the end of the unit of work. The finished product then becomes a revision resource containing engaging, multi-media material they can apply to essay writing.

It is fascinating to observe how the group dynamics unfold. With some classes, I’m needed more for communication support than technical help! It’s also a great task for developing resilience – one of me, many of you I’m fond of saying! Who else can you ask for help? Have you tried trouble shooting via the online prompts????!!!!

We used PowerPoint online and the Office Mix add in. I allowed the students to work in groups of 3-4 and provided a range of activities to include in their Power Point. These were designed to cater for a range of learning styles. There was an extension activity as well for those requring extra challenges. In 2016, a class of higher ability learners completed this task for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and last year, a mixed ability class worked together to complete presentations for Shane Acker’s fantastic film, 9.

Students can collaborate on their presentation and work on their slide at home. The steps to creating a collaborative PowerPoint are as follows:

  1. Choose the PowerPoint icon in the Microsoft splash (to access online version)
  2. Get one member to set up a basic presentation adding title pages and a presentation title so everyone is clear who is doing what
  3. Share with other groups members using the share function (make sure to assign edit rights)
  4. To open students either click the link sent to them in an email OR select share with me in their class notebook
  5. They can use the desktop version of PPT if they wish and changes made will still save into the online version

I allowed three class lessons and homework time to complete. Some of the slides required audio recordings so they had to leave the classroom and find a quiet space. Their instructions were to create a presentation that included:

  • Character trait analysis – matching characters to proverbs and explaining why a proverb applied to a character (more able students)
  • Setting analysis – sketch the setting and label key locations (great for visual learners)
  • Film techniques  – label and explain techniques used via a still shot/screen grab (analytical)
  • SEXY para – write a SEXY Para persuading me WHY Year 9 students should watch the film (writers)
  • *extension – explain why the film would fit the requirements of a coming of age film. Draw a Venn Diagram connecting 9 to other coming of age text(s) you have read or watched. Include links to those other texts on the page and an audio recording of your explanation.
  • Include a bibliography acknowledging third party sources

OfficeMix will soon be included as a feature in PowerPoint so it won’t need to be downloaded as an add on. As such the online repository for office mixes is migrating to Office Stream by May 1 this year. If you have a gallery of several mixes online, it would pay to ensure you migrate them over to Stream.

Here are links to three of 9TD’s presentations from last year…

9 An Overview

9 Character, Theme, Technique Analysis

9 An Overview

The film trailer for 9. It works on so many levels – environmental and historical links, philosophical questions re use of technology, rife with symbolism. Can’t recommend it enough for Year 9:


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I think anyone that has been on the receiving end of the education system in recent years would relate to some of the comments highlighted in the above clip.  Power point is not a new tool but it is done to death these days – sometimes quite badly.  But in spite of this I have to admit to being a bit of a fan – with a couple of provisos. A well constructed power point  (less of the nauseating transitions and lame sound effects), can help present information in an engaging and hopefully memorable way.

Ideally I believe a good secondary teaching power point devised to support a unit of work should be used in bite sized chunks.  So present say 5-6 slides per lesson and make sure to include some video, audio and activities.  You can include instructions in the power point  as well as definitions and other key points for note taking.  For me it’s a tidy way to summarise your key learning objectives in a visually pleasing, interactive manner that caters for range of learning styles and abilities. In a nutshell the point of a power point should be to educate and stimulate.

But wait there’s more.  As teachers, we’re looking to work smarter not harder, and hopefully if we are approaching our profession in a collegial manner, are happy to share our own resources occasionally.   There are a range of websites around which enabling users to upload presentations or download others.  The only problem is that with some of the sites noted,  you get the most basic version of the presentation so the links to audio, video etc don’t work. Still if you’re looking for something generic, such as an introduction to Shakespeare’s London, there are plenty of resources waiting to be discovered in the wonderful world of Web 2.0.

Sites for sharing (downloading and uploading) presentations include slideshare, authorstream and slideboom.

The advent of Web 2.0 has also seen the development of online presentation applications. These are web-based slide-sets which are built and managed online so no need for clunky desktop publishing programmes.  In theory these are more accessible, more dynamic and sometimes, more interactive.  Online creations tools include sliderocket ( really like the look of this one – very slick), 280 slides and Zoho.

The darling of online creations tools currently has to be prezi. This application lets you write, zoom and arrange words, images. It’s like power point on steroids (or red bull and vodka perhaps). The only word of caution here is not to overdo the extra functionality.  Too much zooming in and out or simply using gadgets for the sake of it runs the risk of the students loosing focus, missing the point or even worse feeling nauseous. Let’s not blind them with science because we can – the best prezi presentations are intuitive, logical and seamlessly integrate a range of ideas and concepts. If it helps – story board your ideas first the old-fashioned way with pen and paper to logically think through how you want to present key teaching points.

Why would you use prezzi?

  • To help students analyse long sections of text
  • Zooming in and out helps students to focus on what’s important  (reinforce key teaching points)
  • The many layered approach allows you to expand on the meaning of a key word or concept
  • You can visually associate images and words
  • Explain concepts, diagrams and timelines in more detail
  • Help students understand relationships, sequences and options

Here’s a link to my first attempt as once again I’m having trouble embedding this basic work of art into this post! I haven’t quite got the zooming sorted and am missing a few images but from go to whoa took me about 90 minutes.  Obviously practice makes perfect!

So up to you – puffery or packaging? In my humble opinion, content is the most important component of any lesson. The above tools (or toys if you prefer) are simply presentation or delivery methods although some do enable more deep level thinking than a simple chalk and talk approach.  They could also provide a good option for students to synthesise and represent information at the end of a unit of teaching.  If done well, they should help us make that first and most difficult hurdle – engagement.

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