Tag Archives: computer education

Quick Search Tip for Quality Results

site:search

Any search tip that makes online research more efficient is a welcome relief for teachers and students. Researching online with students can be a time consuming and sometimes frustrating task. The amount of information available on the Internet is mind boggling. Too often searches result in a lot of worthless or irrelevant information, or data of questionable trustworthiness. How can searches limit results to quality content?

Limit a search to a website

Site:search is a great way to save time and limit search results. This method restricts a search to a particular site or a specific type of site. It’s simple: in the search box, type site: followed by the limiting factor and search topic.

For example, if you want to just search the Smithsonian website for information on Wilbur and Orville Wright, type site:smithsonian.com wright brothers. Results yielded will be all references within the Smithsonian web archives, instead of the millions of suggested sites that will appear after a search for ‘wright brothers’. Left out are blog or opinion articles, all commercial sites using the name Wright Brothers, or any other unrelated sites. As an added bonus, since the source of all information will be the Smithsonian Museum, you know that the facts will be authentic and trustworthy.

Limit a search to a domain type

Learn Research SkillsInstead of limiting a search to just one site, you can restrict it to a type of site. This eliminates a whole minefield of biased or unreliable sources. For example, if you are searching for information about forestry and you type gc.ca Canada lumber, you will receive only sites that are published on Canadian government websites. Such information is authoritative and saves time researching the credibility of sources.

Here are some ways to restrict searches to trusted websites appropriate for classroom use.

Limit a Search to a Domain Type:
site:gov site:org site:edu
Limit a Search to Government Sites:
site:epa.gov site:nasa.gov site:loc.gov
Limit a Search to Organizations:
site:britishmuseum.org site:pbs.org site:worldwildlife.org
Limit a Search to Publications:
site:nationalgeographic.com site:timeforkids.com site:popsci.com
Limit a Search to Research-Based TV Shows:
site:history.com site:biography.com site:discovery.com

site:searchTeach your students the site:search tip. Their online research will be more efficient and will yield better, more legitimate results. TechnoResearch is a technology project that introduces essential research skills to elementary and middle school students. Learn how to plan, retrieve, process, share, and evaluate information. Using this fun and engaging project, students will acquire skills that are transferable to any inquiry challenge in all areas of the curriculum. Read more about TechnoResearch here.

Zoom Tool in PowerPoint for Awesome Presentations Part 2

zoom tool

PowerPoint Zoom Tool

In my previous post, I listed the steps to create a zoom to a slide using the Zoom Tool in PowerPoint 2016 and 2013. Don’t confuse this, as I did at first, with the zoom slider in all Microsoft programs that lets you change the magnification of your window. This is entirely different. The Zoom Tool automatically creates both a thumbnail of a selected slide and a link to that slide. Put these thumbnails on a title slide or any other slide to quickly and easily make buttons to link to slides in a presentation.

Slide Zoom

To make a Slide Zoom in a shorter presentation, see Zoom Tool in PowerPoint for Awesome Presentations Part 1.

Section Zoom

zoom tool in powerpointFor longer presentations with many slides, you can organize the show into sections. First, group slides into categories and make separate sections. Then create a Section Zoom to link to each section. In this way, you can adjust the presentation for different audiences, easily navigate to different sections depending on viewer questions, or just go to specific sections to modify the presentation. Section Zooms are ideal because, after viewing each section, the user is taken back to the slide with all the Section Zooms.

Add a Section

  1. Decide where you want to create a section. Right click between two slide thumbnails.
  2. Click Add Section.
  3. In the Rename Section box, replace Untitled Section with a name for the section. Click Rename.
  4. Continue to divide the slide show into sections, renaming each section.

View the Sections

  1. Click the View tab, and pick Slide Sorter.
  2. View thumbnails of all of your slides organized into sections.

Create a Section Zoom

  1. In Normal View, select the slide where you want to create the Section Zoom, most likely the title or a table of contents slide.
  2. Click the Insert tab and pick Zoom.
  3. Select Section Zoom.
  4. In the Insert Section Zoom box, check each section to which you want to create a link. Click Insert.
  5. zoom tool

    Select Sections


    Format Section Zooms (Optional)

    If you want to change the appearance of the Section Zoom thumbnail, go to the Zoom Tools Format tab. Use the preset Zoom Styles or make your own style using the Zoom Border, Zoom Effects, and Zoom Background tools. You can even right click a zoom image and pick Change Image to replace it with an image or icon of your choice. Read my previous post about the Zoom Tool to see a listing of the Zoom Tools.

    Summary Zoom

    Whether you have sections or not, this option creates a new slide. It places zooms of all of the sections on the new slide, similar to a table of contents or landing page. You can also choose to have all the slides or just some of the sections on this new slide.
    If the presentation has animations and timings are set to advance slides automatically, a summary zoom will play each section and then automatically go on to the next section that you’ve picked. This is a great option for a kiosk type of display.

