Monday, August 2, 2010

Interactive PowerPoint Presentations

Most PowerPoint presentations are used to as visual aids for a lecture or presentation. As such, they do not have to stand on their own. The speaker will fill in the details and keep the presentation engaging – or at least that is the plan. However, PowerPoint presentations can also be used as a self-paced leaning activity. This has the advantage of allowing the viewer to control the flow of material. If the presentation is designed for individual viewing, you can include more information in a slide, or you can narrate each slide to replace the live speaker. Try to layer the information so that it is presented a little at a time in a logical fashion, rather than all at once. For example, show a contactor with a title that names it: Contactor. Use the same picture on the next slide and add text that generally describes what it does. Then do a series of slides that label the parts: coil, contacts, L1 & L2, T1 & T2. The idea is to introduce the information a little piece at a time in a logical manner. After all the parts are located, have a series of interactive slides that ask the viewer to click on different parts.

Use shapes to make the clickable points. You can add shapes on top of a picture by gong to the “Insert” tab, clicking on “Shapes”, and clicking on a square or circle. Draw a square or circle over the area you want the viewer to click. It normally will draw a filled object. To make it transparent, click on the “Format” tab, click on “Shape Fill” and click “No Fill.” You can now see through the object, but the line is still there. You can leave the line as a general guide, or you can make it disappear as well. If you don’t want the line, click on “No Outline.” However, wait to do that until after you are finished designing the page because you won’t be able to see the object.

To make the object interactive, select the object, click on the insert tab, and click on “Action.“ A dialogue box will pop up that allows you to choose the action you want. First, you choose if the action is from a “click” or a “mouse over.” Then you can choose between a hyperlink, running a program, or running a macro. I like hyperlinks because they are relatively simple to do. The hyperlink can go to any slide in the presentation, an address on the internet, a file, or even another PowerPoint Presentation. If you know the viewer will have online access, you can hyperlink to manufacturer’s web sites to incorporate publicly available information in an organized fashion. Rather than just pointing your students to YouTube, the PowerPoint presentation can direct them to specific YouTube videos that fit in with the lesson.

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