Adding VoiceOver to PowerPoint

The first “3 Minute Teaching With Tech Tip” Video Shows how Easy it is to Narrate Over PowerPoint 2010

Have you ever wondered how hard (or easy) it is to add voice narration to PowerPoint Presentations in Office 2010? It’s really not very difficult at all!

Our 2012 article, Add Voice Over to PowerPoint Presentations in 5 Easy Steps, is consistently one of the most viewed posts on the site, attracting thousands of readers every month. This deals with PowerPoint 2007 though, and PowerPoint 2010 works differently.

This video shows just how easy it is to tackle this with PowerPoint 2010. The cool thing is that you have 2 choices – adding voice clips to individual slides (which is really easy), or narrating over sets of slides (which isn’t very hard, but it is a little more involved).

Regarding the title of the video: I am intending to create a series of “3 Minute Teaching With Tech Tip” videos in the coming months. I hope you like the idea! I know I am much more likely to check out a tech tip if it is short and to the point.

Getting More In-Depth With Slide Narration

If you do start to dive a little deeper into narrating over PowerPoint 2010 slide decks, here’s Microsoft’s page on how to do this, which has further explanation of things like setting and using slide timings: Record and add narration and timings to a slide show.

Happy Narrating!


Teachers can record a screencast or leverage existing videos, and embed questions at strategic points in a video to monitor comprehension and/or push a student’s thinking. Teachers can differentiate content and questioning and promote self-paced learning. Additionally, by embedding formative assessment checks throughout the video and analyzing real time data based on student response, teachers can provide precise intervention or enrichment along with timely and specific feedback.

Teachers can use this tool as part of a flipped or blended learning model to provide self-paced learning opportunities. Videos can be taken from YouTube or teachers can utilize their own creations. Don’t think of it as just a teacher tool; encourage students to create their own flipped videos with questions.


Engage students easily

Enable self-paced learning with interactive lessons, add your voice and questions along the video.

Reinforce accountability

Know if your students are watching your videos, how many times and see the answers they give.

Save time

Take already existing videos from Youtube, Khan Academy, Crash Course, etc. or upload your own.

Electonic Media

"This introduction video is an overview of a discussion about communication through electronic media. It explores and discusses internet communication, text messaging, social networks, and other electronic media: some of their uses, some myths created around them, and some ideas about how they can be used. Some of the video is based on the works of Dr. David Crystal, professor of linguistics and author. "


Personalized newsletters


This is a great little article on personalizing your generic letter to each child.  It really increases the chances that your newsletter will get read.. is a platform that allows students to take notes synchronized with video. In other words, students can be viewing a video on half their screen while simultaneously taking notes on the other half.

This is an innovative way to help students engage deeply with a text, as called for by the Standards. The most amazing aspect to is that each note is automatically synchronized with the video (think time-stamped). When students go back to review the notes they took, all they have to do is click on a line they typed and the video jumps to that specific point. isn’t simply limited to YouTube either (though it does work seamlessly there); Khan, Vimeo, and several MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platforms work as well. Additionally, the tool connects with a person’s Google Drive account, so it’s perfect for Google Apps For Education districts around the world.

Several uses exist for the tool, but teachers may find great value with as part of a flipped learning model. Teachers can assign a video and ask students to take notes on its content. Additionally, teachers may ask students to jot down questions, connections, wonderings, wow/a-ha moments, etc. Students can then either share their notes with the teacher as a vehicle for personalized feedback, or with peers as part of structured opportunities for collaboration and dialogue. The tool encourages students to not simply listen to the content, but also to employ visual and oral comprehension strategies, along with writing processes.

General Cross Curricular Resources

Courtesy of Vince Hamm:, our free curriculum sharing community with over 500,000 registered teachers, is building a living, breathing body of knowledge around effective instruction. Through our Master Teacher Projects, we recruit the highest performing teachers in the country to share the full suite of their effective practice (all of their lessons and best practices). In partnership with the NEA, the Gates Foundation, and the Learning Accelerator, we have launched four K-12 Master Teacher Projects in Common Core Math, Common Core ELA, Next Generation Science, and Blending Learning. We currently have over 10,000 rich, comprehensive lessons across every single CC standard…and there are more on the way!


Courtesy of Vince Hamm:

Plickers is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.

The DIgital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an online collection of millions of photographs, maps, sounds, manuscripts, books, and more accessible anytime, anywhere, for anyone. DPLA materials come from museums, archives, and libraries across the United States, and provides primary source examples of our American Heritage and human history. With DPLA, users can explore resources by topic, map, format, timeline, or exhibition. With a free account, items can be saved to lists and shared with others. Grades 6-12.

