The “cool” factor of PowerPoint (pt1)

Students always seem to get excited when a teacher explains that they are going to use PowerPoint for a project. There is something about PowerPoint that is creative, entertaining and appealing to kids.

My concern has always been that all of the focus on the “fluff” of PowerPoint will lead to PowerPointlessness. PowerPoint is a presentation tool so why is the content and message seem to be lost in the production?

I have come up with a solution that counteracts the focus on formatting and not on content. I teach students how to write out all of the content for their PowerPoint slides in a Word outline and focus on the ithumbs-up.jpgnformation before I allow them to open up the PowerPoint program.

Today I taught the students how to change Word from Print view to outline view and place all slide titles on Level 1 of the outline and all body content on Level 2 of an outline. Students spent several days researching their topic and writing out the information on the outline. Resources were cited right on the outline and the focus was clearly what information was to be conveyed in the presentation.

When the students completed the outline, they opened PowerPoint and then opened the Word outline IN PowerPoint – and presto – all the text was placed on the appropriate slides. The students reaction is the best part – they loved it. They were amazed that these two software pieces work together seamlessly.

In class we discussed the value of what we just accomplished. Students commented:

  • You can focus on the writing and not get distracted by playing with animations.
  • Its easier to keep your train of thought when working in outline view.
  • You can write the outline at home and then come to school to work on PowerPoint
  • You must set up the outline correctly otherwise this process doesn’t work.
  • It was cool to see all the text on the correct slides.
  • I never knew this could be done before.
  • I love learning new shortcuts!

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