Virtual Learning 101: Basic PowerPoint
PowerPoint can be an effective tool to present material in the classroom and encourage student learning. PowerPoint is especially useful when providing course material online. Use PowerPoint to cue and guide the presentation rather than project long and complete sentences.
A teacher’s PowerPoint presentation is one way to share content with students that’s different from lecturing or teaching from the textbook.
And if a PowerPoint is put together correctly, it can be an effective way of reinforcing certain content to students so that they’re better able to retain it. What’s more is that teachers can print and distribute the PowerPoint presentation or post it online so students can go back and access it as reference material. It can add a new dimension to learning allowing teachers to explain abstract concepts, while accommodating all learning styles. However, if it’s not put together correctly, a PowerPoint presentation can disengage and make students bored.
The following are steps on how to create a basic PowerPoint presentation, however certain steps may vary slightly depending upon what version of PowerPoint you are using. This tutorial is specifically using PowerPoint 2010.
Step 1: Launch the PowerPoint Program
When you launch the PowerPoint program, you may be prompted to pick what kind of document you want to create. Choose to create a blank presentation. If it does not ask you this, a blank presentation will automatically launch.
Step 2: Choosing a Design
The next thing you want to do is decide what design you want for the presentation. To do this, go to the ‘Design’ tab at the top of the page. Scroll through all the options and decide which one looks best for the presentation you want. To get a preview of what the design will look like before applying it to the presentation, hover over the design you want to preview. This design will be automatically continued throughout the rest of your presentation. Once you have more than one slide, you can add a different design for just one slide. To do this, select the slide you want to change the design on by clicking on it. It will pop-up as the big slide in the screen. Then you can right-click the design you want for this slide and select ‘Apply to Selected Slide’. It will appear on that slide, but will not change the design of the other slides.
Step 3: Create Title Page
Click the first box that says ‘Click to add title’ and add the title of your presentation. Click the bottom box to add your name, or any other subtitle that you choose. Once you have your text in the boxes, you can change their font, size, color, etc. with the toolbar options at the top. You can change the size of the text box by selecting it, and then dragging the corners of the box. To move the text boxes, select the box, and move your arrow over the border of the box. A four-arrow icon will appear, and clicking with this icon will allow you to move the text boxes wherever you choose.
Step 4: Add More Slides
Chances are, you are going to need more than one slide. There are a few ways you can add more slides. Notice that there is a separate area to the left of the screen where your first slide is located. The first way to add a slide is to right-click the area under where your first slide is located and select ‘New Slide’. A new slide will appear. The second way to add another slide it to click ‘New Slide’ in the toolbar above the slides. This button is divided into two parts,. The top will insert a new slide with a default layout. You can also click the bottom half of this button, which will allow you to choose what type of layout you want. You can choose a slide with two text-boxes and a title, one text-box, only a title, and many other options. You will see your new slide appear to the left under the first, as well become the large slide that you can edit. The design you picked earlier will have carried over to this slide. The design will carry over for the rest of the slides you create unless you decide to change just one, like described earlier. The guideline layout you chose will appear, and you can then add in your information.
Step 5: Add Charts, Pictures, Graphs, Etc.
If you want to insert a chart, picture, graph, or any other graphic, click on the ‘Insert’ tab at the top of the window. Here you will see buttons of all the options of what you can insert into your slide. Click the designated box and insert what it is you want to have on that slide. A second way you can insert pictures and graphs is when you have an empty text or image box. Little pictures of the same options you saw in the toolbox will show up in the middle of the box, and you can click any of these to insert as well. Once you have your chart or picture, you can add a border or edit it however you want in the ‘Format’ tab.
Step 6: Add Transitions
To add transitions in between your slides, click the ‘Animations’ tab at the top of the page. Here you can scroll through all the options of transitions, and hover over them to see a preview. Select the slide you want the transition applied to, and then click the transition you chose. You can do this for every slide, selecting the same or different transitions.
Step 7: Changing the Order
Once you have all your slides made, you can change the order of the slides. To do this, click and drag the slides from where they are to where you want them in the order. Another possibility, which is particularly useful if you presentation is longer, is to click the ‘Outline’ button. You can find this small button above the left area where all your slides are located smaller, directly to the right of the ‘Slides’ button. Here you will see a list of all your slides and you can click and drag your slides to where you want them.
Step 8: Play the Presentation
Once you have all your slides completed and in the order you want, view your slideshow. Click the ‘Slide Show’ tab at the top of the page and select ‘From Beginning’. You can go through your entire slideshow, and change slides by clicking or pressing the right arrow. Congratulations! You have now made a PowerPoint presentation.
So how should teachers go about putting together an effective PowerPoint presentation? For starters, it should be simple. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun. Here’s a look at five tips that teachers can use to spruce up their PowerPoint presentations and make them an effective teaching tool.
Highlight a take home message
A PowerPoint presentation should be basic, simple and not distracting. It should also focus on keywords and a take home message. For example, always be sure to include a summary slide of what the presentation is intending to accomplish as well as a table of contents on the different topics that will be covered in the program. The summary slide serves as the main topic and what students should learn after viewing the presentation. Then, at the end of the PowerPoint presentation, teachers should include another summary slide, going over everything that was just covered and, again, highlighting the main point. Bottom line: keep PowerPoint presentations simple, but make sure they have a purpose and make sure that the purpose is made clear.
We’ve already gone over how a good PowerPoint presentation should always have a focus on what it intends to accomplish and it should always contain a take home message. Teachers can reinforce this take home message with pictures, charts, symbols and other images. In fact, sometimes it’s better to have more pictures than text in a PowerPoint presentation. Images work to reinforce a main point or message. Teachers typically will just share this content with their class, so they can pull images straight from the Internet. However, for teachers who are making more public and widespread presentations, copyright law will need to be considered.
Just as how pictures can help reinforce a main point or support content, so can videos. And studies say that students enjoy watching videos and retain information from them well, especially if the video is engaging, interesting and informative. Teachers can embed videos right from YouTube or from their desktops to complement a PowerPoint presentation.
Nothing turns off a class like a poorly put together PowerPoint presentation, so teachers should always be sure to do a quick rehearsal before they present it to the class. While testing it, make sure that all the images load up on the slides, that videos load up properly and that audio works, too. Also, it’s important for teachers to make sure that there’s a way to connect their computer, or upload anything that’s storing the PowerPoint presentation, to a larger TV monitor or projector screen so the whole class doesn’t have to huddle around a computer screen to view it. Teachers should also make sure that any text can be read clearly and that the color scheme is good.
Make it fun
A PowerPoint presentation can be an innovative way of teaching. Generally speaking, it’s a more interesting and engaging way for students to learn than the typical lecture is. Teachers should embrace this method of teaching and have fun with it. Throw in some jokes, possibly some funny pictures and be sure to get creative with presentations. The more fun that teachers have in putting together a presentation, the more fun students will get out of it. And as we previously noted, the more students enjoy a lecture, presentation or activity, the more likely they are to retain the information.