Using Excel to create a ‘drag and drop’ activity

Regular followers of this blog, will know that I am a big fan of Excel and use it lots as a teaching and learning tool. One way that I have used it, is when creating drag and drop activities.

I think this technique is excellent – as:

  • It is very quick for me to create
  • It promotes higher order thinking skills
  • It can be printed, used on a computer, or an Interactive Whiteboard
  • You can introduce an element of self-marking, by simply giving the learners a completed example by an expert (you) for them to compare their responses to.

These 4 videos will take you through the skills that are needed to create a simple drag and drop continuum activity.

The first video is an introduction showing, what is possible

The second video shows the skills required to draw the continuum

The third video shows the skills required to create the dragable shapes

The final video shows how to finish off the activity.

The videos above although produced by myself belong to the JISC RSC SE

Using hyperlinks within PowerPoint

In an earlier blog post, I linked a series of screencasts showing how to use drawing tools within PowerPoint to create a well formatted diagram such as a flowchart, I then showed how to use animations with this diagram.

This next sequence of screencasts will go through the principles of hyperlinking and how the diagram created earlier can be converted into a highly effective, highly versatile learning object.

The first video shows what is possible

The second video shows how to add a simple hyperlink to a presentation

The third video shows how to link to other files, including how to link to a specific part within the file (e.g. to a certain page in a Word document, a certain slide in another PowerPoint presentation or a certain sheet in Excel)

The forth video shows how to link to a different slide within the same presentation. In this case I am linking from the diagram produced in an earlier series, but the principles work with text, or photos.

The fifth video shows a similar technique to the previous video, but the diagram remains visible at all times, which when created correctly looks very professional.

The sixth video shows how to add hotspots over a photo, so when you click on parts of the photo, it takes you to a slide based on what you clicked on.

By applying the skills learnt in the above sequence in different ways, it is possible to create very effective, engaging learning objects.

The videos above although produced by myself belong to the JISC RSC SE

Instructions on how to use animations in PowerPoint 2007

I have created 5 screencasts showing some simple ways on how to use animations within PowerPoint to create learning objects. These sequence follows on from an earlier sequence of clips, showing how to craw in PowerPoint – https://davefoord.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/simple-drawing-techniques-in-powerpoint/

The second clip shows possibly the simplest form of animation which is to get items to ‘appear’. I personally prefer the ‘Appear’ option to having things ‘flying in’ from the side, as I think it looks cleaner and crisper, and if you have lots of flying animations, people can become sea-sick.

The third clip uses the ’emphasis’ animation option, which I think is very under-used (a lot of people don’t know about it). It takes a bit of experimenting to get things to look good and not ‘tacky’ but I have created some very effective Presentations using the emphasis options.

The forth clip use something called ‘Triggers’ which again is very under-used. Most PowerPoint presentations are linear – where the tutor pre-determines the order that the presentation will progress and then during delivery that order is followed with only the ability to move forwards and backwards. Triggers allow you to create animation that are then ‘triggered’ by clicking on something, and thus you can move away from the linear nature of a presentation.

Triggers are used in many of the PowerPoint resources available on my website at http://www.a6training.co.uk/resources_powerpoint.php

The final clip in the sequence, combines the idea of emphasis (clip 3) with the idea of triggers (clip 4) to create a diagram where clicking on parts of the diagram draws emphasis to that part of the diagram.

The videos above although produced by myself belong to the JISC RSC SE

Simple drawing techniques in PowerPoint

I have been called many things in my time (some pleasant, some less so) including perfectionist, obsessive behaviour, pedantic. Now I don’t think that I am a perfectionist (if you saw the state of my house, office, car – you would see why), but in one area of work I am certainly pedantic, and I think I have developed an obsessive disorder. This area is the way that people create images in Word or PowerPoint:-

I often see high level presentations, keynote speeches, websites and even expensive glossy printed literature advocating the use of technology – where they have created sloppy drawn images – now this frustrates me, and when I am sat in the audience and someone is ‘training’ me – I look at their badly drawn image on the screen, and think ‘You cannot even run a spellchecker, you can’t draw 2 boxes the same size, and why is there a gap in that bent arrow? – How can I trust your expertise on……’

Although others may not react in the same way to me, I am sure that all will agree that a well constructed diagram or image will have a far better impact on learners than a sloppy image – and the sad truth is that it is very easy to do (unfortunately though the skills are often not taught).

So in order to right the wrongs I have produced this sequence of 5 screencasts, showing how it is possible to quickly create a professional looking flowchart in PowerPoint (or Word or Excel).

The first video was the introduction seen above

The second video looks at how to create the shapes, making sure they are all the same size, all formatted the same.

The third video looks at what has to be the best kept secret within Microsoft Office – and that is the align and distribute tools, if you haven’t used them before please have a look – they will save you lots of time and make a huge difference to your output.

The forth video, shows the second best kept secret within Office – the connectors tool, which will again save lots of time and improve the quality of output.

And the final video, shows the group, and ungroup tools within Office.

I hope that these videos will make a difference to the quality of presentations that are used, and will help me to overcome my obsessive behaviours and PowerPoint rage!

The videos above although produced by myself belong to the JISC RSC SE.