Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Gaming" Using PowerPoint


As I work, think, create and collaborate through the 2015 #CLMOOC,  I was reminded of the Interactive Mystery PowerPoint ‘games’ that my students created many years ago (See below). You have probably downloaded a popular game using Action Buttons in PPT and may not have even known it- Jeopardy! 
Since this week was about gaming, I wondered how PowerPoint might be used as a game and hopefully, a game for learning. I have included in this post links to a Google Folder with a couple examples of how an Interactive PPT might be used in the classroom. 

First, simply learning how to set up a PowerPoint (PPT)  game using Hot buttons is a valuable tool/skill for many purposes.  Everything from stories to learning centers can be created using the Hot Buttons on PPT.  With all the new-fangled tech tools out there- PowerPoint is often forgotten or disregarded, yet many teachers do not have Internet connection or they have limited access to computers- so PPT is a viable alternative for tech projects and learning centers that do not require the Internet and depending on use, may only require a limited number of computers to implement.

So what is a hot button? It is a clickable picture or icon that can lead you to any slide you want students to go to.  To find the hot buttons- open a PPT- click on the Insert tab- then click on shapes and scroll all the way down to the bottom- you will see “Action Buttons” .


The Action buttons include going forward or backward to any slide, a blank button where you can insert your own text or image/icon, an action button that allows for a link to a movie, a document; an “I” button for information you want to provide and so on.  To change the color of the Action Button, right click and go to format shape.  Cited:

 Click on the button you want, you can size it and then choose what slide you want it to link to- the best way to do this in my opinion is to create all your slides FIRST- then when it’s time to link the Action or Hot button- right click on the button and click on “Edit Hyperlink”.  At “Hyperlink to” change the drop-down menu item to “slide” and you can actually SEE the slide you want to connect to.  Much easier!  (You might only see “hyperlink” when you right click. If so, click on it- make sure it indicates “Place in this Document” on the left side of the window that opens- then under “Slide titles”  you can click on each one to see it- selecting the one you want to link to.)


Another tip is to go to Transitions tab- and over on the far right- be sure you remove the check mark from “Advance Slide- On Mouse Click”. You want ONLY the buttons to move the slides. If you fail to remove the check mark you can click anywhere and the slides will advance; the buttons become useless. 

So how can PPT be used to set up a gaming type learning experience?

Centers: You can create a center for learning that allows students to click on a particular number that you assign (differentiating) or have students work through sequentially. The PPT center is a great tool for those early finishers in class. Math practice, creative writing prompts, the sky’s the limit as to what you direct students to do using this tool as a learning center-  Best of all, you only need one or two computers to offer this opportunity to students. 

Click Here for a link to my TPT store where I offer two centers- one on informational reading and the other for Literary reading. There are up to 24 activities offered for those early finishers, differentiation, etc.

Creative Writing: Students can create choose your own adventures or any type of story that is more interactive in nature. Included in the Google Folder is a Choose Your Own Adventure Story that I began to give you an idea for how one might be set-up. Here is a link to my TPT store where I have a Mystery E-book PowerPoint student sample, directions for how to create the E-books (although you really don’t need that once you’ve read this!) and a class vote sheet for the E-books so everyone gets to view their peers’ creations.

Interactive Learning:  Get them out of their seats! If you have a SMART or Promethean Active board you can create modules that allow students to come to the board and make their choices.  You can also save the module to your website for student access individually or in small groups/partners.  Included in the Google Folder is the beginning of an Active/Passive Game for students to put their knowledge to the test.

You know your content and what you want students to learn! Using PPT and the Action buttons is a great way to give students variety in their learning experiences.  But don’t stop at creating them yourself, allow students to learn about PPT – a great way for them to demonstrate their learning by creating a game or activity that showcases what they know or they can create a fun interactive story which takes quite a bit of critical thinking to produce.  Whatever the idea, PPT and the Action Buttons are versatile and provide an accessible option for learning in the classroom. 

Here’s a fun PPT Game created by Susan Watson where participants created their own vocabulary words to describe an emotion. 

Do you use PPT Action Buttons? How? Share ways you've set up PPT for gaming or interactive learning experiences for your students or how your students have used this versatile tool!