A while ago I blogged about PowerPoint and highlighted some of the great resources that are available, such as Plex for PowerPoint for example. That gives teachers and students absolutely no excuse to create boring and dull presentations and not to avoid the ‘death by PowerPoint’ scenario.
Here is something that I think will be really useful in the classroom and add another dimension to your PowerPoint 2007 slides. It’s only in beta at the moment, but there's already a Mouse Mischief website page available, and that's where the free fully released version will appear shortly. With Mouse Mischief, teachers can add multiple choice questions to presentations. It also utilises multipoint technology, which means that groups of students can answer the questions using mice connected to the presentation PC.
Mouse Mischief provides teachers with a cost effective alternative to purchasing expensive student response systems. With a couple of USB hubs and inexpensive wired or wireless Mice (I suspect you have a few in cupboards doing nothing), your class can interact with the presentation. Here is a thought, I have not tested this. But, some mobile phones have a presenter mode, and can connect to a PC via Bluetooth. I wonder if that could be used as an alternative wireless mouse? If anybody is able to do this can you let us know. It would mean that students could use their mobile phones to interact with presentations.
Once installed, the Mouse Mischief toolbar will appear as part of the PowerPoint ribbon. This allows you to create interactive elements such as multiple-choice question slides. These can even be added to previously created presentations. With a Mouse Mischief enabled presentation, students in the classroom can answer each question by clicking it with their uniquely designed mouse cursor. Once they have selected their answers, the teacher can display the correct answer and evaluate the responses. Also teachers have the option to allow students to answer questions individually or as part of a team, this will encourage both competition and collaboration in the classroom.
Controlling what could be potentially chaos with 25 mouse cursors zooming around the screen is easy, as a set of teacher controls allow the teacher to disable mouse cursors, navigate between slides and set timers.
The obvious use for this is to create multiple choice questions and test students knowledge of subject. But, I think it has immense value, by asking the right questions, in gathering real time data from students, such as opinions, lesson evaluations and self review of their learning. For, the really brave, even as an evaluation of your teaching.
As Mouse Mischief is only in beta at the moment, only multiple choice questions can be created, future updates will include multipoint drawing tools, that will enable teachers to create a wealth of further learning opportunities for students.