You’ll all be pleased to hear that I’m slightly less stressed than the last time I posted. The time has come to get back to some serious blogging so I’m going to let you know about the fun you can have creating multimedia branching PowerPoint presentations that include hyperlinks, hot spots, triggers, movies, narration and all the usual things you’d like to see. Light on text but full of information – the PowerPoints are designed to be structured, informative and interactive. I could go into more detail here but I’ve mentioned this sort of thing previously and Simon Haughton has posted some great info on branching PowerPoints on his blog if you need to find out more.
Now I fully realise that most of you are thinking ‘so what?’ as Microsoft PowerPoint is something we routinely cover and there are lots of other great presentation tools we can use. The thing is that Prezi and Animoto are not used at many secondary schools and children are expected to have a good understanding of PowerPoint when they get there. This means that, come transition time, a lot of the focus is on using ICT tools and applications that they’ll be using come Year 7. So, what can be done to make the sessions a little bit more exciting? Out of the options available to I think many topics, historical or geographical, work well combined with Google Earth.
When using Google Earth as a research tool it helps to use the ‘Global Awareness’ layer to investigate websites and organisations with links in this area. Pupils can click on various links and assess the information. They could choose to hyperlink to what they find, discard it or take a screen shot to include in their presentation. Some of the global awareness sites, links and pop ups are familiar to the most people and some might be totally new. They important thing here is that the pupils can assess and choose the ones they think would be most useful to include.
This is a really enjoyable way to use Google Earth, but students can also use a range of internet databases and internet based ideas to enhance their work. Tag Galaxy or Search Cube are great to find images or additional content. You could use a range on search engines and compared results before adding content. It’s just a great extension of internet research skills.