After the fabulous few days I spent in Cardiff last week I’ve come away inspired about a couple of things: tools for developing thinking skills and PowerPoint Macros. I have talked about using macros before but I have now discovered that my favourite Drag and Drop Macro has been improved and now does all sorts of things! The advantage here is that the slides can contain some custom animation (although not on the objects to which the macro has been applied) and the macro just does so much more. I had seen Alessio Bernadelli (follow him on Twitter here) showcase some items he had created with it – now I was going to have a go.
I started out by trying to develop a comic strip creator that would run as a PowerPoint show and I asked some friends to test it out. Here I stumbled across a few little niggles. Firstly the macro only runs properly on some versions of PowerPoint: it won’t work properly on 2010 and it also doesn’t run on a mac (but I’m sure someone will iron out these issues before too long). Secondly, not everyone remembers to enable their macros (or how they can do it) . But these are just minor quibbles. I was quite pleased with the comic strip creator and intend to make some more. I even gave it a pop up menu, similar to one I had seen Alessio create, which I think works quite well. But I had other ideas in mind for the macro so I’ll come back to the comic strip at a later date. Now…onto the next thing.
I decided to move on to some templates I thought would assist with developing thinking skills. I had been creating some resources for discussion (with a bit of help from some others including Danny Nicholson) and thought it might be nice to create some templates so teachers could present their own ideas and spark of discussion in the classroom – not just during science but during any subject lesson. I finally came up with TimeforDiscussion (and followed this with different style of it in TimeforDiscussion2 and TimeforDiscussion3) which I hope will be useful in helping teachers set up points for discussion. Again, I have to give a massive shout out to Alessio who checked everything for me and ironed out a few glitches – the man’s a trooper 🙂
As a final fling I created a learning caterpillar template for younger children, based on yet another idea from Alessio butgiven a child friendly makeover to make it more accessible to younger pupils. I think I might go a step further with this and add some sound files too, but we shall see. Why don’t you download MyLearningCaterpillar (in pps format: for ppt format click here) and see what you think. I think the more tools we have for developing thinking in younger pupils the better!