Recently released by Microsoft for Back to School, PowerPoint has a new tool for students (or anyone) to practice giving live presentations with PowerPoint. Welcome to Day 73 of 365 Ideas for Office 365– Rehearse with Coach.
Why you want to Rehearse with Presenter Coach
As the name indicates, this features active coaching via AI. While practicing speaking as you proceed through the slides, PowerPoint’s Coach gives feedback on the bottom left corner of the screen. What’s more, at the end of the slide show yo will receive customized feedback, data and suggestions for improvement based on your performance.
Great news for those of you with mere Chromebooks, this feature is in the Office 365 version of PowerPoint, so you can access it on any web-enabled devices.
Opening Presenter Coach
Open a PowerPoint slide show from Office 365. Click on the Slide Show tab on the ribbon, then select Rehearse with Coach.
This opens the slideshow in slideshow mode, which is why you find this feature under the Slide Show tab. This also opens a window in the bottom left corner of the screen that tells you what is about to happen. Just click on the big red button to rehearse your presentation.
Using Presenter Coach
Now scroll through your slides, talking exactly as if you were standing in front of your audience. The AI needs you to have a microphone and an internet connection. Slide Rehearser will give you feedback while you are practicing regarding your pacing, filler words like “umm”, “ah”, and “like” and also how different the content of your speech is from the words written on the slide you are on.
Your Rehearsal Report
When you complete the slideshow, or stop it, the Rehearsal Report pops up to fill the screen. The Rehearser provides data on the same points that the Coach comments on while you rehearse. The report summarizes your performance and gives encouragement for what you did well and suggestions for improvement. The other piece that Rehearser listens for is “Sensitive Phrases”, or rather the avoidance thereof, which constitutes “inclusive speech”. Each of these categories can be clicked on for more information.
Fostering Student Independence
While you may not find this feedback revolutionary, bear in mind a couple important points. First, students can rehearse independently. Every student in class can rehearse at the same time, theoretically. Nobody has to wait in line for you to hear them to give feedback, or if they do, they can be practicing while they wait. You could even make it a prerequisite that before they give their presentation they have to practice, either a certain number of times, or reaching a certain criteria of results. Students can take a screenshot of their Rehearsal Report and submit it though Teams or Class Notebook.
Feedback from Someone Besides You!
The other point to make note of is that PowerPoint, not you, is giving the feedback. You can tell them over and over not to read from the slide, or to slow down, but for some students, this “raw data” is easier to receive advice from. They can’t claim “PowerPoint just doesn’t like me!”
So show your students how to Rehearse with Coach, and see how many times they press the red “Rehearse Again” button.
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If you like this style of directions and screenshots, walking you through ideas for using Microsoft tools in your classroom, check out my book,
All the Microsoft Tools You Need to Transform Your Classroom: 50 Ideas for using Microsoft Office 365 for Education available on amazon in both Kindle and paperback.