We love the power of PowerPoint! The multimedia features allow students to interact with information in a variety of ways including text, graphics, animation, video, and sound. They allow students to choose their sequence of learning or receive reinforcement during activities through the use of hyperlinking. They also enable teachers to create engaging electronic or tangible instructional materials, such as interactive lessons and quizzes, Jeopardy-style games, choose your own adventure stories, graphic organizers, adapted books, task sequence cards, countdown timers, and more.
In our previous blog, we talked about creating graphic organizers and visual supports using graphics in MS Word. Are you familiar with SmartArt? If not, you should definitely check it out! This graphic organizer feature is built into Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. It provides a visual representation of information and ideas, such as such as relationships, processes, and more. There are more than 200 different graphic layouts, including lists, processes, cycles, hierarchies, relationships, matrices, pyramids, and pictures built into SmartArt. You can add text and graphics, and customize the colors.
So, where is this wonderful tool? It’s found on the Insert tab. When you select Insert > SmartArt, a window opens from which you can Choose a SmartArt Graphic, as depicted in Figure 1.
Note: To view our blog graphics in a larger size, click on the photo gallery below this blog entry.
In PowerPoint, SmartArt has an extra special feature that allows you to easily convert a bulleted list of text to a SmartArt graphic. Start by creating your bulleted list, highlight the text, and right click. In the menu that appears, select Convert to SmartArt, and select from the graphic choices, as depicted in Figure 2.
SmartArt instantly replaces the bulleted list with the graphic you selected. You can add pictures to any of the design elements to further support the content by formatting the shape. Instructions on converting a bulleted list to a SmartArt graphic are at http://bit.ly/ppt_smartartgraphics Just like that, you can progress from a bulleted list of words to a graphic organizer with text and pictures, as depicted in Figure 3.
Also, check out the great Microsoft resources on SmartArt at http://bit.ly/ppt_smartart
Did you know that you can easily create countdown timers in PowerPoint? The graphics provide visual representations to teach time concepts and time management skills.
How do you make a basic countdown timer? For this example, let’s make a five minute timer. Start by creating Slide 1 with five graphics and the number 5, as depicted in Figure 4.
To make it more meaningful to the students, select a graphic that represents their school mascot or a favorite activity. Duplicate the slide four times. Next, modify the four slides to reflect the time change by removing graphics, one at a time, and changing the number. Slide 2 has four graphics and number 4, slide 3 has three graphics and number 3, slide 4 has two graphics and number 2, and slide 1 has one graphic and number 1. Add one more slide 6 to represent “Time’s Up!” with a clip art graphic, as shown in Figure 5. Make it more fun by adding a sound effect, such as an alarm, by selecting the_ Insert_ tab >_ Audio.
Set the time interval to advance slides 1 > 5 automatically after one minute by selecting the Transitions tab (PPT 2010) or the Animations tab (PPT 2007 and earlier), as depicted in Figure 6. More detailed instructions are available at http://bit.ly/ppt_timer
Don’t have time to make your own timer? No worries. Countdown timers are available on the Internet to download for free that you can customize to meet your needs. One of our favorite website resources, loaded with amazing timers, is at www.a6training.co.uk/resourcespowerpoint.php.
Did you know that you can quickly and easily insert and organize numerous photos from classroom, home, and community-based activities into PowerPoint using the Photo Album feature? These can be used to create great visual supports for communication, instructions and task-sequencing for math and science activities, scavenger hunts (take photos of all the tetragons in the classroom), prompts for writing and oral reports, and more! They can be used electronically in a PowerPoint presentation on a computer or interactive whiteboard, adding narration if desired. They can also be printed to create visuals for the classroom and home.
So, where is this valuable feature? It’s on the Insert tab > Photo Album. Select the Photo Album button and then select New Photo Album, as shown in Figure 7.
The Photo Album window will appear, as shown in Figure 8. Select the File/Disk button to locate the photo files that you have saved in a folder. You can select all of the photos by clicking on the first file, holding down the keyboard Shift key, and clicking on the last file. Select_ Insert. Your photo files will appear in the Pictures in album_ window, with a Preview of the selected file. You can change the orientation, contrast, or brightness of any photo, and customize your slide show by changing the photo sequence and number of photos per slide, style of picture frames, and adding captions and titles. Click the Create button, sit back, and admire your work! Detailed instructions are available at http://bit.ly/ppt_photoalbum
These are just a few of our favorite PowerPoint features that support Universal Design for Learning and provide access to math and science activities for students with diverse learning styles and needs. What are some of your favorite PowerPoint features? Please share them with us in this blog.
Thanks for spending time with us. Happy exploring! Tara and Cindy