Techno logy
Tools for Teachers




What is Presentation Software?
This quote sums up the features of PowerPoint, the industry leading presentation software. "PowerPoint is a high-powered software tool used for presenting information in a dynamic slide show format. Text, charts, graphs, sound effects and video are just some of the elements PowerPoint can incorporate into your presentations with ease. Whether it's a classroom lesson, a parents' group meeting, a teachers' seminar or an unattended kiosk at the Science Fair - PowerPoint shows you how to make a powerful impression on your audience."

With minimal instruction, you can make a presentation to help teach your students various concepts, to highlight a unit of learning for an assembly, or produce a graduation presentation for your eighth grade students! In addition, you can build your presentations from the ground up (starting with a blank slide) or you can use the built in guides such as PowerPoint's AutoContent Wizard to help you create your presentation. Furthermore, PowerPoint and its competitors come with various ready-to-go templates that provide those in a hurry with attractively designed slides - then all you have to do is worry about the content.

There are several major presentation packages available in the market. All have similar features including abilities such as incorporating sound and video, publishing to the web and "pack and go" allowing the end user to view the show on any computer. Here are three of the main software packages available.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint - the market leading package. This product is usually bundled with MS Office which includes Word and Excel. A mature, stable package but expensive. Many school divisions already use this package. Many helps and tutorials exist for it.
  • OpenOffice - this office suite is a freely downloadable version of StarOffice. It includes all the same basic tools and functionality. Why not use it? Since this is a free, "open source" product it's add in features such as clip art and the thesaurus are less robust than the commercial products. It can however be downloaded and distributed freely to students. A tremendous bargain in this respect. Available in several languages.
  • Corel Presentations - part of the WordPerfect software suite, Presentations is another powerful but easy to use presentation tool.

Why use Presentation Software?
Teachers can use presentation software to create and organize effective presentations for small groups, entire classes, and web-based viewing. PowerPoint presentations may contain graphics, digital photos, animations and sound.

Students may use presentation software to create presentations that demonstrate what they have learned in a given subject area or to showcase the findings of a research assignment. Presentations are also ideal for capturing the learning process over a period of time. Further, if students can capture the steps of their learning through digital photography, these types of images can be used in a slide show as well.

Sample Presentations
To gain a deeper understanding of what types of presentation a teacher might produce, view the following presentations:

How do I make a presentation?

PowerPoint Tutorials
Follow one of the links listed below to access tutorials for PowerPoint. Make note on the versions of software you will be using as there may be slight variations in the location of particular options you are looking for when the software is up and running on your own machine.

Basic Tutorials

  • Interactive Tutorials - these tutorials are completely online and activity based. They were created by OLC staff specifically for the teacher or student new to the use of PowerPoint. Please be patient. These files may take a few seconds to load.
    • Starting a new slideshow - steps to starting a new show including choosing its look and feel.
    • Inserting Content - this activity takes you through the steps to adding text and graphics.
    • Animating the Content - once you have placed text and graphics into the show, it's time to give it a visual impact. This lesson walks you through the steps to animating the content.
    • Quick Tips - 5 handy tips to completing common tasks including changing the background image and using sound

    PowerPoint in the Classroom - This fun, eight-unit tutorial shows K-12 teachers how to use PowerPoint to present many different forms of information. You'll learn the basics on using PowerPoint's toolbars, laying out your information, saving, moving your information to the place you'll be presenting it - and much more. - You can also print the units out so that you can work through your first PowerPoint Presentation with a mini-guide nearby. Thorough but slower paced. Best suited for someone unfamiliar with using products such as Word.

  • Learn Some Basics about Designing Your First Show - This PowerPoint presentation contains useful information about several design considerations.
  • PowerPoint Tutorials - This site, designed for a class in Educational Technology, contains very useful tutorials (complete with screen shots to show you what to do) for several different options you may wish to use in your PowerPoint presentations (inserting images, applying design, using templates and so forth).
  • Electric Teacher - This site provides step by step directions in using this program. It also contain a list of project ideas where you can view examples of PowerPoint presentations that were created by teachers in the Oswego City School District. Some of these examples were linked above as well.
  • Creating Online Presentations
    An excellent step by step guide

StarOffice Impress and OpenOffice
Product guide - the nature of the market place means there are fewer guides available for these products. This is a (fairly large) product guide that covers all the StarOffice tools.

Corel Presentations
A collection of guides published by Corel.


  • Graduation Presentations: If you are interested in learning how to use PowerPoint to put together a graduation presentation (a digital yearbook), please refer to this PDF Guide. It contains information, timelines, and checklists to help make this process organized and painless!
  • Student / Teacher Handouts - These handouts are best suited for those who are sitting at a computer and need a quick reference if they forget how perform a particular action. A must-have for students in a lab environment to free up the teacher for more serious questions.
  • Templates for Teachers: this page has a very neat collection of templates that have an classroom connection. The options include everything from baby booties to frog dissection.