Integrating Technology in the Foreign Language Classroom
|Jean LeLoup & Bob Ponterio
PowerPoint (Office 2003)
PowerPoint is very versatile and interesting presentation software.
You can create very sophisticated projects to make presentations on computer
screens, overhead projectors, slides, etc. As you work with this
new software, think about how it serves the needs of communication.
Once you have learned to work with PowerPoint, also think about how you
could incorporate this new skill into your classroom or business. One caveat;
PowerPoint, like most presentation software, was designed for business
presentations, not for education. Beware of the tendency to make very linear
presentations in which students remain passive and do not manipulate information.
Consider what the computer can really add to the lesson; do not use technology
to do what can be better done without the technology. Do the typical
default slide layouts provided really meet the needs of FL pedagogy?
i.e. Don't lose track of your goal.
|Find the PowerPoint icon on the Start menu or desktop and launch the
Choosing a presentation mode
||When you first open up PowerPoint, you will get a dialog box that will
ask you to choose from the following:
If you choose AutoContent wizard,
this will lead you to a progression of dialog boxes that will get you started
creating a presentation. It accomplishes this by asking for information
Type of presentation: General, Corporate, Sales, Personal, Projects,
How the presentation will be used
Type of output: for example, will your presentation be on a screen,
overheads, slides, and will you have handouts or not, etc.
It will also ask you for information for the title slide. Once you
have provided all of this information, you click on "finish" and it leads
you directly into the Outline mode.
|Choosing Template skips this preliminary
planning step and gets you immediately into choices of presentation design
and mode. When you select Template,
you get a series of windows that allow you to choose the presentation design
or background of your slides. You can preview all of these before
| If you choose Blank presentation,
you get a window that allows you to select from templates for type of presentation
and presentation design, much like in the Template window. You can
preview all of these before choosing them.
Choosing a layout
Once you have chosen a presentation design or background, the AutoLayout
dialog box appears. This allows you to choose the basic format of
your slides from another series of templates. Some examples are seen
||Template for a Title slide
|Template for an outline slide with bulleted entries
||Template for a slide with graphics and bulleted text
Other aids and special effects in PowerPoint
Toolbars allow you to organize the commands in PowerPoint the way you
want so you can find and use them quickly. Toolbars have commands,
menus, icons, and shortcuts. Resting your cursor on an icon on the
toolbar will bring up an explanation of that icon or shortcut. Clicking
on the menu options will reveal the commands and actions possible under
a given menu.
|For example, the Insert menu offers
many options that you will want to investigate, such as inserting sound,
pictures, objects, charts, movies, etc.
In addition to inserting sound, pictures, graphics, videos, and the
like into your PowerPoint presentation, you can also create other special
effects to enhance your project. You can create Transitions
between slides (e.g., dissolve, fly in or out, blinds, boxes, etc.).
You can also include preset and custom Animation
Settings for graphics and text on your slides. You can
even Hide Slides in your presentation.
All of these options are located under Slide Show
on the main menu bar. Remember that cute animations look cute the first
time but can quickly become annoying for the user.
First things first . . .
PowerPoint has many options, and you will discover them by experimenting
as you create your initial sample presentations. You do not have to be
fancy or complicated at first. Go ahead and begin to use PowerPoint
and see what it is capable of doing. Take small steps:
For starters, try creating a 4-5 slide presentation with just text.
Then add some graphics, sound, and branching among the slides.
Try out some PowerPoints for Spanish language instruction by Paul Widergren:
PowerPoint and Sound
Use embedded and linked sound files in PowerPoint
Playing MP3 Files during a slide show
PowerPoint And Sound
PowerPoint Tutorial: Adding Sound to a PowerPoint Show
Sounds/Movies don't play, images disappear or links break when I move or email a presentation
Introduction to Sound
for PowerPoint Presentations
Be careful to avoid the negative aspects of PowerPoint:
Edward Tufts, author of The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. One of my favoritepieces by him is:
PowerPoint Is Evil - http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/ppt2.html