Tip: DPLA's programming interface and open data promote transformative use by designers and developers. Look for amazing tools and programs built by the DPLA’s partners that will turn in to indispensable resources for your students and staff.

Language Arts
Google News Archive

Google has created a news repository. It’s a searchable archive of newspapers from around the world, dating all the way back to the 1700s.

You can easily search topics or specific time periods to provide students primary sources. Think about the power of this. Students can search a paper from the North about the Civil Rights Movement, and then students can read the Southern perspective by the contemporary news reporters. Students have access to first-hand accounts to analyze and create their own perceptions of events during a particular time. Take it a step farther by examining two different countries during one of the World Wars, or the English perspective on America’s Revolutionary War.

Students are often receiving history from textbooks. “History is written by the victors” is a phrase often attributed to Winston Chruchill. Give students the ability to decipher biases (a skill called for by the Common Core) and interpret and analyze history through differing perspectives


DOGO is a robust online network that aims to empower students to engage positively with digital media and a worldwide audience. The website caters to children, embodied in their name “dogo” — which means ‘young’ or ‘small’ in Swahili. DOGO is comprised of several websites that foster both fun and interactive experiences by providing kids the opportunity to earn badges for reading and expressing their opinions. Students can connect with peers from around the world virtually and build their own personal learning network around digital texts in the ELA classroom. is a leading source for current events, news, and non-fiction texts across a variety of categories and grade levels. Students can discover articles of interest and post comments based on their reactions to the content, all within the confines of a kid-friendly ecosystem. houses an extensive catalog of book reviews composed by kids for kids. Students can explore and/or submit reviews. All posts are moderated and vetted, so content is appropriate. As you learned in our last post, we very much value engaging students with authentic experiences. Leveraging this online network to share their thoughts about books and read others’ perspectives, truly cultivates authenticity for our children. mirrors the concept of DOGObooks by providing a platform for students to discover, watch trailers, and craft reviews of movies. Similar to DOGObooks, all reviews are moderated and vetted to ensure appropriateness. Film is a highly-engaging, multimodal tool to incorporate in the classroom. Teachers can foster both reflection and meaningful writing by encouraging students to express their opinions on the movie; in other words, students can write arguments to support claims using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence, as called for in the Common Core.

We think it’s critical that educators expand the definition of “text” beyond simply words on a page. Film, art, and music are all texts which kids can respond to in written form. Students can take the content of a film, for instance, and craft powerful arguments to support claims regarding symbolism, character development, mood, and theme. The skills being applied by the students are the same even if the source is not traditional.

Some of you may disagree with the idea that the definition of text is more nuanced — and broader — today. We completely understand. However, education is evolving. The norms of today’s classroom practice cannot look like yesterday’s. We encourage you to take risks and re-imagine pedagogy. The teacher doesn’t have to be the smartest person in the room anymore. The world is shrinking — and that’s a good thing. Let’s provide students multiple networks with which to learn, and audiences with which to connect. Let’s get comfortable being uncomfortable.


Newsela is an innovative way to build reading comprehension with nonfiction text that’s relevant. Articles are updated daily with real-world news from major publications. Newsela makes it easy for an entire class to read the same content, but at a level that’s just right for each student.

Newsela supports differentiation through interest and ability level. With its wide array of highly engaging categories, students are very likely to discover content that piques their curiosity. The free version of Newsela also gives teachers access to articles at varying Lexile levels. So hypothetically, educators can take the same piece and present it to students at a 620 Lexile as well as an 1170.

We’ve used Newsela with seventh grade students and saw a drastic improvement in their reading abilities. Articles were given as cold reads to help students apply and practice reading skills to measure mastery. After taking the PARCC test, students shared that Newsela was the closest resource used in our classroom to the assessment.

Text sets are another way to utilize Newsela. The Common Core calls for students to analyze multiple texts on the same topic and/or theme. You can create your own sets by searching the articles. Newsela has even started to create their own text sets that accompany specific novels.

They’ve recently launched an extension of their site that is explicitly designed for elementary students. Articles here have been vetted by the Newsela Elementary editorial team to determine whether emerging readers have the schema and maturity to handle its content and deeper meaning.

And don’t forget, this resource can also be utilized for students to conduct research.

Tween Tribune

TweenTribune is a news site brought to you by the Smithsonian that provides daily news articles for students. Articles are selected by professional journalists working in collaboration with teachers and students. As a Smithsonian resource, it has a plethora of science and history focused articles. This is a perfect website to find content-specific resources for our history and science teachers.

