PowerPoint as an Interactive Teaching Tool
From: geoffcain, 3 hours ago
Eight principles for keeping PowerPoint real.
At a minimum, a presentation format should do no harm to content. Yet again and again we have seen that the PP cognitive style routinely disrupts, dominates, and trivializes content. Thus PP presentations too often resemble the school play: very loud, very slow, and very simple. -- Edward R. Tufte, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint, p. 22.
PowerPoint as an Interactive Teaching Tool: Eight Techniques
Geoffrey B. Cain
The following techniques are not meant to replace your current use of PowerPoint as an information delivery tool, slide show, etc. These techniques are meant to apply principles of interactive teaching that you probably already use in your lectures or your class activities. These slide suggestions are meant to help you prevent the computer from interfering with your teaching.
1. Opening Slides:
“Take a moment to reflect on your experience of PowerPoint. Think of a negative example and a positive example.”
An opening slide is an opportunity to allow students to engage prior knowledge. Students learn effectively when they make connections between what they already know (prior knowledge) and new content to which they’re exposed. The opening of a lecture can facilitate these connections by helping students exercise their prior knowledge of the day’s subject matter.
Present an “opening question” on a PowerPoint slide and give students a moment to think about their response. The instructor may then ask a few students for answers. This strategy focuses students’ attention on the day’s topic. It provides the instructor with useful feedback on what students know and don’t know about the material being presented. The opening question might be a question that informs the entire lecture -- a point that can be returned to throughout the lecture.
2. Problem-Solving Slides:
Slide contains a question and the answer is left blank to let the students answer first.
With PowerPoint, the instructor can raise a question, give an example that needs correction, present a formula, and then ask the students to solve the example. When the instructor clicks the slide again the correct answer (or a correct answer) appears. The instructor can either go on to the next problem or discuss how to arrive at the correct answer. This is also an example of a non-linear teaching technique because where the lecture goes depends upon the student feedback.
3. Non-Linear PowerPoint Slides
“Three categories that should be understood together.”
PowerPoint often breaks information up into little discreet bits and breaks down meaning by extracting from the whole. In other words, some kinds of knowledge lose their meaning or significance when broken up into the bite-sized chunks that PowerPoint traditionally encourages. With use of simple animations, three columns of information can be highlighted one column at a time “on click.”
4. Focusing Activity Slides
“Think about how you might apply what you have learned today in your particular discipline. Discuss these applications with your neighbor and be prepared to share with the class.”
Interactive learning strategies like this can be used as transition points in the lecture. Employed in this way, these strategies give students an opportunity to think about and work with material just presented before moving on to new information. They also help the instructor gauge how well students have understood the content, perhaps shaping what the instructor discusses during the remainder of the period.
“List as many characteristics of a good lecture that you can.”
Focused listing is a strategy in which students recall what they know about a subject by creating a list of terms or ideas related to it. To begin, the instructor asks students to take out a sheet of paper and begin generating a list based on a topic presented on a PowerPoint slide. Topics might relate to the day’s assigned reading, to a previous day’s lecture material, or to the subject of the current session. Instructors often move around the room and look at students’ lists as they write, briefly summarizing major trends or themes as a way of closing the exercise. Others ask students randomly to share the contents of their lists before moving on with their lecture. In either case, focused listing need not take more than a few minutes.
5. Questioning Slides:
“Questions?” or “Come up with one test question based on this lecture and try to stump your partner.”
Asking students to come up with a question about the lecture before they leave the room encourages them to think about the material and form their own sense of closure to the lesson. The instructor can choose a couple of students at random and answer their questions in the remaining time. If collected in writing, the questions can also serve as a classroom assessment technique to help instructors judge how well their students are learning. When the students know that there are questions at the end of a lecture, they tend to take more focused notes.
6. The Blank Slide
One way to gain students’ attention and to remind yourself to stop for questions is to insert a blank slide into your presentation. This is a disruption that casts the student’s full attention on the lecturer. You can go to a questioning slide, check student comprehension, and move on to the next part of your lecture. You can also use the “b” key at anytime to black out the screen when you think it is an appropriate time to bring the material off the screen and into the classroom. You can hit the "w" key and get a white screen (think spotlight). Hitting those keys again returns you to the presentation
7. The Game Slide
This, of course, does not replace assessment but can be a way to check or enhance student learning in the middle or at the end of a lecture. Questions do not have to be based on mere rote memorization (e.g. questions can be created and sorted by Bloom’s Taxonomy).
8. The Mnemonic Visual Slide
The final technique is not really a technique but an admonition to think before you use any graphic. Make sure you understand why you are using the graphic. Aesthetic reasons are often enough, but as a designer, you have another opportunity to reinforce information or create a mnemonic device for your students or yourself as a speaker. The irony here is that in the renaissance, there were handbooks on how to memorize large amounts of information. A few of those books would outline elaborate pictures that stood in for places in the mind where information could be stored. Your illustrations can do that for your lectures and in turn, help your students remember the information as well.
The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers. -- Sydney J. Harris