Episode 5: A whole new PowerPoint!

Today's show is about a topic that I haven't thought much about over the past year, but it was an idea I was introduced to by Glen Lehmann in my master's program, and it's an idea I've used in my classroom before. I really liked the final product, although there was some tweaking that I will be doing before I reintroduce it to my students this year.

I'm talking about a whole "new" way of using PowerPoint. Now, the idea is clearly not new, and it isn't something I came up with, either. However, the "new" portion of it is in how we think about PowerPoint and how we utilize it. Typically, PowerPoint and other presentation software is used to deliver a linear presentation. That means we start at one end and work our way straight through to the other end of the presentation. It's the way most people use PowerPoint, and it certainly has many benefits.

However, today's show is talking about non-linear presentations. In this style of presentation, a central presenter/speaker is not necessary. The audience/viewer gets to interact with the PowerPoint, directing their own experience by manipulating the PowerPoint with directions created by the creator of the presentation. It is really a different way of using PowerPoint, and it allows the creator of the presentation to really focus on content and manipulation of content, as opposed to concerning themselves with their presentation. It also engages the audience more and allows the viewer to do what many of our kids know best: interact with the content. It is a perfect way to make the existing curriculum in your classroom something that students can manipulate and interact with.

Links from the Show

Guides and Tutorials: Non-linear PowerPoint tutorial:

This is a handy little walk-through of what non-linear PowerPoints are, how to plan for them (planning for these types of presentations is far different and more intricate than planning for a linear presentation), and how to tweak the "user interface" of the presentation. There are also some great flash videos on the site that will actually demonstrate how to create the presentation in a step-by-step, easy to follow manner.

Internet4Classrooms Online PowerPoint Assistant:

The Internet4Classrooms website has a wide variety of tutorials aimed at teachers who need to brush up on their skills in various programs. I particularly like this site because the creators of the site assign levels to each tutorial. For the very beginner, there is a "Basic" category; for the advanced user, advanced tutorials are available.

Baltimore County Public Schools PowerPoint Guide:

I didn't mention this resource in the show, but I've used the tutorials on this site before, and I really like them. The tutorials are from the BCPS Office of Instructional Technology, and the folks who put these together seem to really know their stuff and break down the steps of some more complex PowerPoint tasks with ease. If you need more help with your understanding of PowerPoint, check this site out.

Examples of Non-Linear PowerPoints:

If you have an interest in seeing what this kind of PowerPoint looks like before you set out to create your own, or if you struggle to wrap your mind around non-linear PowerPoints, check out this site. There are several good examples that will introduce you to some of the possiblities that exist within this use of PowerPoint.

Classroom 2.0:

I mentioned it several times in the show, and I will link to it here, again. If you haven't logged on to Classroom 2.0, you really need to try it out. The best advice I can give, though, is to not be afraid to make connections with the community. Find like-minded educators/professionals on the site and send them a message or write a note on their page. Your willingness to reach out to meet them will pay enormous dividends and will be rewarding and enjoyable. If you sign up, you can find me on the site: brianyearling.

Tech Trial - Pandora:

You will love this online radio station for use in your classroom. Sign up for free, identify artists you really like, and kick back and wait for your musical library to be greatly expanded. They consider the artists you like, and they select artists you may also like that you have never heard before. Best of all, if you like it, you can add the artist to your station. If you don't like it, you can block them from the station never to be played again. Fun resource that will liven up your classroom and will make your hours of work time pass with ease.

If you've got questions, comments, ideas, suggestions, or want to share your use of non-linear PowerPoints with me, send it to: gettingtechintoed@gmail.com

Thanks for listening.
Brian Yearling

Host and Instructional Technology Enthusiast