PowerPoint Info Overload

Yesterday was the deadline for the kids to complete their summer reports on Barcelona, Malaga, Madeira, the Canary Islands, St. Maarten and San Juan. Those are all the destinations we’ll be visiting on our upcoming Trans-Atlantic Cruise. Since the kids will be missing two weeks of school for the trip, I required them to complete an extensive research project on the history, culture, and attractions of each destination. They put together the reports in the PowerPoint application, which also required them to learn specialized functions in that program like animation schemes and slide transitions.

Last night, Mr. Papa held a contest to see who put together the best presentation. The kids were judged on quality of research, knowledge of material, presentation skills, and utilization of the effects in the PowerPoint application. Both of the kids clearly demonstrated that they had learned a great deal about the history and culture of the destinations that we will be visiting. Clearly when we visit these interesting destinations they will have greater appreciation for what they are seeing and experiencing. However, they both need to learn to do a presentation without reading directly off the slide. Mr. Papa was so impressed with the presentations, that instead of awarding a single first place prize, he gave them both a cash award to spend on the trip.

After their presentations, it was time to get down to serious business: What are we going to actually do while in Barcelona and in our different cruise ports. We’ll be spending three days in Barcelona prior to the cruise. The city has so much to offer that is hardly enough time to fit in everything. The current weak Dollar against the Euro also presents some budgeting challenges. We also plan to avoid public transportation, which leaves us with some challenging walking distances if we want to try to get in everything that we want to see. Once we begin the cruise, we have to balance our desire to see some of the attractions with our desire not to over spend and also relax. With a family of four, a cruise excursion can cost over $400 for a day of sight seeing.

My job last night was to follow up the kids presentation with prices and schedules. Once everyone saw the prices it was clear to all that we are going to have to pick and choose our attractions and excursions carefully, focusing on our highest priorities and cutting less desirable options.

I still have a collection of travel videos that I’ve found on YouTube for everyone to watch. We also need to view the Celebrity Cruise tour options and see if they have some particularly affordable options that allow us to see some of our top attractions.