Chapter 1 - Teaching with Multimedia
With projectors and SmartBoards becoming more common in American classrooms, teachers increasingly have greater opportunities to bring multimedia resources into the classroom. The links below provide some great tips and serve as to supplemental resources for Chapter 1 of our book, Best ideas for Teaching with Technology, A Practical Guide for Teachers by Teachers.
- BrowserPoint: Creating multimedia presentations in your Web browser
- Copyright & Fair Use
- Public Domain Images
- Troubleshooting Projectors
- Four Ways to Enhance PowerPoint
If all the information that you want to present in a lecture is easily available on web sites, then don’t bother to make up a whole PowerPoint presentation. Instead, use tabbed browsing to prepare your presentation, and call it a BrowserPoint presentation.
There are some things that web sites can do much better than PowerPoint. For instance, I am a big fan of multimedia timelines that show the same map at several points in history. Certain Art History sites also have great collections of art by a single artist that would just be a waste of time to copy into PowerPoint (check out Best of History Web Sites Art History Page for some great links). Some sites are also set up for viewing several multimedia news and documentary clips, and both TV and print media are creating more web sites with this type of presentation. All of these things are more easily viewed from a web browser than from PowerPoint.
The technology that allows for these types of BrowserPoint presentations is the tabbed browser. This means that in a single window, you can have “tabs” with different preloaded web sites. This makes it quite easy to jump backwards and forwards amongst several different sites. Weaving together a few different web sites into a single presentation has never been easier, as long as you have access to the internet in your classroom. Some browsers also make it easy to share groups of pages, which means you can share your Browser Point Presentations
Mozilla’s Firefox (www.mozilla.com) is a free web browser that is good for setting up tabbed browser presentation, although the new Internet Explorer from Microsoft has a few additional features that make it a better choice for BrowserPoint presentation. Here are some basic steps to creating a BrowserPoint presentation using tabbed browsers in Internet Explorer 7(IE7).
- Getting Started- Find the first page you would like to use in your presentation. Click on the Add Favorite button, which is a star with a plus on the left hand side. You will be prompted to put the new favorite in a folder. Use New Folder to create a new folder for your presentation.
- Adding Pages- Search for the web sites you want to use, and save them to your new BrowserPoint folder. You can keep clicking the Add Favorites button, or you can In IE7, click on Add Favorites and then choose to put the web site in your presentation folder.
- Naming Links-To simplify your presentation, you will probably want to rename your links. Rename them starting with “Slide 1,” “Slide 2,” and so forth and things will be easy to organize.
- Opening the Presentation- Once you have all of your sites chosen and placed in your folder, preparing the presentation is easy. Just open up a new web browser, and open up your Favorites folder by clicking on the yellow star in the upper left hand corner. (You may want to also click on the Green Arrow in the upper right hand corner of the Favorites sidebar which will pin your Favorites folder to the screen.) Then right-click on the BrowserPoint folder and select Open in Tab Group and voila, all of your pages/slides will open.
- Delivering the Presentation- To deliver your presentation, just click on each tab to advance your presentation. If you ever get lost or need to jump back a few slides, IE7 has a handy Quick Tabs button, just to the left of all of the open tabs. Click this button (or press Control-Q) and you will get a handy visual index of your tabs, very reminiscent of the Slide Sorter in PowerPoint.
- Enlarging Pages and Text- If some of your pages are too small to read, there is a handy Zoom function under the Page menu in the top right of the toolbar. You can also just enlarge the text by adjusting the Text Size option in the Page menu.
- Sharing BrowserPoints- To share your BrowserPoint, right-click on the folder and choose copy, and then paste the folder somewhere easy to find, like your Desktop or Documents folder. Attach the folder in an email to a colleague (it will be tiny, maybe 2KB), and tell him to download the file. Once he has it on his computer, he can open up IE7, click on the Add Favorites button and choose Import and Export. A Wizard will pop up and he should choose Import Favorites. He will then need to find the BrowserPoint folder on his computer, and then he can import the folder right into his Favorites. You could teach your students to do this importing, and then email then them your BrowserPoint folders so they can review the presentations on their own. Even if they don’t use IE7, these folders can be opened like a regular folder and the links inside can be opened in any browser.
