I recently discovered Office Mix or as I keep incorrectly calling it Powerpoint Mix (as it’s really a Powerpoint addon). Okay I’m a little late to the party, Office Mix was first released in May 2014, but my Office PC has only recently upgraded to Office 2013 where the plugin is available. In a nuthsell it’s a tool that allows you to record presentations complete with narration, webcams, screenshots and even quizzes. For me it’s given me the possibility of easy and rapid e-learning development, the potential is pretty endless. For my company I can see it as a tool people could use for knowledge sharing and recording simple training presentations. For school and other learning environments it could be used by students to create their own learning materials and stories.

The simplest feature in mix is the ability to play through and narrate a set of powerpoint slides and display this as a video or an interactive presentation via Office 365. This narration can include video from your webcam and screencasting. If you have a tablet you can also annotate and draw on slides as you present (you can do without a tablet but it’s obviously messier). Functionality like quizzes are also available though I’ve not tried this yet. Obviously there is a risk of death by Powerpoint. I’ve seen and been a part of too many e-learning projects that just present lots of reading material in the forms of an online presentation. That of course ticks a box but is often neither pedagogical nor effective.

I’ve successfully used Mix at work to create a presentation to explain a new IT solution, in both English and Thai. I can’t share it all for security and commercial reasons but I include a couple of slides from it below in my Mix demo! I’ve made a short unpolished Mix to demonstrate what a Mix is and some of the functionality available. I estimate it took 20-30 minutes from start to finish to make this short presentation. To make a more polished version I would double that time but one of the beauties of this tool is you can do things “good enough” with minimal effort.

 

This was presented at Teachmeet Havering 2009…

Every Summer before GCSE exams you get a couple of weeks when you need to be revising. Students minds are not filled with thoughts of exam preparation but thoughts of leaving school (some for good) and the days get longer and warmer. It can be a very hard time for lessons to be productive even though it’s arguably the most important time of year. Last year one of my year 11 classes had a number of students blessed with musical talent. The idea of creating revision songs popped into my head. I asked a couple of students to bring in their guitars next lesson and I brought in some lyrics (see Data Capture song below). 20 minutes later two guys Aden and Sean put together a tune – we got our cheap microphone headset up, loaded up audacity and recorded this…

Data Capture Song


Data Capture Song Lyrics (pdf)

You could use any programme to record but we used Audicity which is free and simple. Jose Picardo gives a great introduction to podcasting and audacity here, I’ve used his explanation for staff training.

As I said we didn’t use any special hardware – just a £1 headset microphone and PC. After this I had a request from the students for a revision song that fitted to Fields of Gold . I sat down at home and wrote the following lyrics which the 2 guys then recorded.

Fields of Data

Fields of Data Lyrics (pdf)

It’s easy, fun, and a great way to revise. Of course you could use songs for all ages and subjects not just for revision. If you’ve any good examples do leave them in the comments.

Finally in my enthusiasm I bought www.revisionsongs.com but haven’t had time to do anything with it. If anyone would like to collaborate or take it over for a good cause let me know – it would be amazing to have a youtube style website of revision songs for students.

Addendum: Thanks to Anthony Evans from Redbridge who has posted a video of my presentation on his blog – you can watch it below.