A little bit of Mischief!

clip_image002Microsoft Mouse Mischief is a free program that integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007. It lets you insert questions, voting polls and drawing activities into a PowerPoint presentation. Microsoft Mouse Mischief allows pupils to engage with PowerPoint presentations that are related to the lesson being taught. Pupils use their own wireless mouse to interact with specific parts of a PowerPoint slide. This interaction allows teachers to create a PowerPoint presentation that includes an element of interaction in a variety of formats ranging from a simple mouse click to drawing lines, circles or any other shape on the screen. Pupils are more likely to engage with the presentation and become more involved with the learning environment because of this interactivity.
clip_image004At the start of a Mouse Mischief enabled PowerPoint presentation the teacher uses a special screen to setup each connected mouse; each one is represented on screen by a colourful mouse pointer.
During the presentation, special slides can be sequenced to provide the interaction; combinations of “Yes/No”, “True or False”, “Multiple Choice” or drawing actions are all possible. Drawing slides can be created where students can cross out, circle, or colour in answers, draw lines to match objects, and create new drawings or complete old ones. You can also create polling slides with no pre-defined right answers. When every mouse in use has been clicked a result screen is presented showing the range of answers collected.
clip_image006As a teacher using Mouse Mischief you have access to Presentation Controls at the bottom of the screen that allow you to control the speed of the lesson. You can use a timer to encourage faster response times and if pupil attention is drifting, you can also use the controls to hide all their cursors and get the attention of the class back to you. Additionally, you can play lessons in Team mode, where all students in a team need to work together and agree on the right answer. Depending on PC variability and USB hardware, the number of students participating in a Mouse Mischief lesson may vary from approximately 5 to 25. Windows XP SP3 has a maximum load of 5 mice; however Windows 7 or Vista can handle up to 25 mice. Specific hardware requirements are available on the Microsoft website; powered USB hubs give the best results. I’m currently using non-powered USB hubs on a HP Pro 3305 – an AMD Athlon II 3.20 GHz desktop PC with 6 Gb RAM and our 10 mice work really well. There are lots of free Mouse Mischief enabled PowerPoint presentations on the Microsoft website

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