Animations: Basic PowerPoint AT

Are you ready to keep going with PowerPoint?
So far, we’ve covered the idea that transitions define how you get around an activity and that actions define where in the activity you’ll go. Today we cover animations, so hold on for a fun ride!
Animations are the events happening at your destination page. One of the things that makes PowerPoint a favorite tool of presenters is its ability to catch and hold our attention through animations.  
Animations apply only to the page you are viewing.  You can copy animation sequences from other pages or PowerPoint files; for a reminder of how, take a peek back at our lesson on Shortcuts.
It’s easy to confuse animations and actions; the names are close and not terribly descriptive. But the abilities are different. When we get to scanning, you’ll learn even more distinctions.
Animations make objects perform behaviors like appearing or disappearing, moving, and playing sounds. You can specify all kinds of behaviors:
·        movements in, out, around the page—or all of these!
·        movements of individual items (like letters or words) or of the whole (like sentences and paragraphs)
·        the order events will happen
·        how soon
·        how often
·        and sounds
You can assign these behaviors to text, shapes, pictures, and grouped objects.
Animations are an exciting capability of PowerPoint!
You can use animations to support different learning needs of students by emphasizing concepts. You can use them to increase engagement. You can use them to focus attention.
Here are some sample activities you can download to have instant access to some of the magic that Animations provide:
·        Spelling sample. These are some sample pages from spelling activities my daughter has used to successfully practice her spelling independently. Think of them as automated flashcards, only better. They emphasize the spelling principles she needs to pay attention to.
·        Timer sample. You can add timers to pages set for whatever length you want. Some students are motivated to “beat the timer,” so this helps them stay focused. Other students benefit from a visual cue that a change is coming up…you know which ones those might be. Using a visual timer such as this can help keep these students feeling calmer and in better control.

·        Choice samples (4-choice sample, 3-choice sample). The disappearance of wrong choices keeps students from repeatedly practicing the same error over and over. It’s also a courteous, quiet way of giving error feedback without having to sound negative.
Now let’s look at how to create Animations from scratch.
While PowerPoint has some pre-defined Animations settings, leave those for basic slideshows to accompany a presentation. What you want are the Custom Animation settings. These will give your amazing control over your activity. You’ll find these buttons on the ribbon that opens with the ANIMATIONS tab. Clicking Custom Animations will open a pane on the right side of your screen.
Click the Animations tab (1) to open the ribbon. The Custom
Animations button (2) will open a new pane on the far right (3).
There are four main types of animations:
1)      Entrance: brings object onto a page. These are useful for reinforcing a correct response. Perhaps you would have a clip art image or a word of praise appear when correct response is clicked.

2)      Emphasis: attracts attention to an item. An example would be to highlight a key word to pay attention to if a wrong answer is selected before the student tries again. You can even do very rudimentary highlighting of individual words as text is read, although all the highlights function at whatever single speed you select.

If the student selects the wrong frog, the key comprehension word "not"
will be emphasized with movement and color.

3)      Exit: removes objects from the screen. You can uncover objects so they become visible and active. You can also fade out incorrect choices so they cannot be selected again. I used an Exit animations to create the visual timer in the sample you are going to download (right?).

4)      Motion path: moves an object to a specified location. These are useful for much more than increasing engagement through movement! They can allow students with severe motor issues to get objects to move to certain places, such a word onto a sorting column.
With the custom animation pane open, select your object. This group of animation options will appear when you click the Add Effect button.
The text box is highlighted in this sample. First click the Add Effect button (1),
then the kind of animation you want (2) and select the effect from the pull-down menu (3).
More options are available at the bottom of this list.
Choose which effect you want from your object. For example, if you want it to come in from the left side, you would select Entrance > Fly in or Crawl in (depending on the speed). There are more exciting Appearances, too, such as the pinwheel that brings the object swirling in. These are available through the More Effects selection. Be sure to match the type of entrance with the sensory needs of your student!
This same procedure will achieve special Emphasis effects that call attention to an object or Exit effects that clear it off the page with style. Play around with these; they are lots of fun!
Motion Paths, the last item in the Add Effects list, allows you to define a start and ending point for movement around the page, including points outside the edge of the page if you want the object to be completely hidden when it is not used. You can select pre-made patterns of movement, from simple lines or arcs to crazy springs and spirals using the More Motion Paths option.
Click the Add Effects button (1) and select Motion Paths (2).
You will be offered a list of pre-drawn paths (3) or you can create
your custom path in the More Motion Path option (4).
You can also draw your own path. These are very smooth if you choose the straight line or curve tool, but can also be complex paths you draw freehand. If the path doesn't turn out exactly as you'd like, you can select it to adjust the end points or length or move the whole path.
As you assign effects to the objects, the effects will be displayed in a list in the Custom Animation pane.
All these effects can be customized. Highlight the effect in the Animation pane for the object you want to customize. Double-click to make an effects dialog box appear.

