Presenting with Multimedia Technology
Regardless of whether your audience of learners fills an auditorium or fills one chair, or whether your presentation is intended to prompt a live presenter or is meant to function as a stand-alone product, computer hardware and software facilitate clear, effective presentation of ideas. Understanding the differences in possibilities tech- nology presents over traditional presentation methods will make you and your stu- dents confident presenters of all types of information.
The hardware that is needed to present information using a computer depends on the purpose of the presentation. If an individual or small group of students will be working through a hypermedia lesson, a standard computer monitor may be suffi- cient for all to see. Make sure the computer is located in an area with room to pull up enough chairs for all learners and other aspects of the setting, such as lighting, are such that everything on the screen can be seen without problem. Another option is the interactive whiteboard, which has become very popular for multimedia pre- sentations. The interactive whiteboard can be controlled away from the front of a classroom. This is a convenient method for teachers to stay in touch with their stu- dents as a teacher can walk throughout the classroom and control the whiteboard.
If your audience, however, is an entire class or even a larger crowd, you will need a compatible projection device. Some rooms are equipped with television monitors that can be interfaced with a computer so that the screen display can be displayed on the monitors. An AverKey (http://www.aver.com) is an inexpensive and durable projection device that attaches between the computer and television monitor to display the com- puter screen. Liquid crystal display (LCD) panels are lightweight, flat devices that can be placed onto an overhead projector and attached to a computer to project an image of the computer screen. The clearest images are produced with projection devices that connect to a computer and shine the display directly up onto a wall screen in either a small room or a large auditorium. Become familiar with what is available to you at your school or district. Practice connecting the computer with the projection devices, becoming familiar with the physical layout of the cables and adapters. Note any ad- justments that are needed to the screen resolution to make the image viewable on the larger screen. Connect and disconnect the peripherals several times with your stu- dents, if appropriate, so that they see what kind of preparation is necessary to pull off a successful presentation. Many preferences need to be set correctly for a computer to cooperate with a projection device to project its image onto a larger screen, so do not leave these types of preparations to the last minute (see Figure 14.9).
Each presentation or hypermedia program has specific procedures for showing the final product. Become familiar with these proce- dures, and use them to do a dry run, ad- vancing through every card or slide in a presentation using the mouse or keyboard as will be required in actual usage. When giv- ing a lesson or presentation in front of a group, rehearse what you will say to accom- pany the program content. When students are using a program to learn independently, check all buttons to make sure they perform the planned action. Apple iMovie software is one of the most popular and easiest to use. Apple iMovie allows you to create the movie using simple drags and drops. Student- produced movies can be used for many occasions, including parents’ night.
The best advice you and your students could follow when planning to use your com- puters for presentations is always to have a backup plan. Even a thoroughly planned presentation can be thwarted by unforeseen technical problems. Something as simple as a missing cable adapter or an incompatible version of software can stand in your way of making a successful presentation. If it is essential that the instruction be carried off at a certain time, make transparencies of the slides so that you can make do with an overhead projector if necessary. If the instruction can be handled in another method or at another time, be ready to make an instructional switch at the last minute. Although we always hope our plans can be carried out smoothly, modeling this kind of quick thinking will teach your students invaluable, real-world problem-solving skills.