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by Bart Everson

Embrace Keyboard Shortcuts

Everyone know that I am a hug(e) advocate of keyboard shortcuts. They are easy to learn and will give your productivity a boost. If you really enjoy sitting in front of your computer, and want to spend more time doing that every day while getting less done, then by all means ignore them — but the rest of us will want to memorize our keyboard shortcuts.

Everyone also knows that I do not use PowerPoint, have never used it, and generally avoid Microsoft products as if I was afflicted with a life-threatening allergy.

So that's why you've never heard me talk about keyboard shortcuts for PowerPoint.

Fortunately Scott Schwertly, famed presentation expert, has compiled a list for you. These are keyboard shortcuts you can use when actually presenting with PowerPoint. Extremely handy, if you ever do that. Check it out.

by Janice Florent

female talking into a microphone

Did you know that you can add voiceovers (recorded narrations) to PowerPoint presentations? Adding recorded narrations to PowerPoint presentations is a useful feature. Benefits of adding recorded narrations to PowerPoint presentations include:

  • Presentations with voiceovers can be played back by students at their convenience.
  • Students can review the presentation over and over again until they grasp the content.

It’s not difficult to add voiceovers to PowerPoint presentations. Your computer must be equipped with a sound card, microphone, and speakers for you to record and hear the voiceovers.

Kelly Walsh, of EmergingEdTech.com, created this 3-minute Teaching with Tech Tip: Voice Over PowerPoint 2010 video that explains how to do it.

The eLearning Department at Champlain College posted some tips for recording narration into PowerPoint that you may find helpful. Additionally, you can find further explanation on setting and using slide timings at Microsoft's website.

Caution: Adding voiceovers can significantly increase the size of your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a long presentation with a lot of recorded narration, it may take a little while for students to download the file.

by Janice Florent

death by PowerPoint cartoon

Nowadays more classrooms (virtual and face-to-face) have the ability to project and share a variety of computer-based materials. One of the most common methods of sharing information with students is to use PowerPoint presentations. Although PowerPoint can be a powerful teaching tool, it has been soundly criticized for producing boring presentations, full of endless content that fails to show context and relationships between ideas. This tendency of PowerPoint obviously works against what professors should strive for: stimulating students to connect ideas and engage in critical thinking.

I came across these tips in an Atomic Learning blog post that may help to resuscitate PowerPoint presentations:

  • Mix up your media – don’t rely solely on text or clipart, consider other media types (e.g. photos, video clips, music)
  • Use eye-catching graphics/software - an impactful visual experience can be created when you use eye-catching software and graphics
  • Send content ahead of time - consider "flipping" your presentation
  • Intersperse content with discussion, group exercises, and reflection time

If these tips have piqued your interest, you can read more in the article, 6 Ways to Avoid Death by PowerPoint.