5. Interactive resources can be added to presentations.
These can come from a number of locations, including Khan Academy, CK-12, Geogebra, and PhET. Full web pages (such as a Wikipedia page) also can be added and can be navigated normally within the Mix. Once the resource has been used, the remaining slides in the Mix can be navigated normally.
6. Navigation is easy.
The Mix playback controls are shown below. Students can use the arrows at the left to manually move forward and backward between slides. The vertical lines on the timeline indicate where a slide changes to another; the dots indicate where a quiz, a video, or an interactive activity is present.
7. Playback speed can be varied.
Playback speed (shown below on the right and currently 1.0x) is valuable for the student, as it allows for flexibility while ensuring the narration can be understood. Users can vary the playback speed from 0.8 to two times the normal speed.
The Office Mix play controls and timeline
8. Sharing is easy.
A Mix can be shared with students in a number of ways. It can be placed on the Mix site, emailed as a web link, inserted into a learning management system or blog using the embed code, and shared on a number of social media applications.
9. Exporting as a video file is possible.
A Mix can be exported as a compact MP4 file that can be played offline on a range of devices. The file retains the slides, annotations, and narrations, but it does not contain the interactive components of the Mix.
10. Analytics are available.
The Office Mix site provides some analytics, such as how long a student spent on a Mix or the individual slides. You can also see how students performed on any quizzes you included in your Mix.
11. Mixes can be played on a wide range of devices.
A full list of devices and browsers is available here.
12. Training is plentiful.
There is a full range of training videos at the Office Mix website.
13. There is a small learning curve.
Because Mix is simply an addition to PowerPoint (and is just another tab at the top of the PowerPoint menu), many people will already know the fundamentals.
The Office Mix tab within the PowerPoint menu
14. It is easy to install and use.
The installation file is small, at just over 5MB, and thus can be downloaded quickly. It will run on any computer with Office 2013 with Service Pack 1.
15. Office Mix is free.
All you need is an existing copy of PowerPoint 2013.
Peter West is director of eLearning at Saint Stephen’s College in Australia. He has more than 15 years’ experience leading schools in technology-enhanced education, particularly blended learning using online learning environments. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.