Using video in PowerPoint

PowerPoint is the trade name given to a presentational software package developed by Microsoft in the mid-eighties, which at the time revolutionised the way that information was presented.  However, over time it has become a word that strikes fear into many, becoming associated instead with slides that are crammed full of text (usually Times New Roman, Font size 8) and a plethora of badly applied animations.  This has eventually led to the coining of the term “Death by PowerPoint.”

When used well the software can help educators to engage and captivate students. However, when used badly it can impede learning, leaving students bored and disengaged.  There are a few simple steps that can be taken when constructing your PowerPoint to make sure that this does not happen to you. 

Firstly, the slides should be used to draw the student’s attention to the important elements of your lecture.  Make sure you only have a few key points on each slide, which briefly summarises the point you are making.  If students have to read a lot of information on a slide, then chances are they are not going to be listening to what you are saying.  It is equally important not to overfill the slides with too many images and graphics, as this can be equally distracting. 

Following on from this it is important to think about the font size that you choose.  Often when lecturers try to cram too much information onto a slide they reduce the size of the font to save space.  This often makes it impossible to read.  At best students have to strain their eyes to read the information, at worse they give up and lose interest.  Make sure that you test out your PowerPoint first.  What looks clear to us at the front might be a blur to those at the back. Try standing in different places in lecture theatre and make sure that you can easily read the content on each slide. 

Video resources are a great way to add visual stimuli to your lectures through PowerPoint.  They are best used as an extension of the lecture and not as a replacement.  When used properly they can help to heighten the educational experience for students and raise the level of engagement and achievement during lectures. 

There are two ways to incorporate videos into your PowerPoint presentation, either by embedding (fixing) the educational video resource into the slide or linking to an external file.  When using any teaching resource that is not your own work it is always important to check whether it is copyright free or whether you institution needs purchase any licenses in order for it to be viewed. 

Inserting or linking video into your PowerPoint presentation helps to keep the momentum of your lecture.  The presentation is not disrupted by having to switch from PowerPoint to another video playing device. Having it incorporated into the PowerPoint presentation helps to keep students focused on the subject at hand and does not present them with ‘down-time’ where they can engage in conversation with their peers.   

Another handy thing about incorporating video into PowerPoint is that you can set questions on the preceding slide to the video resource and then take students back to the slide for discussion after the video.  This saves valuable time, as the students do not need to write down copious amounts of notes.  The PowerPoint or Keynote can then be placed on the institutions’ virtual learning environment, e.g. Moodle, for students to access later for revision. 

To embed a video into your PowerPoint presentation you need to follow the steps listed below: 

  1. In normal view, click the slide that you want to embed the video into. 
  2. On the insert tab, in the media group, click the arrow under video, and then click video from file.
  3. In the insert video dialog box, locate and click the video that you want to embed and then click insert.
To embed a video teaching resource into Keynote:
  1. Click on the media icon on the right-hand side of the Keynote slide.
  2. Click on the movies tab and this will show you all of the movie files you have saved on your laptop. 
  3. You can preview any movie by double-clicking it.
  4. Once you find the movie you want drag it to your slide.

Instead of embedding a video resource into your presentation you can link to an external video instead.  Linking helps to reduce the file size of your presentation.

To add a link to a video from your PowerPoint presentation, do the following:

  1. On the Slides tab in Normal view, click the slide to which you want to add a video file.
  2. On the insert tab, in the Media group, click the arrow under Video.
  3. Click Video from File, locate and click the file that you want to link too.
  4. On the insert button, click the down arrow, and then click Link to file.

http://office.microsoft.com/

To link to a video teaching resource in Keynote complete the following steps:

  1. In the Keynote preferences (in the ‘general’ pane) there is a check box for
  2. ‘Copy audio and movies into document’.  Make sure this is unchecked.
  3. Create a new presentation
  4. Copy the slides without video from the old presentation to the new one.
  5. Create a new slide for each video in the new presentation, and drag-and-drop or use the Insert menu as usual.

PowerPoint can be a fantastic way to introduce information to your students.  It can help to condense an array of knowledge and formats into one presentation, helping you to put across a large amount of information, in a short amount of time.  However, to avoid the dreaded ‘death by PowerPoint’ make sure you follow some of the tips suggested in this article.

The BBC Active website provides a wide range of BBC videos for use in education and training.