Avoiding Pointless PowerPoints

Microsoft PowerPoint...once viewed as the life-saving tool to create good content-based presenations, it has fallen into the abyss of educational doodads. Students simple use them as dumping ground for scattered bits of information.


Does this describe your frustrations with Powerpoints?

Used with permission from http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=3e2d61891b1e4051ef75 on Oct. 17, 2008.

Pointless Powerpoints:

  • are haphazardly arranged;
  • have too many distractions;
  • and not enough clear, focused content.

Creating Meaningful PowerPoints

  • Step 1 - Determine if PowerPoint is the right too for the project. Consider other mulitmedia options like MovieMaker or PhotoStory.
  • Step 2 - Once you've determined that this is the tool for your project, prepare a rubric to guide your students creative process. Use a tool like Rubistar (found on www. 4teachers.org) to easily create or modify a printable rubric. Include:
    • content accuracy
    • length of presenation (# of slides)
    • slide layout (e.g., amount of text and number of graphics, titles, sound, and animations)
    • background graphics appropriate for audience and theme
    • software requirements (e.g., Quicktime, Java, Flash, Windows Media Player)
    • File size (compressing pictures)
    • Storage and delivery requirements (CD, thumb drive, email)
    • Color schemes
  • Step 3 - Have students plan and organize their presentation in a storyboard before allowing them to use PowerPoint.
  • For students in need of a PowerPoint basics tutorial try www.actden.com

Next, following these steps should net good outcomes, but for better projects let's look at this link.


Once you've shown students how to create great PowerPoints by using more pictures and less text, help to pull it all together for a fabulous presentation that won't put the class to sleep.

Used with permission from http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=bebd3f6818359b0f8f6e&page=5&viewtype=&category= on Oct. 17, 2008.

Adding Sound to Play Continuously (Soundtrack)

  1. Add a sound, if you have not already done so:
  2. In Normal view, click the slide to which you want to add a sound.
  3. On the Insert tab, in the Media Clips group, click the arrow under Sound, and then do one of the following:
    Insert tab image
    Insert tab image
  4. When a message is displayed, do one of the following:
    • To play the sound automatically when you go to the slide, click Automatically.
    • To play the sound only when you click the sound icon, click When Clicked.
  5. To repeat the sound continuously until you stop it by clicking your mouse, click the sound, and then under Sound Tools, click the Options tab, and in the Sound Options group, select the Loop Until Stopped check box.
Sound Tools Options tab image
Sound Tools Options tab image

  1. To adjust the settings for when the sound file stops, on the Animations tab, in the Animations group, click Custom Animation.
    Animations tab image
    Animations tab image
  2. In the Custom Animation task pane (task pane: A window within an Office program that provides commonly used commands. Its location and small size allow you to use these commands while still working on your files.), click the arrow to the right of the selected sound in the Custom Animation list, and then click Effect Options.
  • ## On the Effect tab, under Stop playing, do one of the following:
    1. To stop the sound file with one mouse-click on the slide, click On click.
    • To stop the sound file after this slide, click After current slide.
    • To play the sound file for several slides, click After, and then set the total number of slides on which the file should play.