You'll recall the discussion of Microsoft's PowerPoint presentation software in an earlier chapter. Now, here's a brief tutorial that will help you begin using PowerPoint properly and efficiently.
Open PowerPoint and find the standard toolbar at the top edge of the window.
The formatting toolbar icons just below the standard toolbar are used for setting up fonts and textual material. You can italicizewords, underline them, etc.
The drawing toolbar icons at the bottom edge of the window help you create geometric shapes, import art from your computer and the Internet, add text elements, etc.
The common tasks toolbar just hovers wherever it wants and helps you create new slide presentations, reconfigure existing slide presentations, or use substitute new themes.
To create a slide show for PowerPoint 2000 and beyond, find the Elements Gallery at the top and click on “Slide Themes.” Then, choose an overall visual theme.
Still using the Elements Gallery, click “Slide Layouts.” Then, click “Insert New Slide” to begin creating your slides.
Using the Elements Gallery once more, click “Title and Content” to assign a title to your slide show and create its content.
Choose “Click to Add Title” and follow the prompt to write your title.
Choose “Click to Add Text” and follow the prompts to create your slides.
Of course, the program has many other powerful features, but the information above is pretty much all you need to get started creating professional-looking slide presentations for your kids. Become familiar with PowerPoint or some other equally useful presentation software, because your principal and your teaching colleagues will expect you to use it and will be frustrated and disappointed if you don't.
VCRs, DVD Players, and CD Players
Although the imminent demise of the VCR was widely predicted with the advent of DVD players, VCRs have managed to hang on and still have their uses in the classroom, for some excellent reasons. First, school libraries tend to have numerous VCRs available for checkout when you need them, and few or no DVD players because of budget constraints and just generally lagging behind the times. Second, VCRs can record programs from TV stations for later use in the classroom. So, for example, when the National Geographic Channel airs a program on the Namib Desert in Africa and you're currently studying a unit on deserts in science, you can record the entire program (minus commercials) and show it to your class the next day. Third, when you want to show educational videos or edifying movies to your class, school libraries tend to have tons of excellent videos and few or no DVDs.
Use CD players to play appropriate music in accompaniment to overhead-projector presentations or PowerPoint slide presentations. You can also use CD players to play period music that serves to bring a historical period alive you and your class are studying in social studies. Finally, use your CD player to play educational talking books, which are prerecorded novels and nonfiction books read by professional actors or the authors themselves.
To reiterate, none of these technologies are absolutely required in your classroom, but your students, parents, administrators, and teaching colleagues will expect you to utilize them. Don't disappoint them and don't disappoint yourself — embrace technology.