Incorporating Technology Into the Classroom.

One word: PowerPoint.

PowerPoints can be time consuming, and downright scary for those that have never tried to make one before. But, with a little practice, you will see they are very easy, actually quite fun, and students LOVE them!

My first year teaching I felt like I was always making notes (among other things!). I actually shunned PowerPoint for the reasons mentioned above. I think I was still working with Windows ’98 and it was much less frustrating and easier to simply type my notes on MS word, print them out on a transparency and do notes on the overhead. It wasn’t until the last 2 years that I have converted to 100% PowerPoint. That was about how long ago I got my hands on MS Office 2007, and let me tell you- The Microsoft Office Suite (MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, etc.) have come a very, very long way. Not only are they more user friendly nowadays, but you can do so much more. It’s a win-win!

I can remember standing next to my overhead projector, guiding my high schoolers through their notes on food chains as they read the text off the screen and filled in the blanks. I like to close those particular notes with the importance of decomposers and the “Circle of Life”. I like to relate biology to student lives and experiences as much as possible (especially because it is a class that students HAVE to take, so not everyone is exactly thrilled…) so I always bring up the scene from The Lion King when Mufasa is speaking to Simba about- well, the circle of life. He explains to Simba that although they eat the antelope, when they die, “their bodies become the grass”, which the antelope eat. The kids would always respond positively, either with their proclamation of love for the Disney movie or that they recalled that scene.

Now, thanks to PowerPoint (and YouTube), I can embed the hyperlinks right into my PowerPoint slide so that the students see this:

And what, it started at 40 seconds? Yeah! That was intentional! Awesome, right? Show an entire video, or just a snippet of one. It’s very easy. Right underneath the YouTube video, you have some options. Click “Share” and it gives you the link. To the right of that, you have the option to click the “Start At” box. From there, just figure out where you’d like to start the video. I rarely use this, but I do find it useful at times. It all depends on the video and how much time you have 🙂

Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 2.16.35 PM

 

 

 

 

 

If you are using a PC (Windows based computer), there is another awesome feature you can use if you are feeling brave. You can actually embed the YouTube video directly into your slide so that you don’t have to exit the presentation to view the YouTube video. This does not mean that you are downloading the video to your computer. You still need an internet connection, and the YouTube link must be valid link. If it is taken down from YouTube for any reason- it will not continue to work on your tab. I made a video to show you how:

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