I believe that PowerPoint would have to be one of the simplest programs to use within the classroom. It is easy to create a new presentation, allowing the Learning Manager to upload images, movies and graphic organisers.
PowerPoint can be used as an effective delivery tool within the classroom to place key ideas and facts for the students to make notes about the content of the lesson. Links can also be easily placed for quick access to videos, learning objects and other sites relevant to their topic (Tuscaloosa City Schools, 2002).
When using PowerPoint there are many things to consider. Recently, I created a PowerPoint as a visual aide to my lesson. I was teaching my Prep students about the lifecycle of the butterfly. After downloading and saving pictures from the Internet, I placed them in the presentation. I had to ensure that these pictures would not become too blurry when they were shown through the data projector on the whiteboard. This was achieved by selecting pictures that had larger dimensions through the advanced search function on Google Images. I then placed links to learning objects that I was able to easily click on during the presentation and have the students complete. I placed notes on the slides as prompts for myself to pose higher order thinking questions for the students. When I was creating the PowerPoint, I used various animation tools such as shrinking, fading and zoom. Although these did not add academic value to the presentation, they assisted the children in remaining focused throughout this part of the lesson as they had not been exposed previously to this presentation format.
The links that I placed on various slides gave the students opportunities to work collaboratively. These sites were learning objects featured on various educational sites, primarily Education Queensland’s Learning Place (Education Queensland, 2009). The students were then encouraged to assist each other in completing the learning objects. A few students were able to have a go on the various sites. The students who did not have a turn were allowed to use the computers at the back of the classroom during the day to complete the activities, enabling me to cater for students' individual differences.
This collaborative learning approach links to the Learning Engagement Theory, whereby students are engaged in a group context and able to work together to achieve the desired outcome (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). The activities had an authentic context as the students were learning about the lifecycle of the butterfly so they could apply their learning to understand how to effectively care for the living world.
A couple of PowerPoint tips that I have discovered when using this presentation mode:
- Be aware of the amount and size of text for each slide
- Ensure that the colour of the background and text is clearly readable for the students
- Save as a PowerPoint Show. This ensures that all pictures and movies can be viewed from any computer
I encourage you to try this technology within the classroom, however, pose these questions in conclusion, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
1. As PowerPoint is arguably the most used presentation tool, is it becoming too common?
2. Are students not as engaged in their learning if for every project they have the option of creating a PowerPoint presentation?
Until next time,
Education Queensland. (2009). Retrieved July 10, 2009, from The Learning Place: http://education.qld.gov.au/learningplace
Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory:. Retrieved July 10, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
Tuscaloosa City Schools. (2002). Using PowerPoint in the Classroom. Retrieved July 31, 2009, from Online Technology Learning Centre: http://www.online.tusc.k12.al.us/tutorials/pptclass/pptclass.htm