Show your students the kick-starter already built into PowerPoint to help them get productive faster in their assignments and projects. Day 25 of 365 Ideas for Office 365 is PowerPoint‘s Quick Starter feature.
How many of your students have trouble getting started? For me, it’s decision-making. My wife and I agree that it’s fair that if one of us decides what to have fr dinner, and the other one makes it, that’s a fair division of labor, because it’s so hard for either of us to make a decision. For a lot of students, they can pick a topic, but don’t know how to get started independently. I usually have students do a lot of pre-writing and research before they can touch PowerPoint, but now PowerPoint has a feature that has me rethinking this. It’s called Quick Start, and it’s available exclusively in the desktop version of PowerPoint.
When a student opens PowerPoint and chooses New, they see a lot of choices that give them a head start over just choosing “Blank Presentation”.
Quick Starter in the New menu in PowerPoint
Most options here are all about appearances. Pick a theme (and stick with it, please!)
Off to the right is Quick Starter. As it says underneath, this gives students an outline to start with.
Click on it and students will be prompted to enter a topic. There are some suggestions, but that’s not really for students. That’s more for central office folks like me who discover this, want to see what it does, but are stumped what to search for. Teachers know what to search for- whatever you’re teaching now or next week. So go ahead and type in a topic in a unit near you.
Using Quick Starter from start to finish
Search for a topic
In the video clip I looked up dinosaurs. This time I looked up “separation of powers”. (That’s government, not superheroes.)
Search results for Separation of Powers
Using AI and Bing, Quick Starter suggests some slide topics. Students can uncheck any they wish to exclude.
Choosing starter slide topics
Click next to select from different themes to determine the appearance of the slides. (This helps with those students that spend most of their time changing fonts and colors instead of focusing on content. AI works throughout the slideshow creation process to suggest slide appearances so students don’t have to spend so much time on those tasks.)
Choose the look you want for your slides
Quick Starter now creates about a dozen slides. The first one is heavy on content, just to get students up to speed with some basic facts about the topic. Most slides also have notes below the slide with more information or further suggestions for research.
1st Slide- background on the topic to get started
The second slide is always suggested topics to research, along with directions for using the Smart Lookup tool in Microsoft Office to research those topics.
Suggested topics for research
Then there is the title slide followed by the Table of Contents and one slide for each topic in the TOC. So if you are worried that this does too much for your students, don’t. After the first page of background material, it’s really an outline that points them to research the right topics, and even has some built in researching tools if you don’t already have places determined for them to look (databases, etc.)
As Microsoft continues incorporating more AI and coordinating tools throughout their learning suite look for more features like this to help your students make effective and efficient use of their time for learning and creating.