Microsoft Zoom Could Put More Pep into Classroom Presentations

New PowerPoint tool has the potential to make slideshow presentations interactive and engaging.

Want to create more with PowerPoint than just a bulleted list? A new tool from Microsoft will make that possible.

With last year’s introduction of Designer and Morph, Microsoft made it clear that improving PowerPoint’s creative potential was a high priority. Designer allows users to create a themed presentation just by dropping in an image; Morph lets them add cinematic motion. Now, with the addition of Zoom, a tool that creates interactive summary slides, educators can explore nonlinear presentations.

Microsoft touts the features of Zoom on its Office 365 blog: “Captivate your audience with smooth, effortless navigation in and out of any slide or section, starting from a single interactive summary slide. Present your slides in whatever order makes sense based on your audience, without exiting slideshow mode and interrupting the flow.”

The Zoom tool can create a summary zoom, which is a table of contents slide for presentations with dedicated sections, and a slide zoom for short presentations, Redmond Magazine reports.

Both features put an end to the inconvenience of having to click back through slides to reach each topic.

“The idea is to improve engagement during long presentations where the presenter and the audience can lose focus,” reports GeekWire.

So what does this mean for teachers? A study by Washington University in St. Louis found that students learn more from lectures that have visual aids, according to an article in Education Week. Research done at The College of New Jersey in 2005 showed that students who were shown PowerPoint presentations understood lesson material better than students who were not shown a presentation.

Now, with Designer, Morph and Zoom, even less tech-savvy teachers can create engaging, visual learning experiences. Zoom’s landing page tool could also prove useful for teachers of older students because it enables them to jump around in a presentation based on where the classroom conversation goes.

According to the Microsoft Office 365 blog, Zoom is currently available for Office Insiders. There’s no word yet on when it will roll out to all Office 365 users.

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Aug 09 2016

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