Like Newsela, TweenTribune offers the same article at different lexile levels, which gives teachers the ability to differentiate with the click of a mouse. Educators can create classes to assign articles and quizzes to their students that are automatically graded and delivered to the teacher’s online gradebook. The site has lesson plans for teachers that can be filtered by topic, grade level, and Common Core standards. It also doesn’t leave our Spanish speaking students out — TweenTribune provides resources in Spanish, too. This is a great resource for ESL/ELL teachers.


Wonderopolis is a magical place where natural curiosity and imagination lead to exploration and discovery for learners of all ages. Each day, Wonderopolis poses an intriguing question and explores it in a variety of ways. Their approach both informs and encourages new questions, sparking new paths of wonder and discovery in family and classroom settings.

Wonderopolis taps into our inherent love of learning and provides a golden opportunity to capture the interest and engagement of your class. With hundreds of different “wonders” available, teachers can provide choice and have students select something they’d like to learn more about. Each “wonder” includes vocabulary (which is previewed), text (which explains the wonder in kid-friendly terms), and also a video. Additionally, there is supporting material available for children to continue the inquiry — which may serve as a springboard to inform a Genius Hour project if given the opportunity.


It’s no secret that a lot of students hate math. To them, math is just a bunch of random skills to memorize and regurgitate, and they see math class as totally disconnected from their lives. When students see no reason to learn, they don’t.

This isn’t just bad for students. All teachers want to engage their students in meaningful learning experiences. But, for a variety of reasons, many math classes are still largely characterized by rote procedures: do this, then do that. This alienates students from math and teachers from their students.

They create lessons that explore the math behind real-world topics, from sports to shopping to the odds of finding life on other planets. These lessons put teachers and students in a position to have interesting conversations that foster a classroom culture of curiosity and rigorous mathematical thinking.

National Libray of Virtual Manipulatives

Learning and understanding mathematics, at every level, requires student engagement. Mathematics is not, as has been said, a spectator sport. Too much of current instruction fails to actively involve students. One way to address the problem is through the use of manipulatives, physical objects that help students visualize relationships and applications. We can now use computers to create virtual learning environments to address the same goals.


TIP:  Use your SmartBoard to enrich your classrooms with virtual manipulatives.


DraftBack is a free tool designed for use with the Google Chrome browser and the Google Docs environment that allows you to play back the revision history in any doc that you can edit. It’s like being able to go back and watch your student’s writing process as it’s happening. This tool can be utilized with students to help them reflect on their writing process, and with parents and special services team members to make the student’s writing process visible.

For example, the Teacher’s College writer’s workshop model focuses instruction on the process instead of the product to develop lifelong writers. Students are given the opportunity to practice specific writing strategies over several pieces, instead of the traditional approach of students working on one piece throughout a unit. This promotes metacognition by pushing students to think critically about why they are using specific writing strategies. DraftBack encourages students to take a look back through their writing. It’s a perfect tool to use with students during individual conferences.

We’ve also found that this tool is helpful during parent and/or special services meetings as a means to examine a student’s writing progress. In playing back the revision history, it’s like seeing a piece written in real time and helps to give more insight in providing targeted strategies for our struggling students.


Are you searching for technology that will motivate budding and reluctant writers to author the next great story? Inklewriter provides the format for writing interactive branched stories. While students focus on writing, Inklewriter handles the story paths that end and those yet to be developed. Students who love the "choose your own ending" stories will enjoy writing, editing and reading on this dynamic site. Branched stories with the potential for multiple endings will also intrigue those interested in game development. Finished projects can be shared with a limited or global audience at the author's discretion.

Tip: Use Inklewriter to explore decision making and consequences in secondary Health, Social Studies, Science, and English classes


Kaizena is an amazing free tool that educators can use in conjunction with Google Docs to provide real time feedback with their own voice! Teachers can record audio comments that can be heard and responded to directly within a document.

Providing written feedback can be a cold, impersonal process. Consider the power of this for a moment: Students put their heart and soul into a submitted assignment only to be slightly crushed when it’s returned marked up — all they see is someone telling them what they did wrong. Tone can’t be translated through text. And despite the best intentions of the teacher to be constructive, students are inevitably disappointed… as if their efforts weren’t good enough.

Enter Kaizena, which helps potentially eliminate this feeling as the feedback is delivered in the teacher’s voice via technology. Rather than sifting through the comments on the page, students can hear a teacher’s nurturing and encouraging tone as feedback is delivered orally. The tone isn’t misconstrued and the student’s effort is recognized.

Kaizena also provides teachers an opportunity to extend the school day. One of the most valuable components to solid writing instruction is the one-on-one conferences teachers facilitate with students to guide, scaffold, and push their thinking. Only problem? There’s never enough time! Kaizena is a vehicle to conduct these conferences through technology by providing two-way, real-time conversation.

