Tom Snyder Productions' PowerPoint Workshop for Teachers


Today's teacher competes with technology daily. At home, students have no problem focusing on playing games on their home computers or game systems, or watching television for hours upon end. Those mediums can provide high quality graphics and sound that can have children literally sitting on the edge of their seats. However, that is not the case in the common classroom, where students are asked to give the same attention to overhead transparencies or chalkboard instruction. In order to win the battle, teachers are adopting the slogan, "If you can't beat them, join them!"

In order to spice up instruction and presentations in the classroom, teachers are turning to multimedia presentation programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint. At first look, PowerPoint appears to be a complicated and intimidating program. However, after using PowerPoint Workshop for Teachers by Janet Caughlin, teachers will find the program as easy as chalk and slate.

The self-paced workshop starts learners with an introduction to computers, which is great for those who are using a Windows or Macintosh machine for the first time. Next, the many toolbars, menus, and help areas are covered in detail. Learners are also introduced to principles of effective instructional design, which are important to understand when developing multimedia presentations.

Once the basics are covered, learners get to roll up their sleeves and work through some excellent tutorials. The tutorials are easily understood and the author has done the courtesy of including directions for both Macintosh and Windows users, as well as directions for the latest versions of Office (97, 98, 2000).

Learners can discover how to create some neat things such as screensavers, short animated movies, interactive presentations, online PowerPoint presentations, and meeting agendas. Each of the activities comes with resources on a supplied CD, as well as characters that offer suggestions, tidbits, warnings, and quick tips. In addition to the tutorials, the manual provides stories from classroom teachers all over the country who are integrating PowerPoint into their instruction. Teachers are also given examples of how to integrate PowerPoint into the curriculum for students to create multimedia presentations.

The appendix will come in very handy when working through the activities. In it, one can find a detailed illustration of the differences in PowerPoint with regard to platform or version. It also teaches the ever-handy ability to share PowerPoint files. There are certain rules to follow when going from one platform or version to another, and this portion of the appendix d'es a terrific job in clearing up the confusion. Lastly, the manual lists various resources on the Internet for learners to visit if they are in search of more information, clipart, lessons and strategies, or technical assistance.

If you are ready to learn PowerPoint, but like to learn at your own pace, then make this manual a part of your professional library. The author has done a tremendous job in ensuring that the manual is easy-to-follow, flexible to both platform and version of software, and helpful in providing ideas for improving teacher and student presentations.


Jason Collette
Technology Development
Resource Teacher
Orange County Public Schools
[email protected]


Contact Information

Tom Snyder Productions

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.