William Jennings Bryan BrowserPoint
Here are three screenshots from a BrowserPoint on the Scopes Monkey Trial. The first tab is a site with some introduction and photos, the second site is an illustrated timeline of the trial, and the third site is from Earliest Voices, a wonderful web site from Michigan state that features recordings from the early twentieth century that are displayed with transcripts. This is a full multimedia BrowserPoint presentation that runs entirely in a web browser. Click on each image to view the original web site.
To dowload this BrowserPoint, right-click the link below and choose Save Link As. It is a zipped folder, so you will need to unzip it first. You can then upload the folder into your IE7 Favorites using the techniques described above.
- If you want to have some text to accompany your BrowserPoint, just create some new posts on your blog (remember to use a large font size for easy viewing), and then add those pages as to your BroswerPoint folder.
- If you want to add some audio commentary to your BroswerPoint, like instructions on what students should look for in the sites, create a podcast with a tool like Odeo or Vocaroo and then add that page to the folder in Favorites.
The Internet has developed much faster than intellectual property law, and it can be hard to apply older Copyright Fair Use guidelines to the new world of the Internet. We know it's not always easy to adhere to Fair Use policies, so here are a few simple practices that can help:
- Credit all the sources that you use in handouts and presentations.
- Don’t borrow too much from any individual work.
- Don’t republish anything from the Internet onto a public Web site without permission.
- When in doubt consult your librarian or media specialist.
Stanford Universities Libraries
The Stanford Universities Libraries Copyright & Fair Use Center provides articles, FAQs, primary materials, and various other helpful resources.
Copyright Crash Course
The University of Texas offers a crash course on copyright. Its "syllabus" includes an explanation of basic and applied fair use and copyright.
Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creativity. Creative Commons can help you find photos, music, text, books, educational material, and more that is free to share or build upon utilizing Creative Commons enabled search services
The United States Copyright Office
The U.S. copyright office provides a brief explanation of "fair use" as it pertains to copyright.
Jo Cool or Joe Fool: An Online Game about Savvy Surfing.
Includes a checklist for helping you decide if "Jo" is making a good surfing choice. Has a 20 question quiz at the end, and a 50 page pdf to help teachers use the site.
If you are planning to show copyright images within the confines of your classroom then your usage more than likely falls within the scope of educational “fair use.” Mind you, more and more educators are making their (or their students) presentations available online, and this practice raises some important copyright issues. If you make your PowerPoint publicly accessible on the Internet without the express written permission of the authors of the copyrighted images,
then you have most likely infringed on copyright protection.
To help you avoid infringing on copyright protection, we have prepared an extensive list of Internet sources for public domain images, with an eye towards the humanities. Please check individual images you find at these sites to determine if there are any no restrictions on usage :
- American Memory (Library of Congress) - http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
- Presidential Portraits - http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/odmdhtml/preshome.html
- Art Images for College Teaching - http://arthist.cla.umn.edu/aict/index.html
- Archival Research Catalog (National Archives) - http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/index.html
- Art & Architecture (Art Serve) - http://rubens.anu.edu.au/
- Creative Commons - http://creativecommons.org/
- Department of Interior Photo Library - http://www.doi.gov/photos/gallery.html
- Discovery School - http://school.discovery.com/clipart/
- Digital Library System - http://images.fws.gov/
- Environmental Education System - http://web.centre.edu/enviro/Photos_files/Photos.htm
- Flickr - http://flickr.com
- FreePhoto.com - http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp
- FreeImages.com - http://www.freeimages.com/photos/
- Free Stock Photos - http://www.freeimages.co.uk/
- USA.gov - http://www.usa.gov/
- Geek Philosopher - http://geekphilosopher.com/MainPage/photos.htm
- Graphic Maps.com - http://www.graphicmaps.com/clipart.htm
- Great Images in NASA - http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/
- Image After - http://www.imageafter.com/
- Images of American Political History - http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/
- Map and Aerial Photography - http://libweb.uoregon.edu/map/
- Metropolitan Museum of Art - http://www.metmuseum.org/
- National Archives & Records Administration - http://www.nara.gov
- Picturing the Century: 100 Years of Photography - http://www.nara.gov/exhall/picturing_the_century/home.html
- New York Public Library Digital Gallery - http://www.nypl.org/digital/
- Pics for Learning - http://pics4learning.com/
- Public Domain Images for Use in Multimedia Projects and Web Pages - http://mciunix.mciu.k12.pa.us/~spjvweb/cfimages.html
- Public Domain Media - http://web4j1.lane.edu/libraryservices/mediainst/graphicsguide.html
- Social Science Data Lab - http://socsci.colorado.edu/GIF/
- U.S. Air Force Photos - http://www.af.mil/photos/
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - http://images.usace.army.mil/main.html
- U.S. Department of Defense (multimedia) - http://www.defenselink.mil/multimedia/
- U.S. Federal Government Public Domain Images - http://stellar-one.com/public/us_federal_government_public_domain_images.htm
- U.S. Navy Images http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org11-2.htm
- Wikipedia Public Domain Image Sources - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources
Before you start using a new projector, ask your IT staff these questions:
- Power Where is the power switch?
