Saturday, 6 March 2010

Using PowerPoint to Liberate Myself!

One of my New Year Resolutions was to free myself from the stigma of not ever having produced a Power Point Presentation (PPT) in my whole life. I can now safely say that I have lifted this personal inhibition and well, maybe, there is no stopping me now!! I feel that I must be the last teacher on this planet to have created her own PPT. Why is this? Why did I have such a fear of this particular tool? Was it because all the PPTs I have seen from colleagues and in my PLN look so wonderful and professional? The inexplicable fear of falling flat on my face with my own creations was preventing me from unleashing my creativity? Who knows?

Create your own Animation

Credit Due
Reading motivational posts such as Karenne Sylvester's "Powerpointing Grammar" or recently, Shelly Terrell's post on "Conquer your Fear" , and also watching this excellent tutorial from TeacherTraining videos by Russell Stannard, have definitely all played a part in my determination to "beat the fear and do it anyway". I have already published "Images4Education" and "Digital Story" on Slideshare. I now have the courage to post my very first attempt at a PPT, tentatively begun in a sandbox area in November 2009.

Learning and Sharing
Other projects I am working on at the moment that I would like to share involve using more images, and phrasal verbs, my favourite teaching subject. I am currently developing a PPT on Google Docs, which I have recently been using with my fellow coursemates from my Moodle4Teachers course, Radney from Canada and Elyse from the Canary Islands. The exciting world of creating PPTs via Google Docs and editing them simultaneously is something the three of us have been doing for quite a while now during our eagerly anticipated weekly meetings via Skype and Googlewave. Up until last week, I had only ever edited existing Google Docs PPTs for our course work, but we had an impromptu teaching tutorial (at 11pm my time!) and I actually learned all about creating a new document, changing the background, the design and other key features. It was a great "learning and sharing" evening! This is what 2010 is all about for me personally so far, and it is truly the most fantastic feeling in the whole world. In fact, "Learning and Sharing" is happening 24/7 right now at this very minute, via Twitter for example.

Sites about PowerPoint Presentations
Pete's Power Point Station - a fantastic collection of free Presentations in PPT format for teachers and students, which includes free interactive activities for kids (found via my Twitter PLN)and on Free Technology for Teachers.
How to Create a PowerPoint Presentation from
View the following video "How to make a good PowerPoint" by Seth Dickens.

As you can see after watching the excellent tutorial above, I have got a huge amount to learn!!!

You can also view Seth Dickens' excellent blog post and lesson ideas on "Death by PowerPoint".

As an addendum, I have just been tweeted this link to a Powerpoint tutorial via @ Seth Dickens. Have a look at this. "Visual Design Basics" from Sumeet.moghe.
It is very good and its message is cristal clear.


Shelly Terrell said...

What a great post filled with so many wonderful resources. I especially loved Seth's presentation. It was truly inspiring. You did a great job on your Moodle presentation as well! I still struggle with PowerPoint. Now, I'm trying to do a Prezi but I feel as if I bit off more than I can chew so we'll see how that goes ;-)

Janet Bianchini said...

Thank you so much Shelly, for your encouraging words. I agree Seth's presentation is so inspiring. I think the main message in it is to keep things simple, don't overcrowd the page and use good images. I'm going to try to follow his advice on my next PPT I am currently working on!

It's great fun to experiment. However, I had a panic station yesterday when I thought I had deleted all my carefully selected different backgrounds! After "fiddling around" for a few minutes, I discovered a special button which tracks all the changes made. I was able to find my previous edition and successfully reinstated the original slides. I was thrilled to find out about this. "Learning by doing" is a great motto!

Good luck with your Prezi. I am absolutely certain that it will be a great one, and I look forward to seeing it when it is published!

popps said...

er... you are not exactly the last on the planet not to have done a power point, i confess.

Danny Maas said...

Congratulations and thank you for your honesty and courage! I encourage you to use PowerPoint not only for slide presentations, but for so many other things as well such as digital storytelling, creating graphic organizers, magazines, animation, and the list goes on! I've created some video tutorials about this (and other tech things) on my blog TILT - Teachers Improving Learning with Technology . All the best!

Janet Bianchini said...

For some reason, I made myself think I really was the last person on this planet! However, maybe I should have actually said "the last person from my colleagues and close contacts", which narrows it down considerably more.

Anyway, if I can do one, I am sure you could do one if you really wanted to. I am still teaching myself by looking through the links I put on this post. I don't think it's as difficult as I'd talked myself into believing it was!! Mine are pretty basic at the moment and I would love to learn how to do the animations, but that will come much later, I hope.

Why don't you give it a go and surprise yourself pleasantly?

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Danny

Thank you so much for your helpful tips on ways of using PPTs. I have just viewed your magazine PPT video tutorial, which is great! It will be something to aim for in the future, when I am a more confident user.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Chris

My comment beginning "For some reason.." is an answer to your comment. Sorry it didn't come directly after your post.

popps said...

It's ok, i'm following! :-)

Seth Dickens said...

Coo.. thanks for blogging this Janet. I only found out that you'd posted it just now from Shelly.

Must admit, I've had some wonderful cross-cultural lessons from my students after showing them this. Lovely presentations where the class shared their backgrounds (Pakistan, Angola, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Italy... all in one class)

My students' quality POwerPoint slides really brought their talks to life. A nice "heart-warming" lesson :)


Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Seth

Thank you so much for popping by to comment here. I can't begin to tell you how much your PowerPoint post has inspired me. It is full of great, practical and visual advice. You really can learn just by viewing.

I am currently working on another PPT to use in a lesson for teachers next month and hope it will incorporate a lot of the tips. I think the cropping bit looks a bit difficult and so I will leave that hi-tech sort of thing until I am more proficient!

Once again, many thanks Seth, and have a great time in Dresden, a city I will never forget in my life.