Keynote Jedi Tricks

I wrote a bit about Dan Meyer’s 2-workshop on my own blog, but I wanted to post a small bit here on all the awesome Keynote tricks he showed off during the class.

Finally, Dan shared a few Jedi Keynote tricks that I just had to try for myself. So I’ve spent an couple of hours perfecting a few of them to share with you. Bottom line is that Keynote is 10 million times more powerful than I gave it credit for. I let my Tufte Schooling convince me that I should minimize my use of the dreaded slideshow, and so I never really dug deeply into just what is possible.

Here are a few things Dan showed us that were just awesome.

  1. Animated Geometry Problems: He animated a geometry figure in order to allow his audience to get into the guessing game. I’ll let Dan post this, but bascially, he took a pretty hard problem of two crossing segments inside a square that called on your to compare the areas of the 4 different shapes that were created by the segments. But by using the animation powers of keynote, he was able to move the segments back so that they were diagonals (and all the areas were 1/4), and then animate the segments to form the shape in the problem, leading to a hugeincrease in intuition.
  2. Moving twitter list: Dan showed off his awesome list of followers and all the crazy questions they came up on the new Apple office design. So he composted a screen captures of the twitter list into one long image, put it in keynote and then animated it to scroll up the screen.
  3. Moving lists in a window: This is a bit hard to describe, but I’ll give it a shot. Dan had a huge list of things he wanted to display on keynote one at a time. He set it up so it looked like you were scrubbing through the list and landing on just one specific thing (and you couldn’t see anything else), sort of like a slot machine. He did this by using the trick above, but then putting a copy of the background on top of the moving list, and slicing out a horizontal window in the middle of the screen to reveal the moving list below.

So I went home and practiced and put this animation together to give you a sense of just how powerful it is (and maybe this can serve as my application to Dan’s Keynote Jedi Academy when he decides hang up the math gig).

Of course, if you’re like me, you want to know how this is done, and the key is the Action Menu in the Build Inspector.

What I basically did was create 4 objects—the full trapezoid, the two half trapezoids, and the bisecting line. Then I build in the big trapezoid, wipe across the bisecting line, appear the two smaller trapezoids, drop the opacity of the big trapezoid to 0 to make it disappear, and then move and rotate the top small trapezoid to put it next to the bottom one, and did a lot of “move to back” to be able to select each of the objects to add the actions. Total time to do this: less than half an hour.

I’ve also linked to the keynote file in case you want to take a look.

So how might you be able to use this in a class other than math? Here are two ideas that came to mind:

  • Animating maps in history class: It would be pretty easy to take a historical map from the internet, and then overlay arrows and shapes on it to show the movement of people or armies during a battle and go through the battle step by step.
  • Animating scientific images: Although there are already many great animations out there for mitosis/meiosis, you could make/modify your own and have things appear/disappear on the screen as the process continued.
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About John Burk

The ramblings of a physics teacher.
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