PowerPoint Power Ups – #6 – Performing, not presenting

imageJust in case you missed this on the Schools Blog. My latest post on my secret passion for PowerPoint.


In my constant quest to maintain and increase the awesomeness of PowerPoint, I thought I would share with you some previous posts outlining some great features that you may not have thought of before.

PowerPoint Power Up #1– LiveWeb View add-in – add live pages to your slides.

PowerPoint Power Ups #2–Interactive text boxes in presentations – type directly into your slides during a presentations.

PowerPoint Power Up #3–Logos and Vectors – create image and drawing tools in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint Power Up #4- Mind control! – How colours and fonts affect your audience.

PowerPoint Power Up #5 –ZoomIT – use this great app to zoom in and out of your slides.

I have heard the great Prof. Stephen Heppell talk about how we teach children to present using PowerPoint. Now, we have all sat through excruciating presentations, especially at staff meetings. He suggests that perhaps we should teach students to perform rather than present. So, I have started thinking about this from the point of view of how students control and interact with their presentation and found a few great little apps that add a whole new dimension to presenting. So creating opportunities for students to think differently about how they interact with their presentation and the audience.


imageWe have all seen the gesture control in Sci-films films like Minority Report, in real life, there is Kinect and there are some great resources available that could be utilised to control PowerPoint, such as those created by the K-Team . But, if you a looking for something a little simpler then try Flutter, this a great little free app for Windows that uses a webcam to recognise some simple gestures. Primarily designed to control media players, it can be used to move through slide in a PowerPoint presentation. This encourages presenters to move away from the PC and have their hands free.




Controlling PowerPoint with a games controller can offer a real performance dimension to presenting. First, download Xpadder. It’s not free, but at only $9.99 it’s great value. Xpadder allows students to program different functions to buttons and joysticks on a games controller. A single USB Xbox controller can used to emulate a number of key combinations in PowerPoint. Such as the Space Bar to advance a slide, P to access a previous slide or Ctrl+P to use the ink features. Mouse movements can be assigned to joysticks and if a background application is running such as ZoomIT, then functions of that app can be added as well. Collaboration between ‘performers’ can be expanded further if a wireless Xbox controller is used, then this allows up to four students to interact with a presentation. A whole different dimension can be added if an Xbox Guitar or Dance mat is used instead as a controller. This really opens up the whole idea of performing. Try it with your students.

Makey, Makey

imageFinally, here is one of those off the wall ideas that could possibly inspire you. Makey, Makey is a little board of electronics that allow students to create their own controllers out of almost anything. Such silver foil, plasticine, fruit (bananas are great), even pencil drawing. There is no programming involved as the board emulates a range of keyboard keys and mouse clicks. This makes ideal for students to build their own controller to control their PowerPoint presentations.

Here are some great examples from one of our award winning Partners in Learning teachers, Gareth Ritter.

A Banana Piano

A paper instrument

A floor Piano

Comments (1)

  1. Cameron @educto says:

    Great subject on performing and not presenting. I was tell my audiences to pay no attention to my PowerPoint deck. It is only there to match my wardrobe. It is a performance…a highly orchestrated performance but a performance nonetheless. A performance has to engage your audience emotionally, logically, and even entertain while informing. Presenters tend to leave their notes on the slide so that they can insult the audiences intelligence. Perhaps they should no longer be called PowerPoint presentations but PowerPoint performances.

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