Mixing it up with Office Mix – Tips for Students

The following post originally appeared in the November issue of #TheFeed, and looks at Office Mix from the perspective of a student, and highlights some of the best ways PowerPoint can be used as a learning aid, and not just a presentation tool.

So you’ve been back at school for a couple of months now - back into the swing of early mornings and a day dictated by the bell and no doubt, researching another project you’ve been asked to produce a fancy presentation for?

Reflecting on my time at school and university, I wondered what had been my biggest challenge and there was only one answer - presenting. Some of you might be ace when it comes to this, but I know for me it wasn’t that easy. Just the mention of the word ‘presenting’ and I was struck with that well known feeling of butterflies and, more often than not, some degree of nausea. The idea of standing in front of a group of people sharing ideas (without knowing they were any good) was terrifying. And I’m sure I’m not the only one?

So, I promised myself that this year I would find ways for myself and others to overcome this - find new tools, ways of thinking and other solutions that would allow me to deliver an engaging and confident presentation… and I think I’ve got it! Have you ever heard of Office Mix?

Of course you haven’t, but I know you’ve all used PowerPoint, right? Office Mix is a free add-on to PowerPoint which allows you to make your presentations engaging and interactive, in an easy and quick way. No more death by PowerPoint with slide after slide of text, with the odd transition thrown in. With Mix you can record video or audio over your slides, annotating them as you speak, insert quizzes or polls, online videos and so much more. You can even do a full screen capture and record anything that you want on your device!

This is all great stuff - but you need to know how this can help,  here are my top tips:

  • Use quizzes in your presentation to test the audience - they will be more engaged and listen to what you have to say
  • The best way to get better is by acting on feedback, so why not use the polls to get other people’s opinions?
  • Sometimes there are just some words you can’t get out when presenting, so why not prerecord those tricky tongue-twisters so there’s no messing up on the day!
  • There is nothing worse than relying on videos to play mid-presentation, but now you can use Mix to embed a video.  Panic over.
  • Trying to demo a website I had created to a live audience was one of my worst experiences - nothing worked. Now with Mix you can create demos with a live screen recording. No more ‘it’ll be alright on the night’.
  • If you don’t want the world and his wife seeing what you’ve created then Mix is perfect, you can upload it to Office Mix and just share it with whoever you want to see it.
  • If you don’t want to upload it at all, but want to share it, you can easily make it into a video so it can’t be edited when shared - so no one can be claiming your masterpiece as their own!
  • Use analytics to see who has viewed your slide and for how long - great to see what points you were clear on and where people may have been unsure.

Laura, Microsoft Student Ambassador


PowerPoint is free with Office 365, which is also available to students and teachers at no cost through their academic institution’s existing Microsoft Education Subscription. You can check your eligibility at Office.com/GetOffice365.

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