I teach middle school technology and use PowerPoint in 5,6,7. I teach them how to do PowerPoint and have them use a subject in Math, SS, English and create a Powerpoint. I am looking for more extensive projects. In other words, I am tired of the same old PowerPoint.

Any new ideas?

Tags: PowerPoint, Technology

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I'd baaack up and ask: What do I want kids to communicate, and why is powerpoint the right medium? Look at the logical communications that come from study in these subject areas. Reflection on learning, applications to real life, key concepts explained so others learn, mysteries or controversies that remain in this subject area, how we know what we know (ie: who first determined the size of Mars, and how did he figure it out?)... Think purpose and audience, then you'll know what to do with powerpoint.
Hi Coop,
Welcome to Classroom 2.0 - congratulations on your first forum post!

Your question is not an easy one to answer. As Jane says, it's hard to know exactly what you have to work with or what your goal is for the students. Do you see the students daily or just once in a while in the lab? What other software do you have access to? What kind of computers do you have? Can they make movies or record audio? Can the students access the web, build web pages or upload podcasts?

Powerpoint is one of those good news/bad news applications - it's easy to learn and use, but doesn't get you very far. (Also known as "low threshold, low ceiling").

Let us know some of these answers and I bet lots of people will have some great ideas!
Thanks for all the replies. I have students once every six days, so it is a bit tough and I do want to keep it curriculum related. I do non linear with a table of contents that link to each slide and Home buttons back to the table of contents. They insert their voice, pic and movies. We have iMacs and do Word PPT, Excel, Webdesign in grade 5 & 6, and a bit of photoshop.

I just feel like PPt. is losing its luster. Kids get caught up with all the extra's...animations, slide trans, custom animations. Everyone is PowerPointed to death. I have them take a subject binder to class and have 5 slides, hyperlinks, voice, Action Buttons, hyperlinks to the internet, Table of Contents. Again, just feels like it is getting old. I do feel it is important to teach them how to use PPt, so it can be used in other class.
With iMacs, you have a lot of audio and video capability - can you have them do a project where they take a subject and make a movie or radio broadcast about it? They could teach the subject to younger kids, or create a news broadcast from 1776, etc. The planning, storyboarding, writing scripts, editing and post production all can use other tools you've taught, like Excel for the time planning, Word for scripting and storyboarding, or Photoshop for creating props or projected backgrounds.
Hello Coop,
I too have felt that PowerPoint was getting old which led me to explore other tools such as Voice Thread and Photostory, both of which I use with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. I went back to PowerPoint this year, after making changes to the way I use it.

Inspired by Daniel Pink and his Pecha Kucha (pe-chach-ka) presentations I asked my students to create mini Pecha Kuchas, 10 slides with 20 seconds of commentary. For some of my fifth graders this was a disaster. To them PowerPoint was not about content it was about skill with animations and transitions. One student put his head down on his desk after he heard the Pecha Kuchas would have no transitions or animations. It was as bad as telling him no more recess or P.E. I knew my students loved the bells and whistles but had no idea how far down on the totem pole content had fallen.

My answer was to continue to model, model, model improving my own presentations and allow students to chose their medium, some chose old fashioned posters! Photostory creates more of a movie type presentation which students have been using for book reports. VoiceThread allows students to comment on each others work, we are creating yearbooks with this tool. Students are beginning to choose PowerPoint again, using compelling images and their expertise to convey their message, minus the bullets, swirls, and explosions.

Two other outstanding presentations to learn from...Dick Hardt on Identity and Larry Lessig on Creativity and the Law

Good luck!
Elise
Think about how you see PowerPoint presentations being used in your professional life. Usually, a presenter is giving a talk and uses the presentation to help get the main ideas across or display results of some research. My suggestion is to create a context in which your students will be doing the same thing. In my case, my students work in teams (or pairs) to complete a small research project. They come up with a question, collect data, create a simple graph in Excel, transfer the graph to a basic (4 or 5 slide only) PowerPoint presentation, and present the results to the class and invited guests. While I work with adult immigrant ESL students, the basic idea can be easily adapted to whatever level of students you work with. For samples of student work (Excel presentations, PowerPoint presentations, some videos of students presenting their research, and step-by-step instructions for creating both a chart in Excel and the PowerPoint presentation itself) see http://esl.adultinstruction.org/ResearchProject.htm
Hi there - I use Keynote (Mac) application, same as powerpoint, to my 6,7 and 8th grade students. I keep this project hostage until the end of the tri-mester because it is what the kids love most about the computer class! First I let them create a slide show about any animal they like. (6th grade) They first have to story board the lesson, so they plan it out. They also need to do some research about their animal, and of course include a bibliography. For 7th grade, I have them choose partners, and they do the "investigative reporter" slide show. They conduct an interview with the other person, asking a series of 15 questions. Some are the most embarrassing moment in their lives, their favorite foods as well as "kids today need to .....", fill in the blank. The kids love it! They also add pictures and if there is time, they can create music on garage band to upload to their presentation. For 8th grade, they use it as a "pitch" for the product they have created for their multimedia class. The 8th graders have to pitch their product to an audience through the slide show. They only have a limited amount of time and must present their product information professionally. The 8th grade class is almost like an apprentice type setup. They create a product, create all different things for that product, video(commercial), podcast (radio spot), letterhead, business cards, etc.. Hope this helps.. I usually let the kids run with it and they are so happy to do so! They love the pictures, etc. that they use. Also, www.freeplaymusic.com is a great resource for music mp3's. Make sure they click on mp3 when they are previewing the music! www.pics4learning.com is also a great site for pictures.
Games, that is a good idea. I never even thought of that one! Good work NewFoundLand...lets see if Toronto can beat that haha

I was thinking sharing PowerPoints online. There are a few file sharing ones out there i suggest you check out coop.
Posting these ppt's online can give the students the ability to showcase there work to the whole net. Get kids using the internet to post their work, ideas and creativity.

I watched Larry Lessig on Creativity and the Law link above, it was amazing. He talked about getting kids to create content and share it. He hinted at this point, saying the new generation were going to be the content creators and such. Maybe sharing PowerPoint online is therefore a good way to start this process.

Thanks,
Dave
If you want to see some fantastic ppts using games, then google Mark Damon. He has created some fantastic ppts that I use when we review based on tv shows - jeopardy, pyramid, family feud etc.
Look at this PPT - also relevant to math.
The challenge is to solve a series of exercises using simple elementary school math and we challenge the kids to do it with their parents. It's not that easy....
I appreciate all the feedback. If nothing else, your posts have inspired me to think more creatively. I like the Games because, as previously noted, I am trying to keep it curriculum based.

I also needed an update. What is going on in the corp. world. PPt. seems to becoming a necessary evil.

But what other ways can you present something?

Thanks again.
I have to chime in on this - PowerPoint is quickly becoming a code word in the business word for boring, drone-like behavior. While some people are using it to great effect by greatly simplifying the text and using large images on monochromatic backgrounds, the worst offense you can make is to show up somewhere with "a powerpoint". Oh, there is one even worse - using the Microsoft clip art, especially the little stick figure drawings.

If you want to see "what's hot" in presentation design, check out "meet henry"

(by the way, I copied this style for a Web 2.0 presentation teaser called, "meet jane". it was a fun exercise in style!)

Asking students to mimic a style is another great learning experience!

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