Educ 5412 - The Computer in Education Summer 2005 (Morris M.Ed Cohort): Dr. Helen Mongan-Rallis


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Assignment 4: PowerPoint


The difference between forgettable presentations and effective technology-supported-learning is a matter of mindful approach, construction, delivery, assessment, and critical reflection (Glisczinski, 2005*). PowerPoint has for some time been a standard application as a tool to enhance presentations as well as a multimedia tool that can be used in a variety of other ways to communicate or enhance communication with a given audience. Some examples of ways in which PowerPoint can be used to these ends are:

  1. Similar to an overhead projector, used to display text to serve as a visual aid for enhance a verbal presentation.
  2. Expanding on the same purpose as (1) above, going beyond the overhead projector capabilities by including stationary pictures (photographs, clip art, drawings) and animations (video clips, animated pictures & drawings).
  3. Similar to (2) above, but specifically for slides shows, replacing the old slide projectors. [for example, download Photo Album that comes from the PowerPoint application packaged examples]
  4. Stand-alone learning stations (e.g. for a class) or kiosks (e.g. at an exhibit), where users watch a series of slides that are set on a timed loop or where they can manually advanced slides following prompts on the screen. [Download Kiosk example that comes from the PowerPoint application packaged examples] For learning stations, the notes pages that accompany each slide can include extra detail for viewers as needed (but then viewers need to be directed to view the notes on the computer, or else have a printed copy of the slides and accompanying notes for viewers to look at as they watch the presentation on the computer).
  5. For games, such as Jeopardy (See detail & example at How to Create a Power Point Jeopardy Quiz) or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
  6. Converted to Quick Time movies and shown as a movie.
  7. Converted to a web page so that slides can be viewed online (See Guidelines on How To Save a PowerPoint Presentation as a Web Page).

Key questions to ask are:



Part 1: Demonstration ability to use tools

Working on your own or with a partner (but each using your own computer), create a set of PowerPoint slides that demonstrates your ability to use the tools that are part of PowerPoint. Note: the content of these slides is completely unimportant to the purpose of this exercise. Please do not spend time thinking about the words you write on the slides or having the slides make any sense at all. All you need is to have text, pictures, and graphics on the page in order for you to apply the PowerPoint tools.

A good way to become aware of the different tools within PowerPoint is to go to the view menu --> select "toolbars" --> then from the bottom of the toolbars drop down menu, select "Customize toolbars/menus." From the dialog box that appears, check all the options, so that all these tool bars appear on the screen. Then play around with each of them to see what they do, making liberal use of the PowerPoint help documentation to guide you (even when you don't have a question, it's amazing the tips you can pick up from using the help documentation!)

Include the following:

  1. Slides: show that you can use different types of slides including title slide, bulleted list, 2 column text, table, text and chart, organizational chart, chart, title only, clip art and text, text & picture (in any combination), large picture, picture with heading, a collage of pictures on one slide
  2. Use notes page to expand detail on main slides
  3. Using different types of format (slide design, layout, color scheme, background)
  4. Changes to master slides
  5. Headers and footers
  6. Text formatted in a variety of ways: different sizes, style of font, color, bold, italics, underlined; also insert text boxes formatted in different ways.
  7. Formatting of paragraphs: use numbered and bulleted lists, and have a series of sublevels under the bullet and numbered lists; show different ways of formatting numbers and bullets, and animate these so they each appear separately.
  8. Use of drawing tools to create your own graphics (experiment with different types of boxes, circles, lines, call outs, color, etc)
  9. Photos and clip art that you have formatted in a variety of ways (e.g. resize, rotate, use different effects, giving shadow, adjusting variations, creating border, and in clip art, changing the color of different parts of the picture.
  10. Use custom animation effects for animating text and pictures on slides. Experiment with having different parts of graphics appear one at a time so as to build viewer understanding of a sequence of steps (e.g. arrows fly in to point to different parts of a diagram, one at a time).
  11. Use action buttons
  12. Sound: Insert music from CD, insert a sound file, record narration.
  13. Video clips
  14. Interactive slides: use hyperlinks to the Internet, to other slides within your presentation, and to other computer files.
  15. Save your presentation in different formats: standard, as a pdf, as a web page, as a movie, and as a package which runs automatically upon being opened. Save these all into the same folder and make sure your last name is part of the file name).

