To my mind, the obvious uses for animations are in the storytelling aspects of the lecture process. There are a few, possibly counterintuitive areas, where animation techniques may be used to create more interactive presentations.

Interactive handsets are the most obvious way forward for interactivity in general and there are a few crossover points where animation techniques can make interactive sessions work better.

Random Selector

So far, most of the animations have been fairly intuitively obvious. How to sort a list, for example, is complex but not difficult. Some of the animations that I use interactively are much less obvious..

For example, on a biweekly basis, I need a random student volunteer to keep track of some paperwork, so I created the random selector shown below.

The list of names (currently British Prime Ministers) is animated with a motion path that takes it across a window in the "random selector" so that only one at a time is visible. The motion path is set to repeat until the next click and so the list of names appears endless.

There is a weird little glitch in powerPoint that makes the selector work. If you click to stop the list before the animation has run through the list once then it will settle on the middle entry (Robert Walpole). If, however, you let the list get on to the second or subsequent runs through, then the animation stops dead as soon as you click and you have made a random selection.

Sadly, the glitch isn't captured by the animation app, so the demo shown below always selects Sir Robert Walpole. Download the demo to see it working properly

Pick a hormone

This animated powerPoint was designed to accompany a Q and A session about hormones. Each student had been given a hormone to research and the random hormone selector was used to choose a hormone to talk about.

One again, the "random" nature of the powerPoint is not transferred into the animation, but you should see how it is supposed to work. BTW, the first time I gave this session, the selections were genuinely randomised and the whole thing became very difficult because it wouldn't "randomly" choose the hormones that I most wanted to talk about..... Second time out, I cheated and interspersed random assignment with some pre-programmed ones.... (shhhh. don't tell the students).

Interactive handsets

Here is a very brief take on using the most simple animation technique to enable "Extended Matching Item" (EMI) questions in conjunction with interactive handsets.

EMI questions have several question stems with a common set of answers. Here, there are five separate slides that differ only in the colour of one of the questions. All of the handset-dependent settings (correct answer etc) may then be adjusted individually for each of the five slides. The appearance of the animation is of a single slide with the current question indicated by a colour change that moves down the sequence of questions. It is not obvious to the audience that there is more than one slide.....Simple and seamless.

There could be an entirely different workshop on combining handsets and animation, but that is for another day.