Select an object's tag (1) to call up a dialog box that offers you
custom effects and timing options (2). Different settings will be
available depending on the effect you have chosen.

The dialog box lets you define many aspects of the object’s animation, and your choices will vary depending on the effect you have chosen. PowerPoint is smart about this. I'll show you a sample of the options you may have available:

·        Effects, such as
o   defining the direction objects will travel
o   playing a sound or narration during the animation
o   dimming or changing color after the animation is complete
o   or, in the case of text, applying the effect to individual letters, words, or the whole block of text at once

·        Timing, which gives you tremendous control over the way and the time events happen, such as
o   happening when the item in clicked
o   happening automatically, and after how long of a time interval
o   happening at the same time another object animates
o   the speed of the action (some kids need things to go slowly so they can visually track them. I usually slow animations WAY down)
o   whether the action will repeat and how many times
o   Please ignore the trigger tab for now; that’s a full lesson all by itself

·        Text animation, which gives you additional control over how text will play out, including
o   how large blocks of text will animate,
o   how associated background shapes will behave
o   whether text enters/exits in reverse order.
A very cool feature is that any object can have just one or all four of these effects! You might ask a little leprechaun clipart figure to creep onto a blank background (entrance), stop for 1.5 seconds and then spin (emphasis), climb a staircase towards the top edge (motion path) and slowly fade out of view (exit).
Each time you add an effect, a new “label” or “tag” will appear in the Custom Animation page. You may decide you want that leprechaun from the last example to walk up the stairs before it stops and spins. Just drag the Motion Path label above the Emphasis label. You can also use the order arrows at the bottom of the pane to rearrange the order of events.
You probably want to save your activity to run in Kiosk mode, just as you did with Actions. This means the student cannot activate the animation without clicking directly on the object.
However, students with severe physical issues may have more success without this extra access step. Instead, leave the activity to run in Presentation mode. An example of a time this would be preferable would be when a student has limited targeting ability and you want actions to happen if he simply clicks the mouse. Or if you are presenting automated flash cards, you might have all animations play automatically without any input from the student.
This is the last of our beginner lessons. If you have made it this far, you are 80% of the way to designing spectacular activities that can support your students with technology needs. Congratulations!!
The rest of the lessons build on these skills, so please do practice them and push the envelope of what PowerPoint can do. The more you push, the more you will get out of the lessons to follow.
Whether this is helpful or if it is confusing, please drop me a note. The more feedback I get, the better I can tailor the lessons to meet your needs.
And of course, I always welcome questions. Let me know if there is anything specific I can puzzle through together with you!
* * * * * * *
If you are just now joining our series on using PowerPoint as Assistive Technology, you will want to go back and review the topics we’ve covered so far:
1. PowerPoint as Assistive Technology--REALLY! (Intro)

2. AT Considerations for Creating Activities in PowerPoint (making sure the activities you design support the needs of your students)

3. Adapting Books for Computer Access (utilizes PowerPoint)
4. Shortcuts for Making PowerPoint Activities (easy steps for bringing elements from other activities into your new ones)

5. Transitions: Basic PowerPoint AT (increasing engagement through cues between pages)

6. Actions and Hyperlinks: Basic PowerPoint AT (moving around within the activity)

No comments: