Young Learners and PowerPoint

Many times there is pressure to teach the “traditional” Office programs (word processing/spreadsheet/presenting software) in school. Parents and administrators have something tangible to see/say that their child/student is learning/getting computer skills. It is harder to recognize/put your fingers on skills like communication, collaboration and connections.

So far, we had started first graders out on using PP to create a presentation about an insect project. They were given a template with a predetermined number of slides and learned how to:

  • edit title of slide
  • enter bullets and text
  • add/change background color
  • insert transitions
  • insert clipart or images
  • save and retrieve their file

I attended a presentation Kinder can do PowerPoints too at TCEA this month, that got me excited about the possibilities of combining some 21st century skills and the introduction to a program like PowerPoint for our younger students.

The concept and design can of course be adapted to older students as well and is not limited to PowerPoint, but will work beautifully with the SmartBoard Notebook Software.

The idea is to not just give students a template that they learn how to edit by adding content, but to allow them to manipulate a file created by their teacher that shows their comprehension of a lesson.

They do not just sit through and watch a presentation file, but are in the driver seat to manipulate the PP file in the edit mode.


Steps for creating  your own unit/lesson activity for your students to manipulate:

  1. Decide what skills you want your students to learn or reinforce.
    1. Choose a book, lesson unit, or holiday
  2. Find or create media that contain the information you want your students to gather, process, or use in the activities.
    1. Use Discovery Education video segments (directly embed into PP) or download and convert (Zamzar) video files from YouTube before embedding.
    2. Look for Creative Commons licensed images on Flickr.
  3. Creating your  slides
    1. Title Slide with Student Name
    2. Slide with media for students to explore: text,  images, audio or video or combination
    3. Activity Slide 1
    4. Activity Slide 2
    5. Activity Slide 3 (number of activities depend on age of students)
  4. Record audio instructions for your students to follow on each slide. Reinforces written instructions.

Skills addressed:

  1. Reading
  2. Following directions
  3. Learning to listen to, read and watch in order to extract information and comprehension.
  4. Move from one slide to another
  5. Drag and drop
  6. Highlighting
  7. Deleting & entering text
  8. Extracting information in different media (audio/video/images)
  9. Printing (Handout view of their manipulated slide)

Comprehension activity types:

  • Drag and Drop
  • Sorting
  • Sequencing
  • Multiple Choice
  • True/False
  • Pointing to