Ultimate Powerpoint Lesson Plans!
July 14, 2009 6:15 PM   Subscribe

Lesson Planning with Powerpoint

I'd like to give my lesson plans another level of zip. I've been using Powerpoint but am tired of the blinds entrance for everything.

Are the following things possible within Powerpoint or some other program? I gave Prezi some serious attention, but it looks like you're paying every year to have it, and it may be more work than it's worth (but if someone here swears by it, please convince me!).

Here's what I'm looking for:

– moveable type, along with different options and effects (like at the beginning of game shows, where the words spin around, or get slightly larger or smaller, or go slightly in and out of focus)
– sound effects that don't stop when slide changes (and the ability to layer more than one or two sounds at a time)
– video within the presentation itself (preferably FLV, but I'll take whatever I can get)
– all self–contained, and not saved online
– solid templates that exist already that I can use

Again, perhaps all of this is more or less available within Powerpoint and I just need to commit a little more to the program, but I'm hesitant to do all the work to set up these lesson plans if there's something else out there which will just rock even more.

The biggest advantage of Powerpoint is that all of the students will be available to view the presentations at their house so that would be something to keep in mind when considering the competition.

Here's a sample lesson plan that I'm thinking about.

– Kids walk into class with theme music already playing
– On the projector is the subject title spinning around on screen (Science.......SCIENCE......etc..)
– Next slide, music changes to something softer to get them in the mood for the lesson itself
– As I click through the lesson points, there are mild sound effects like "WHOOOOOOOOSH", etc.
– Click to one slide where there's a ten second clip to illustrate something
– Rinse and repeat
– I click through everything with a remote that clicks through them
posted by fantasticninety to Education (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Google for internet tutorials.
posted by debbie_ann at 6:31 PM on July 14, 2009

Yeah, you want powerpoint. For example, using ppt 2003 to have text spin right mouse click an object, select custom animation, click "add effect" and choose spin. Double click the new effect and in the list on the right, and in the timing tab that pops up you can chose it to begin with previous (if it's the first, that means right away) and to repeat until next click.

Google for background music and effect sound. People have endeavored to ruin their presentations with all kinds of useless time wasting crap like this, so you have a cornucopia of advice. Ppt embeds video.

Other software can do this, but no one has really made it as easy as Microsoft.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:42 PM on July 14, 2009

I'm just going to throw this idea out there, please take it in the nicest way possible. Is there a chance you may be using PPT as a crutch? The best teachers capture their students' attention with their performance, not with the tech. Remember that you are the star of the show not the technology.
posted by maxpower at 7:30 PM on July 14, 2009

And yes, I do this with PowerPoint all the time...
posted by maxpower at 7:31 PM on July 14, 2009

Powerpoint is what you want for this. A cautionary note, however....I've been off on maternity leave since March. Ran into one of my former students in the 'hood in May, and asked "How is math with Mr. X (my replacement)?" Kid says "Well, he's nice and all, but Miss, he uses way too much Powerpoint!". So I guess go easy--if you use it less, it'll have more impact when you do. Not all lessons are better on Powerpoint.
posted by Go Banana at 7:44 PM on July 14, 2009

Sigh...I guess I should've just asked how to do these things without mentioning it was for education in order to avoid the advice about teaching methods.

As for it being "time wasting crap", I respectfully disagree, but thank you for confirming my belief that PowerPoint is still the best way to go with these things.
posted by fantasticninety at 8:01 PM on July 14, 2009

Dittoing both of maxpower's comments.

You can absolutely do this with PowerPoint. Check the help files (press F1) about inserting sound files, and for information about everything found in the Slide Show menu (such as custom animations.

Also dittoing the idea that the best learning has nothing to do with custom animations. They are neat, but they don't replace solid, quality content.
posted by Houstonian at 8:01 PM on July 14, 2009

fantasticninety, I did not see your follow-up before I posted. My opinion was given as a person who creates training material for the corporate world. But, you are following a popular path and my advice is less conventional.

Check the PowerPoint online help files for custom animations and inserting sound files.
posted by Houstonian at 8:03 PM on July 14, 2009

As others have said, PowerPoint will work, but I'd recommend that you also check into Adobe Presenter. It's a plug-in to PowerPoint that adds a lot of functionality that, quite frankly, Microsoft should have added to the program a long time ago, such as being able to not only embed audio, but actually record it directly into the presentation; very easily embed FLV; and even add quizzes. It's a bit pricey, but I know educators get a big discount that might make it more affordable. Ignore all the crap on Adobe's website and in the help files about the apparent "need' to use Adobe Acrobat Connect with Presenter - while Connect is cool, Presenter works just fine off-line.
And one other thing: if you happen by any chance to be using a Mac instead of Windows, you definitely want to look at Keynote instead of PowerPoint. I'm a died-in-the-wool Windows user, but Keynote's awesomeness over PowerPoint is almost enough to make me want to switch. It really is that much better, but it has the one really big downside of being only available on Macs, and thus unavailable if you're not on that platform.
posted by robhuddles at 8:42 PM on July 14, 2009

Actually, if you are looking to do more than PowerPoint can do, and you want something that is easy to learn, and you want it free, look to Microsoft Producer.

I'm not sure why it is free, and I don't understand why Microsoft has not promoted it. It's pretty good stuff, and for the money it's fantastic. In the Getting Started (right pane) section of this page, download Producer. From here, get the evaluation guide, which gives you screenshots of what can be done and instructions.

Microsoft came out with this several years ago, and then I guess dropped it. They used to have a demo video to show you what the outcome looks like, but I can't find it anymore. It will mean that your PowerPoints won't really look like PowerPoint anymore (a good thing). Skim through the book I linked to and flip through until you see some of the graphics (for example, pages 4 and 5, which actually came from the missing demo they used to have).

I experimented with this software, and ultimately it was perfect except that the CBT was going to be on a server in Europe, but watched by people in Nigeria or offshore. The file size was just too big to deliver it well in that infrastructure, but I assume your students are not in Nigeria or offshore so it should be fine.
posted by Houstonian at 9:09 PM on July 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

One more suggestion: go buy both Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte, and Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. Both will forever change the way you think about both presenting and using tools like PowerPoint, but for the better.
posted by robhuddles at 9:20 PM on July 14, 2009

Thanks for these awesome suggestions. I'll also check out the books mentioned.

I am a Mac user, and specifically bought a PC laptop in order to prepare PowerPoints. My biggest beef with Keynote is that I was not able to free draw within the program. It's funny how such a simple thing isn't allowed, but I searched in vain for a workaround but to no avail. As a language teacher, it really helps to be able to draw little diagrams, as well as underline certain things which show up on top of the slide. I have a Wacom, and it really comes in handy. For the time being, I've used the feature within Powerpoint of adding pen notes (or whatever it's called where you have the presentation happening and you go to the bottom left hand corner and add notes) to the slide. Thankfully you can save those notes you add and have them show up on future presentations.

Otherwise, Keynote looked ideal...
posted by fantasticninety at 9:54 PM on July 14, 2009

Google for internet tutorials, to maximize your powerpoint skills.
posted by debbie_ann at 4:31 AM on July 15, 2009

Sorry if that was harsh. Rather than say it's bad for presentations, let me just say that my girl was an (overworked) teacher too, and I can't imagine that putting animations on text will be a good return on your time.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:50 AM on July 15, 2009

« Older Please identify this Armenian treat   |   Please help make sense of my brain chemistry Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.