- Power Where are the cords to plug in the projector?
- Connection Where are the cords to connect the projector to my computer? Where do the cords connect to my computer? Do I need any special adaptor for my Apple computer?
- Connection What buttons do I press on the projector so that it will recognize my computer? Most projectors can take input from several different sources, like DVD players or computers. Be sure that you know what to do to tell the projector to find your computer.
- Connection Do I have to do anything on my computer to get the image to display through the projector? Most Apple computers will automatically display through a projector when they are connected. Some PC computers will as well, although sometimes you need to go into the Display settings and tell the computer to display through the projector. Some brands of laptops have a special button (sometimes Function-F8) that will rotate between the monitor, the projector, and both displays.
- Audio Connection Does the projector have speakers? If so, where are the cords to connect my computer to the projector? Many projectors now have built-in speakers. Usually you will need a cord with one end that plugs into the speaker/headphone jack on your computer, and another end that has red and white connectors to the projector.
- Getting Started How long does the projector take to warm up? Many models take a few minutes to actually display an image.
- Getting Started How do I focus the image? How can I make it larger or smaller? How can I adjust the brightness? How can I adjust the volume?
- Troubleshooting How do I restart the projector? As with much of technology, when things are not working the first thing to try is a re-boot. Often times turning the projector and computer off, waiting a few minutes, and then restarting will solve the problem.
- Troubleshooting How do I replace a burnt out bulb? Where are the extra bulbs?
Still having trouble with your projector? Try these sites for help:
- Generic troubleshooting FAQ by AVI-SPL
- Fixya user forums for projectors
- Generic troubleshooting FAQ by RM (from the UK)
- Configuring graphics cards for presentations with projectors (PC only)
Presentation software has become a standard accompaniment to lectures in education. PowerPoint presentations are easy to design, and pre-made presentations are easy to find on the Web, but too many teachers use PowerPoint ineffectively, incoporating too much text, distracting special effects, and too many slides. Below are some tips to help you avoid these pitfalls.
- Use PowerPoint to present what is not possible with a chalkboard. Presentation software is great for displaying art, architecture, graphs, and maps. Many great presentations need nothing more than images and titles to reinforce the lecture or discussion in class.
- Use text as prompts. In general, keep the text on your slides to a minimum. We have been in both middle school and graduate classes where students dutifully copied every word on the screen to their notebooks verbatim. Those students can’t possibly listen to the conversation, probe their own thoughts, and practice being stenographers at the same time. Rather than putting all your lecture notes on the screen, just put a few words that will help students follow the day’s conversation, perhaps supplemented with some new vocabulary or other important dates.
- Use simple designs. For most presentations, consider using the default white screen/black text template. Spend your time working on teaching a great class rather than fussing too much with the design of your slides.
- Avoid fancy animations and graphics. Before you have that image zoom in with a curly-q pattern from the bottom of the screen, think to yourself: is this really going to help anyone learn? The occasional funny sound or gimmick might wake up some dozing heads, but these quickly devolve from novelty to distraction.