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Animated PowerPoint Lessons: A Powerful Tool for Promoting Literacy, Language and AAC in the Classroom!

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Symbol-supported lessons are a great way to promote a literacy agenda, while continuing to address a language/AAC agenda for students with Complex Communication Needs. The robust animation features of Microsoft PowerPoint, combined with symbol support (e.g., SymbolStix, Picture Communication Symbols) can result in highly interactive materials, capable of addressing multiple needs, reflecting a continuum of early childhood activities within a mixed ability classroom. Targeted activities may include Cooking, Arts/Crafts, Songs/Poems, and even Science Projects. The format remains highly consistent across activities. On each page, the text has been parsed into smaller units, each supported by an animation denoted by a star. All animations are created using clear photographs/graphics and are accompanied by realistic sound effects to better engage the interest of the full spectrum of students. Picture symbol-support is designed to appear AFTER the page animations are completed. If symbol comprehension, rather than literacy is the primary focus within a classroom, the animation sequence can be easily redesigned to ensure the symbols appear upfront, when each page opens. These animated PowerPoint files can be presented as a group lesson on the interactive whiteboard or can be used during an individual or small group lesson (classroom activity centers) using an iPad. When used in conjunction with a remote switch, there are numerous opportunities for group engagement/participation and even switch training for that child who needs more switch practice. Quite simply, Microsoft PowerPoint can be used to create highly interactive, multi-faceted and inclusive lessons. “You said you made this with PowerPoint? Really?”


Carol Goossens    
Augmentative Communication Service
United States


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