Today in my “Computers in the Classroom” course at the University of North Texas, we reviewed the PI4BL chapter “Redefining the Beginner.” One of the things I learned last semester, teaching “Technology 4 Teachers” at the University of Central Oklahoma, was NOT to assume things about students’ background knowledge and entering computer literacy skills. This chapter covers topics like alternative web browsers, tabbed browsing, password security, accessing webmail accounts, file management, keyboard shortcuts, how to Google for answers to questions, and basic computer troubleshooting. To review the ideas in the chapter, I used a PowerPoint template Jeopardy game shared by Estaban Serrano, and created a version with questions from our chapter. I shared this PPT file in my public Dropbox folder as a link on our course schedule.

Jeopardy! Redefinining the Beginner

This activity worked great, and was a good way to get every student up front and participating in the lesson. Here are a few of MY lessons learned from today.

  1. I had to alter the background color of the Jeopardy game table, on the second slide of the PowerPoint. I had changed the default link color to yellow, but that was too light for the table’s background color. I need to go back and change this on the original file I’ve shared. This made the point values more clearly visible, with higher contrast between the font hyperlink color and slide table’s background color.
  2. I should have linked the “daily double” slides back to the correct question. There are two point values in the presentation which ARE linked to the “daily double” slides at the end, but those ending slides aren’t linked to anything. As a result, when students chose those questions I had to escape out of the presentation and go directly to the correct slide with the question they’d chosen.
  3. It worked well to include “demonstration” requirements for the questions, along with factual answers the students had to provide. This made the activity and game much more active and performance-based, rather than just an exercise in memory recall.
  4. It did NOT work well initially to include the answers on each slide, since students had to “escape” out of the PowerPoint presentation to Google something or perform another demo. The PowerPoint template is setup with animations in the bullets on each question slide, so the answers are hidden until you choose to reveal them. To avoid showing the answers when students pressed “escape” to exit the PowerPoint presentation mode, I had them first click BACK to return to the main Jeopardy question selection board (slide 2) and THEN press escape to exit.
  5. It worked well to give students sixty seconds to select their question AND provide / demonstrate their answer. I used Online-Stopwatch.com in full-window mode, in a separate browser window, to run the timer. If we’d had another projector to use to show the time that would have been nice, but it was OK to just run the timer in the background. The “bell” alerted us when time had expired. With most answers I was pretty forgiving if students needed some extra time to finish their answers.
  6. It was great to have one of my students serve as the scorekeeper at the front of the room.
  7. When you get a “daily double,” you get to bet however many points you ALREADY have as a team on that question. Our class consensus was you do NOT also get the point value for the question you’ve selected, if you get it right, you just win (or lose) the number of points you bet.
  8. As I usually do with group activities, students picked names for their teams. We need to work on creativity I think – One was the “Shining Stars” and the other was the “Shooting Stars.” Maybe next time I’ll award bonus points for creative, out-of-the-box names!
  9. Since most students were able to answer the questions correctly, and I wanted to give BOTH teams chances to answer, we altered the rules so that a team could have only ONE additional turn if they got a question right. We rotated turns by having the person seated next to the active player go next, when it was their team’s turn to answer. Following this procedure, all my students were able to participate and answer one question during our classperiod.
  10. The only hyperlinking issue we had, in addition to the “daily doubles” not being linked, was on a couple slides where I had accidentally messed up the animations. In two one cases the answers “flew in” to the slide before the question. (oops!)

I know there are LOTS of other PowerPoint templates out on the web. I first learned about PowerPoint Jeopardy templates from Patrick Dierschke, when he worked for ESC 15 in San Angelo, Texas. I shared a link to those back in January 2006 here, but they are no longer available on the ESC15 website.

Do you have a favorite PowerPoint Jeopardy template? How about a “I Want to Be a Millionare” PowerPoint templates? Can you share the links? Are there any other lessons learned or suggestions you’d add to my list here that you’d recommend to other teachers using PowerPoint Jeopardy?

If you’re interested, an audio recording of our class today is available on our course lecturecasts website, which I created with Podcast Generator. More information about that process is also available.

UPDATE: I fixed the PowerPoint file problems I identified in this post and uploaded/linked the updated version, so if you want to use this yourself you shouldn’t run into the issues with table background color and missing slideshow links. :-)

“Teaching with Templates” was an article I wrote back in 1999 for TCEA’s TechEdge. Those ideas are still relevant and useful today!

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  • http://ififth.edublogs.org/ Karen Bosch (karlyb)

    I have used several Powerpoint templates, but nothing is easier to use than this online Jeopardy game that you can easily customize and save. I especially like the easy tool to keep score. Check out the game I used today to review our computer lab rules:

    http://jeopardylabs.com/play/computer-lab-rules2

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