Powerpoint is an universal and powerful tool. However, like many tools that are easily accessible they are often misused. PowerPoint, if used as a tool in the classroom can prove to be very effective. The “death by powerpoint” saying I believe refers to the teaching aspect of using PowerPoint and not necessarily the tool. Without proper methods of using PowerPoint the presentation can become very plain and boring. Although images and other visual tools are used in PowerPoint, if not done correctly it can lead to some “dead” lessons, leaving the students begging to leave.
PowerPoint is a very useful tool however. In an article by Dr Patti Shank titled Using PowerPoint Effectively in Your Courses she describes the upside and downside of powerpoint. PowerPoint is widely available, easy to use (to build slides, etc) and it’s visual. (Shank, 2011). The downsides are not necessarily caused by PowerPoint as a tool but rather the one using the tool. Too much text is a major mistake many users do. Shank lists things we can do to more effectively use PowerPoint for example not dumping, “a bunch of stuff onto your slides” (Shank, 2011).
Looking at the way I use PowerPoint it’s been good for me to look at some of the tips of effective use. I found PowerPoint to be the substitute for the whiteboard when I have quotes or other visuals to use in my lessons. I use PowerPoint as a shortcut. However, I have found that there is some great value in carefully constructing a powerful PowerPoint to help students engage rather than feel encaged. One suggestion from Shank is to, “consider what you can do to make the experience more active” (Shank, 2011) by having students choose the topics to study. One reason why PowerPoint may not be used very effectively is because of the time it takes to create an effective presentation. For me, using PowerPoint is an effective tool for quickly allowing me to make visible important quotes and so taking extra time to create an elaborate presentation doesn’t seem reasonable for me on every lesson. I do see the great value in understanding and avoiding the pitfalls of PowerPoint so that no matter what I am presenting it won’t lead to dead lessons.
Shank, P. (2011, May 06). Using powerpoint effectively in your courses. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/using-powerpoint-effectively-in-your-courses/