Interactive PowerPoint Exhibits

Out project on ancient Egypt and mummification is….a wrap. Now that I’ve successfully lost half my audience with the horrible pun, I’d like to share the idea behind our interactive Egypt project. For the past week my students have been researching ancient Egyptian life on the previously mentioned Interactive Egypt web site. Individuals or groups studied different aspects including pyramids, mummifications, ancient religion of the Nile, and writing of the Egyptians, taking notes, finding images, exploring and taking challenges based on the information that they learned.

While they enjoyed the interactivity of the web site, and had fun learning about ancient Egypt, I thought we should do something more than the usual slideshow presentation. By borrowing ideas of linking information from the website, I had the students create interactive slideshows in which the viewers controlled the pace and direction of the presentation, not the creator or presenter. They provided links on the title slide to each slide of the presentation. They then included links back to the home slide, so that users could seamlessly navigate the presentation and then have it ready for the next user. In essence, they’ve created miniature web pages, akin to some of the interactive displays you now see at many museums. At first the concept was a little difficult for them to grasp as they were laying out their projects with the typical title slide and introduction, but after showing the class how to create hyperlinks between slides and from the slides to the Internet, they really got into the project.

While many of the students still treated them like typical straightforward slideshow presentations, some began to explore the format, linking multiple slides to each other rather than just the links to the home slide that I required. Others also used images for links, providing a more visual rather than textual experience, and many students wrote in an engaging, conversational manner that invited users to read more (something I pushed from the beginning as many web sites aren’t geared towards enticing readers, they just present information). It may not appear to be very different from a typical slideshow presentation, but the end result is a learning experience that doesn’t require the presenter to lead you through; each user can experience the information in their own way, deciding what to click, and in which order they want the information.

I’ll publish some examples at the end of the week, as I need to change a few names and files to protect the innocent 🙂