Become a PowerPoint Wizard at School and at Home

Easy Ways to Improve Presentations

by: Amber Mac

When I was in high school most of my friends submitted handwritten essays and assignments.  Since my mom taught computers, I was fortunate enough to have access to a PC (a giant desktop) so I could type out and print school projects. 

Today, there have been debates about whether cursive writing should be taught in classrooms at all, thanks to a younger generation that is entirely comfortable with technology.  For kids these days, it's not just satisfactory to type school projects, many assignments require additional effort and work, and a lot of pizzazz.  With a tool like Microsoft's PowerPoint 2010, your children can score great grades and impress their friends at the same time.

One of the coolest new features available in PowerPoint is the ability to add and embed videos.  I often say that video is the most powerful medium we have, and many kids would agree (as they spend hours on end on YouTube). 

However, online videos aren't just for fun, there are plenty of educational uploads online, such as The Symphony of Science (which helps teach science in a musical new way).  Not only can young people take advantage of embedding videos like this in their presentations, PowerPoint also gives them the tools to edit those videos (trimming snippets here and there to ensure the best multimedia experience). 

Aside from videos, PowerPoint also has some fantastic new picture editing tools.  In other words, the days of boring text heavy slides are over.  Kids will love the ability to be able to improve photo brightness, crop images to perfection, and add artistic filters such as blur and paintbrush (I would have died to be able to do this for classes in high school).  While all this might sound a little techie to parents out there, I guarantee the student in your home can learn how to master this functionality in minutes. 

I do a lot of public speaking, and I spend a tonne of time tweaking my own presentations, so I know how important it is to have proper and timely transitions.  Once your son or daughter has their content ready to roll, he or she can integrate 3-D slide transitions or animation effects to wow their fellow classmates. 

Oh, and did I mention how easy all of this is?  If your kids know how to drag and drop, and rest assured they do, PowerPoint makes it a cinch to turn a static presentation into a multimedia sensation.

Now as much as I'm chatting about PowerPoint in the classroom, this software is a must have for adults too.  Whether you're creating a slideshow for your parents' anniversary or whipping up a presentation for your friends' wedding, the features I outlined above will dazzle your guests.  Whether you're adding you dad's baby photo or including a video of your friend's funky chicken dance, this version of PowerPoint will make people forget that they're looking at slides and keep them on the edge of their seats waiting for more from the show.


Amber Mac is a bestselling author, TV host, keynote speaker, and tech entrepreneur.  Aside from working as an on-air technology expert for shows such as The Marilyn Denis Show, CHUM-FM, and App Central, she produces her own digital content for her more than two million fans online.  Her first book, Power Friending, was a Globe & Mail bestseller.  Her most recent book Outsmarting Your Kids Online, with security expert Michael Bazzell, has reached the Amazon bestsellers list in Canada.  Amber also runs a digital marketing agency called Konnekt and a content production company called AmberMac Media.