Slide presentation software such as PowerPoint has become an ingrained part of many instructional settings, particularly in large classes and in courses more geared towards information exchange than skill development. PowerPoint can be a highly effective tool to aid learning, but if not used carefully, may instead disengage students and actually hinder learning.
Potential benefits of using presentation graphics include:
- Increasing visual impact
- Improving audience focus
- Providing annotations and highlights
- Analyzing and synthesizing complexities
- Enriching curriculum with interdisciplinary approach
- Increasing spontaneity and interactivity
- Increasing wonder
Although there are many potential benefits of PowerPoint, there are several issues that could create problems or disengagement:
- Teacher-centred: Students often respond better when instructors have designed sessions for greater classroom interaction, such as the use of student response clickers, designing PowerPoint to facilitate case studies or use the slides as a replacement for paper worksheets.
- Lack of feedback: PowerPoint-based lectures tell you nothing about student learning. Design them to include opportunities for feedback (not simply asking if there are questions, but more actively quizzing your students). This often takes the form of listing questions, not information, on the slides themselves.
- Student inactivity: Slide shows do little to model how students should interact with the material on their own. Include student activities or demonstrations to overcome this, either before or after the slideshow presentation.
- Potentially reductive: PowerPoint was designed to promote simple persuasive arguments; for critical engagement, not just for exposure to a ‘point’.
- Presentation graphics should be about learning, not about presentation.
- PowerPoint presentations should help students organize their notes, not just ‘be’ the notes. This is a particular risk with students who grow up accustomed to receiving PowerPoint notes to study from. Some students may require convincing that notes should be taken beyond what is already on the slides.
PowerPoint Interactions: Student Response ‘Clickers’
Classroom response systems can improve students’ learning by engaging them actively in the learning process. Instructors can employ the systems to gather individual responses from students or to gather anonymous feedback. It is possible to use the technology to give quizzes and tests, to take attendance, and to quantify class participation. Some of the systems provide game formats that encourage debate and team competition. Reports are typically exported to Excel for upload to the instructor’s grade book.
PowerPoint as Worksheet
Instructors who do not have sufficient photocopying opportunities in their departments may be less likely to use paper worksheets with their students, especially in large classes. PowerPoint offers the ability to approximate worksheets to illustrate processes or to provide ‘worked examples’ that show problem-solving step-by-step. One valuable technique is to first demonstrate a process or problem on one slide, then ask students to work on a similar problem revealed on the next slide, using their own paper rather than worksheets handed out.
Narrated PowerPoint Downloads
The PowerPoint software itself includes built-in functionality to record your audio commentary. In this fashion, instructors can literally deliver their entire lecture electronically, which can be especially useful in an online course. The resulting file is still a standard PowerPoint file, but when the slideshow is ‘played’, the recorded instructor’s voice narrates the action, and the slides advance on their own, turning whenever they had been advanced by the lecturer during the recording.
It is also possible to use AuthorPoint Lite, a free software download, to take the narrated PowerPoint presentation and transform it all into a Flash video movie, which plays in any Web browser. To create such a video, you must first record a narrated presentation, and then use AuthorPoint Lite to convert the file.
Best Practices: Delivery
- Avoid reading: If your slides contain lengthy text, lecture ‘around’ the material rather than reading it directly.
- Dark screen: An effective trick to focus attention on you and your words is to temporarily darken the screen, which can be accomplished by clicking the ‘B’ button on the keyboard. Hitting ‘B’ again will toggle the screen back to your presentation.
- Navigate slides smoothly: The left-mouse click advances the PPT to the next slide, but it’s more cumbersome to right-click to move back one slide. The keyboard’s arrow keys work more smoothly to go forward and backward in the presentation. Also, if you know the number of a particular slide, you can simply type that number, followed by the ENTER key, to jump directly to that slide.
But the present scenario shows a different picture
Except few teaching institutions, most of the institutions do not apply PPT in teachings. ‘It is costly’, ‘power supply is a problem’, ‘technology changes frequently’, ‘people are needed to maintain the system’, such type of excuses are common. But if the teacher can teach with the help of Power Point Presentation, teaching can become very easy for the teacher and interesting for the students.
Educational videos and lectures are available on youtube.com. The lectures of the world famous professors are also easily available. YouTube videos cannot be used directly, therefore YouTube downloader is required. This software can be downloaded from Google freely. To use the downloaded videos in PPT a teacher needs to convert the videos into ‘WMV’ format. Teachers can edit the videos with the help of ‘movie maker’ or ‘movie editor software’.
As a teacher if you are not familiar with all these techniques, you can ask for the help from your friend or any computer teacher. If you are confident and think ‘I can do it’, no one can stop you from using this modern technique.
Math teacher can make step by step slides of formulas. After explaining the formulas to students, she/he can show the process of puzzle or any sum with PPT. You only have to go through the crucial process of making slides; once they are ready, teachers will be free from dusty chalk.
History is a boring subject if it is taught with simple explanation only. The history teacher can use videos from history channels like Discovery, History, etc.
Because of the short span of a teaching period, if you are not able to show the whole video, you can write the link of the video in one of the slides of your presentation. So students can see such videos at home. The videos of other subject like Biology, Physics, Aeronautics, etc can be accessed on www.howstuffworks.com. How our heart functions – this can be taught with the help of a PPT. Nowadays it is very easy to make students understand challenging subjects like physics, chemistry, biology, etc. with the use of power point presentations.
For small classes in place of projector, large LED can be used. For large classes, a projector is advisable. The cleaning and servicing of the projector must be done periodically.
A teacher should use PPT to make his/her teaching more effective. Only a power point presentation cannot be successful. A teacher should keep in mind that individual interaction with PPT is very important and impactful.
To make a PPT follow the given simple points:
1). Use large fonts, so that students sitting on the last bench can also read.
2). Select proper font colour and background colour so that students can read easily.
3). Do not fill the slides with details – make it brief and concise.
4). Use animation schemes for effective presentation.
5). Use visually clear videos with clear sound.
6). Avoid using famous quotes and proverbs, give something new.
So, all the very best dear teachers, and see you soon in A.V. Room…
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