Friday, November 9, 2007

tt4t_011 PowerPoint Producer a useful tool for teachers and students

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It’s Friday, November 9, 2007 and welcome to Episode 11 of Tech Talk 4 Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. This week I would like to introduce you to a program that has been around for a number of years but I am surprised by how few teachers know about it. PowerPoint Producer 2003 is a free program available from Microsoft.

PowerPoint Producer has been around since Office XP in 2002 and PowerPoint Producer works with Microsoft Office 2003. Producer basically allows users to create virtual PowerPoint presentation that can be uploaded and delivered via your website. When you begin a Producer project you are given a wizard that allows you to select the type of format you would like to produce. If you have a video camera that will connect to your computer you can create a PowerPoint presentation with a talking head video of you in the upper left corner of the screen and the PowerPoint slide showing in the main portion of the screen. If you simply want to annotate the PowerPoint slides all you need is a microphone.

I have used this program in the past to create self-standing presentations to be used in learning centers. An individual student or small group of students can go to the learning station and watch and listen to the presentation created with PowerPoint Producer. If you wish you can upload the producer project folder and all associated files to the Internet so that anyone can view the presentation using a browser. You do not have to upload the files created to the Internet because this program creates a self-contained folder that can be burned to a CD or copied to a local computer for local access.

The other way that I have used PowerPoint Producer is for student presentations. Students use Producer to develop a virtual PowerPoint presentation that I and other students can view at a time of our choosing. This gives students the chance to practice PowerPoint presentations but not take up class time. Sometimes you do not want to give up class time for students to present, if you have 20 students and each one gives a 10 minute presentation that is 200 minutes of class time, over three hours! Students do need time to present in front of groups but I have found that students are just as motivated in giving virtual presentations. The other benefit is that they can upload the presentations to the Internet and share with anyone. This is a good motivator for students and I have found that the quality of work goes up if the students know ahead of time that the work will be posted to the Internet.

Links are provided in the show notes for the PowerPoint Producer 2003 download site and additional information about this program.

Download PowerPoint Producer 2003

PowerPoint Producer Tutorials and Examples (from McMurry University)

Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week

Voice Thread

My Technology Pick of the week this week is a new Web 2.0 tool called Voice Thread. A link to the Voice Thread website is provided in the show notes. Voice Thread is a service that allows users to narrate pictures and share with others. It is a lot like a blog but instead of commenting about a blog post in writing you create a voice recording associated with a picture. The real power comes when multiple people make vocal comments on a particular picture and thus a single picture can have multiple perspectives. This is an excellent story telling tool. Be sure to check out Voice Thread because I think it can have many uses in the classroom no matter what subject area or grade level you teach. They have some excellent demos at the website for you to get acquainted with this new tool.

Show notes for this episode and previous episodes are available on the web at that’s techtalk the number 4 If you have a comment or suggestion for a future show or a suggestion for a Technology Pick of the Week then please email me at That wraps it up for Episode 11 of TechTalk4Teachers so until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.

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