There are many teachers whouse Power Point with their Interactive Whiteboards and consider the fact that they are projecting an image onto the board for their pupils to view a good use of the technology in their room.  In truth, teachers who simply ‘project’ are not using their IWB at all.  They’re making good use of the projector but little in the way of pupil interaction often occurs inside a simple PowerPoint presentation.  That’s not to say that those lessons are not good, however, they would no longer tick the “outstanding” (OFSTED UK) box when it comes to the use of new technologies in a classroom.

For many years those of us who work with IWBs have wondered why Microsoft haven’t done more with their presentation software. There is a lot of potential there.  They did introduce the ability to write on a slide with recent upgrades which was a nod in the right direction and it would seems that Mouse Mischief is another attempt at becoming interactive.

Mouse Mischief is deemed as

A free, new way to make your Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentations interactive

as a member of  Microsoft educators programme I was very excited when i received the email offering me a link to download and trial this new idea.  I was looking forward to full interactive capabilities.  Unfortunately, that isn’t what Mouse Mischief has to offer.  It doesn’t even touch on the many features available in the leading pieces of software.  However, it is an interesting way of using PowerPoint as a voting tool.

Downloading and installing the beta gives you a new toolbar in Power Point which enables you to add questions to slides.

Mouse Mischief

The "Mischief" toolbar

You can choose to create “Yes / No” answers or multiple choice questions.  You then set the answers and like many voting tool products on the market Power Point will present you with statistics based on the answers given by your pupils.  The interaction comes when pupils are encouraged to move their mouse pointer onto their prefered answer at the board.  The beta encourages teachers to divide pupils into teams or groups for this; this is wise as it would take a lot of time to get 30 pupils to answer one question at an IWB at the same time without a voting tool.

The idea is sound and I am glad that Microsoft are beginning to explore this area of Power Points potential.  At this stage however, it’s still no where near as good as Notebook 10 or ActivInspire.  They have a good way to go yet!   The good news is that the software is still in it’s very early stages and Microsoft are looking for teachers to download it and give it a go.  They then want feedback as to how to improve it.  If you’re interested in giving it a go there is more information here.

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