Sunday, August 16, 2009

Presenting . . . PowerPoint & Slideshare

What can I say? Prior to attending university, I had not used or seen Powerpoint. Now I have experienced it in many different ways - from learning how to make them from Digital Natives, creating them myself and unfortunately, to being bored by them.

Most of what I learned about Powerpoint was in my first year of uni, and was demonstrated by Year 2 students doing a project on animals prior to visiting Australia Zoo. These fearless Digital Natives used every bell and whistle that could be used to make dynamic, colourful and animated presentations. All the while, the accented Digital Resident was going "how did you do that?"

In group assignments, I have been fortunate to work with like-minded peers. Our mission was to achieve Powerpoints that informed and did not induce sleep. We had a set of rules that consisted of:
  • Do not read from the Powerpoint!
  • Do not have on the slide the information that we are imparting. The slide should enhance what we are saying
  • Do not have too many bullet points
  • The Powerpoint should be visible from the back of the room. (Background colour and fonts played second fiddle to legibility)
  • Make it visually appealing
  • Break up the presentation - use role plays, human bar graphs to demonstrate points
Once we laid out our ground rules, we then created our Powerpoint. Inevitably there was the "how did you do that?" question, particularly when it had to do with some animated feature or transition. We learned together and from each other. I now know what we were doing - we were socially constructing meaning while having learning experiences modelled, scaffolded and talked about. We were engaged - we were relating, creating and donating our presentation to the larger group collective. We were also using different ways to engage our audience - through visual, auditory and kinaesthetic means.

I have enjoyed the "So You Want to be a Millionaire" Powerpoint game and can see how this can be used in the classroom (small group collaboration, engaging, formative assessment). I have included a mini example here:
Powerpoints in the classroom can be used by teacher or student. By the teacher it can be used as a means to introduce a topic and provide information or to simply read books by having the pictures on screen while the text is being read*. As Prensky (2001) states Natives "prefer their graphics before their text".

Students can use them as a means of presenting their work (summative assessment as I observed in my Year 2 classroom). Their Powerpoints can also be included in their portfolios.

Just as I feel comfortable in using Powerpoint, I discover Slideshare - a place where I can upload, store and share my Powerpoints. Not only that, but .pdfs and word documents also. I have, like Kellie, found that not everything in my uploaded Powerpoints survived (audio, graphics).

I was interested to see after having uploaded some Powerpoint presentations that they have been viewed - I am now sharing on a global scale. I can see that this is a tool that could be used in collaborative projects with other global classrooms. I have included an example of a wiki called Voices of the World. Children from around the world participate in different tasks to be completed on a monthly basis. The students use a program called Slideboom, which appears to be very similar to Slideshare.

I will admit to being completely baffled by creating an audio narrative. I found how I could edit my presentations, and saw how to upload an mp3 file. However, it would not allow music to be uploaded (even though I had some Royalty-Free music to use) only voice. Call me blonde, but I could not find a way to record an mp3 file - something for me to work on . . .

Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Prensky, M (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Downloaded July 2009 from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

*So as not to breach copyright, images from books should not be saved.

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