Part 2: Create a "real" set of PowerPoint slides

On your own or with a partner brainstorm common interests in something fun and professionally revealing which most folks could stand to learn more about. Professionally revealing means your choice reveals something important about you--in a way which provides subtle evidence of your merit as a professional educator. Then explore the possibilities for creating a project enjoyable, useful, and meaningful to you.

Incorporate the following content items into PowerPoint learning experience (approximately ten slides in length):

  1. An original and thematically fitting slide background (existing PPT designs will not be accepted)
  2. An interactive navigation slide or repeated element
  3. Judicious use of text in appropriate typefaces, point sizes, and colors
  4. Original, modified, and instructive images
  5. Borrowed, modified, cited, Fair-Use approved, and instructive images
  6. Instructive sound file(s)
  7. Instructive video file(s)
  8. Slide transitions, animations, and timings as are useful
  9. A references page with working URL links to cited sources (and other resources as you choose)
  10. A slide footer including your names, PowerPoint title, and page numbers
  11. High-contrast, readable content
  12. Your work saved as a regular presentation or as a PowerPoint package
  13. Submit these to Helen via web-drop. Helen will then upload these to her web site.

Checklist: Your work features . . .

Rubric for Part 2:







Striking utilization of space, shapes, colors, shades, modified images, text, sizes, and related elements create lucid readability and distinctive theme.

Layout is clearly original and technically demanding.

Smart combinations of space, shapes, colors, shades, modified images, text, sizes, and related elements enable solid readability and recognizable theme.

Layout appears original and skillful or is a fresh and skillful modification of an existing form.

Array of space, shapes, colors, shades, images, text, sizes, and related elements are functional.

Layout is a functional creation or reuse of an existing form.

Organization and form are confusing or insufficiently cohesive.

Layout lacks evidence of modification or personalization.


Interactive navigation, multimedia files, external links, and appearances, transitions, and timings are used in a manner which optimizes learning.

Interactive navigation, multimedia files, and external links are responsive and consistent.

Navigation, links, and related files generally work. Navigation, links, and related files are consistently unresponsive.


Project makes a compelling case for the value of its written content through highly developed and revised professional writing and reflection.

Project is conscientious in choice of content--as explained and demonstrated in reflective writing which requires little or no additional revision or explanation. Project communicates content with functional writing and reflection. Written content may contain frequent errors or reflection which lacks support and explanation.

Part 3: Reflection on what you learned

When notified by Helen that the class's PowerPoint presentations are on the website and the PowerPoint Web Crossing discussion has opened, view the presentations created by your classmates from your assigned WebCrossing PowerPoint group (and from other groups if you wish). Then incorporate the following reflection items in your assigned group's WebX discussion folder:

  1. What things your classmates have done with the design** of their PowerPoint which help you learn and that impressed you?
  2. What things your classmates have done with the design of their PowerPoint which might get in the way of your learning if you were a student/attendee in a class/session in which this presentation was given?
  3. Reflect on what educators ought to bear in mind when designing PowerPoint or any other presentation software. Explain why you have made these recommendations.

**note: in Educ 5412 you learn how to create the PowerPoint slides, but we do not yet focus on the actual teaching with the slides. Thus your analysis here is about the slides themselves. In Educ 5413 you will teach a lesson using PowerPoint, and at that point the focus will be on you actual delivery rather than on the slide design per se.

* Dan Glisczinski, Educ 5412 Rethinking PowerPoint, UMD Education Department (2005)

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