For some time now, Microsoft has been talking with educators, students, and others in education exploring how we can best provide experiences with technology that will engage students in the classrooms and overall, improve student learning outcomes. We’ve seen that everywhere students are excited about the use of technology in the classroom and engagement and participation increases when they have access to it.
But a common response from teachers has been that not enough students can engage directly with technology. Many classrooms—especially those without the resources or budget—can’t give all students the opportunity to engage directly with technology. Too often a typical classroom might only have 1 PC with a projector for the teacher and maybe a small handful of PCs for students to share, otherwise it’s off to the computer lab.
In the classroom many teachers already use and love PowerPoint, even those teachers that might be a bit hesitant with technology are comfortable with the basics of PowerPoint. Though we all know, if not used appropriately PowerPoint can tend to make students passive observers.
Enter Microsoft Mouse Mischief—a free add-in to PowerPoint that lets teachers create interactive presentations that makes learning more engaging. Mouse Mischief integrates with PowerPoint allowing teachers to create multiple-choice, matching and drawing question slides that students, each with their own mouse, can answer on a basic projection screen or shared PC. It’s available today to download free of charge—find it at the Mouse Mischief website and checkout the videos of Mouse Mischief in action.
There’s a wide variety of benefits we’ve seen to using Mouse Mischief in the classroom. The availability and low cost of mice makes Mouse Mischief a cost-effective solution, especially for tight classroom budgets. With Mouse Mischief, there’s no need to for teachers to learn a new application – once you install it, Mouse Mischief adds a ribbon menu to PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 and lets teachers use a tool they’re already comfortable with.
Mouse Mischief can involve shy or non-participative children—we’ve seen students who would never participate in class turn into the class’ biggest contributors And in many classrooms, we’ve noticed that students don’t have to feel insecure or ‘on stage’ when answering questions with Mischief, if they get an answer right, they receive positive feedback, if wrong, they can fix it without humiliation.
There are numerous potential uses for Mouse Mischief in the classroom and I am anxious see how creative educators put this tool to use in the classroom (let me know your thoughts below). We’re providing some templates that can be used immediately just by installing the add-in and getting a handful of mice. Some initial ideas for how you might engage students with Mouse Mischief:
Collaborative math problem-solving
Review and checks for understanding on important content using multiple choice and yes/no responses
Fun individual and cooperative team competitions
Drawing and matching activities
Please share your templates through the Mouse Mischief community page we have created on Office.com, where teachers can easily share their examples and find new ideas for Mouse Mischief presentations.
Insider tip: If you’re on Twitter:
I look forward to seeing how educators can create a little Mischief in the classroom (and sneak in some learning while you’re at it!) – a great way to engage students as we close-out the school year. Download it today and have some fun!