From eSchool News this week and article on a free addition to PowerPoint from Microsoft. The article outlines a new tool called Mouse Mischief which allows students to take part in PowerPoint presentations. The tool allows teachers to add multiple choice and other questions to the presentation. Students can then attempt to answer the questions either individually or as a class. Teachers can then display the results and individual student responses are not identified. So far so good and this could be a useful tool if used creatively for student learning. The tool is free and can be downloaded and, according to Microsoft, can help to engage students. On the other hand, the use of PowerPoint in schools often gives rise for concern amongst TLs and teachers. Adding this tool to a poor presentation is not going to actively engage students. OK – they might answer the questions, but only if they are told to do so. It also depends on the questions. So can I please ask that no teacher librarian or school librarian out there be tempted to use this tool to test students’ knowledge of Dewey? Have a look and see what you think.
Apart from watching films on the plane journeys from Australia to Scotland (and is it strange that you really have to think about what you watched? Probably not as you are tired and will watch most things.) the last film I went see on the big screen was The Last Station which is a tale about the last days of Tolstoy. It is lavishly photographed with some sweeping views of what is meant to be the Russian countryside and it also a costume drama. There are a number of interlinked stories but the main focus is on Tolstoy and his complex relationships with his wife and with his published work. There are some fairly unconvincing aspects of the film and you may or may not like the ending, but it is well acted and has some stunning photography, so give it a go.