This tool isn’t limited to only teacher-to-student. Student feedback is vital. Use Kaizena to empower kids to improve their writing and editing skills by giving and receiving verbal feedback from their peers.

No Red Ink

Grammar is credibility, especially online. Words carry a tremendous amount of weight in a virtual world where judgement is often cast based on accurate syntax. No Red Ink is a grammar solution created by two teachers to help students. It provides high-interest content with authentic assessments that adapts as students interact with the technology.

Teachers can use the program as part of a blended learning environment. It gives learners immediate, differentiated feedback as they practice the necessary skills to demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage – a tenet explicitly required by the Common Core.

No Red Ink affords students the opportunity to select their interests, so all of the work is personalized and relevant, and the tool provides teachers the ability to track their students’ progress in real time. The program empowers students to take ownership over their learning by identifying strengths and areas of need as they work to master individual skills. Teachers can create customized assignments to assess specific grammar skills. The assignments are graded instantly and students receive feedback as soon as they are done.


Blogging can be used as a powerful means of ongoing reflection — both for students and for yourself, as a teacher or administrator. An environment that values the art of reflection places emphasis on the importance of making meaning from experience — a crucial component in the learning process.

Quadblogging is another effective strategy for teachers to leverage when using blogs in the classroom. Essentially, a group of four classrooms come together virtually to gain a genuine audience for their students. Each week, a different class is the “focus class,” affording the other three classes the opportunity to visit and comment on the focus class blog. Over the course of four weeks, each class has their chance as the focus class, ensuring all voices are heard. Check out an example from fifth grade classes across four schools in Middletown Township Public Schools.


ThingLink is a phenomenal tool that takes storytelling to a whole new level: an image or video becomes the canvas for students to create interactive media. Students start with an image as the foundation and add links to videos, content, audio, maps, and additional images to construct a multimodal story. ThingLink contains interactive hotspots for viewers to click to explore more around a given topic.

Asking students to create using ThingLink provides them an opportunity to employ comprehension, writing, and listening skills in a virtual context. Students must strategically select and embed elements that help facilitate their story. Perhaps it’s a map that becomes interactive with content related to a series of battles, or the area’s history of colonization, coupled with music and art of a particular era. Maybe students researching an author are able to embed tidbits of information about that author’s life and writing. Teachers can even use this tool as a way to organize resources for units by providing an interactive experience through an image or video.

Virtual Debate

Virtual Debate is a project that was started by Melissa Butler and Elissa Malespina. The project began as a way to infuse technology into an authentic argumentative writing experience by giving students an audience.

To get started with the Virtual Debate, two classes agree to engage with one another and select a topic based on the interests/passions of the students. Past topics have included police presence in schools, competitive sports, and homework, to name a few.

Once a topic is selected, the two sides face off in a coin toss through Google Hangouts to decide the pro and con sides. Students then conduct research and even have the opportunity to contact experts to formulate arguments. The great news for teachers wishing to participate in the virtual debate, is that Melissa and Elissa provide all the mini lessons, anchor charts, and resources that they’ve developed.

The final debate is judged by experts from around the country, and it’s recorded using Google Hangouts On Air so parents can tune in and see their child’s hard work. You can sign up and join the Virtual Debate Project, or connect with teachers and colleagues through Twitter to start your own. Not only does the experience give students a competitive opportunity to share their argument writing, but it also hones their speaking and listening skills while having some fun!

Social Studies
Immersive gaming Experience for US History

The game is designed to encourage students to empathize with the game’s characters, make connections to their own experiences and ultimately remember what happened in history.  Everyone is able to see the history, jump into the history and describe what they’re seeing. Even if one student can read and understand 95 percent of what’s happening in the game and another student only gets 15 percent because his language skills are less developed, they can each talk about what they saw in the game. The game becomes a shared experience to discuss the choices each made in the game and how those choices changed their experience of the historical moment.  Mission US currently has four missions based around different important points in history. Teachers have found the game to be an effective sand in for a text and units can be built around the game’s themes, using them as the basis of inquiry that branches far beyond the core narrative of the missions, and most importantly, giving students lots of chances to use their language skills.  DId I mention it's fee?


My histro provides a venue for stories displayed on maps. Watch and read thousands of fascinating timelines, or create your own complete with text, video, and pictures to create a dynamic timeline mashup. Use professionally developed maps or have students develop their own working collaboratively or individually. Export maps in a variety of formats including .csv, .klm, and pdf for offline viewing or embed them on your website, blog, or wiki for easy access. Grades 4-12.

Tip: Use myhistro to tell stories that include what, when, and why across curriculum areas and grade levels that work like a dream on your interactive presentation surface.

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