    1. From the Insert tab, pick Zoom.
    2. Select Summary Zoom.
    3. The Insert Summary Zoom box opens with each section preselected. (If you have no sections, you will have to choose which slides you want to zoom.) You can keep all the selected sections or you can choose to just pick the sections you want. Be sure to keep the checkmark on Keep unused sections in your presentation. Click Insert.
    4. A new slide and section named Summary Section is created with zooms to each selected section. Resize or format the zoom thumbnails as desired using the Zoom Tools Format tab.

    TechnoMap PowerPoint Lesson Plans

    map skills lesson plansTechnoMap is a technology project that teaches map skills using PowerPoint. Students create an interactive map of a location, connecting places with events, issues, or people. In this project, students use Zoom to link markers on a map to slides explaining the significance of each area. Learn more about TechnoMap here.

Why Students Should Use Presenter View in PowerPoint 2

In my previous post, I explained how to use Presenter View in PowerPoint 2016 and 2013. It’s a nifty new feature that, if you have a projection system, allows a presenter to see the current slide, next slide, speaker notes, and presenter tools on a separate screen. The audience sees only the slide.

Benefits to Presenter View

Speaker Notes

Teaching students how to give a presentation that is informative while captivating the attention of the audience is a valuable skill. An essential part of a presentation is the preparation of speaker notes. These notes provide structure to a presentation and encourage the audience to listen as well as view the screen. Speaker notes can include reminders of what to say and additional information or facts that do not appear on the screen. If a second screen is not available, speaker notes can be printed as Notes Pages or as an Outline. But if you have a projection device and can see the computer screen while presenting, Presentation View allows you to see your notes and reminders on your computer screen during the presentation. The projector only shows the slide to the audience.

Practice Practice Practicepresenter view
Any presentation should include a number of rehearsals, either privately or with peer coaching, before it’s ready to unveil to an audience. Using Presenter View, the speaker can rehearse with the navigation tools, see the current and upcoming slides, practice using his notes, and become proficient using the pointer tools.

Control the Flow of Information
If the text on a slide is contained in bulleted points, set the animation so each one appears upon a mouse click. That way, you can limit the amount of words the audience can read and expand on the information as you speak. The audience will focus on both the slide as well as the speaker.
If there are pictures, you may want to control when they appear. Set the animation so images or diagrams show upon a mouse click. The viewers will focus on the picture only when you cause it to appear.
Presenter View allows you to preview what will happen when you press ‘next’ in advance of the audience seeing it.

Tools
The laser pointer, pen, highlighter, and eraser allow you to annotate, draw, or direct the eyes of the audience to particular words or images on the slide. Used sparingly, these tools help to attract and hold the attention of the audience. You can even black or white out the screen should you want to stop or pause the slide show.

presenter view

Use the laser pointer, pen, or highlighter to direct the viewers’ attention.

See All Slides
During the question period at the end of the presentation, or at any time during the presentation, you may want to go to a particular slide. If you click See All Slides, a thumbnail of all slides appears on the presenter’s screen only. Click on the desired slide and it will appear on the audience’s projected screen.

Timer
The stopwatch at the top corner of Presenter View is handy if there is a time limit for the presentation. It’s also useful when practicing – are you speeding up each time you present? Be careful not to talk too fast when you become familiar with the slide show. Remember that the audience is watching it for the first time.

Teach Presentation Skills

technopresenterTeach essential research skills, power up a presentation, and build public speaking techniques with TechnoPresenter. Integrate this technology project into a curriculum area using any topic of study. This project is suitable for student in junior and middle school grades. Learn more about TechnoPresenter here.

8 Free Sound Libraries for Schools

sound librariesLooking for music or sound effects to enhance a digital project? Here are some sites offering free downloads that are legal for use in any educational, non-commercial application.
Caution: Some sound collections may contain sounds inappropriate for school use. Discuss with students before using these libraries to confirm their understanding of suitable content.

SoundBible

  • comprehensive list of free sound effects, download in wav or mp3 format
  • may contain sounds not appropriate for school use

Flash Kit

  • has search feature, an easy index to browse through, and lists length of sound
  • it is not obvious how to download – right click the sound and pick Save As

Free Sound Effects.com

  • download button is clear, there is a choice of mp3 or wav
  • even though there are better quality “Pro Sound Effects” to purchase, the list of “Free Sound Effects” is on the first page – scroll down to see them

freeSFX

  • searchable, lists sound length, download button is obvious
  • only mp3 sound format

SeaWorld Animal Sounds

  • safe for young children, click on the animal image to hear the sound or click on the name to see animal facts
  • limited choice, must right click to download

Freeplay Music

  • music is free for use in education, high quality, can search by music mood
  • must create an account and login to download

Partners in Rhyme

  • huge collection, scroll down to Free Resources to find Free Sound Effects or Free Royalty Free Music
  • easy to confuse free downloads with Royalty Free Music which must be purchased

Free Music Archive

  • library of free legal audio downloads, can search by genre, preview and download buttons are clear and easy to see
  • length of music and size file are not listed

sound library