Teachnology (2012) describes Power Point as “one of the most powerful tools for disseminating information ever known.” From a teaching standpoint it has certainly revolutionized the modern classroom. Information can be presented to class after class in an identical manner. Notes can be printed or e-mailed due to absence. Power Point provides these invaluable advantages when used in the classroom. But like many tools that are overused, they become dull or broken – so too has Power Point been misused and abused in many classrooms across America. It is this overuse that “can bore learners and diminish PowerPoint’s effectiveness” (Teachnology, 2012).
Too often today, the presentations given to instruct the youth of America’s classrooms would be described as “Death by Power Point” (Kapterev, 2007). A never-ending bulleted list of information read verbatim and accompanied by juvenile clipart. There isn’t anything much more inclined to glaze the eyes of America’s youth than that.
Power Points don’t have to be dull and monotonous. In fact, there are many resources and tutorials available to help the modern teacher brush off their dusty power points and update them into interactive 21st century teaching tools. The first step to changing a teacher’s power point paradigm is getting them to accept that most of what they have produced has been crap. Yes, crap. Two must see Slideshares that will both help teachers accept how dreadful their current presentations are and model quality presentation are Jesse Desjardins’s (2012) “You Suck at Power Point!” and Alexei Kapterev’s (2007) “Death by Power Point.” Both presentations outline the common egregious errors that cause students to stare: too much insignificant information in long bulleted lists, lack of relevant or eye catching visuals (or too many low quality or childish images or clipart), and complicated diagrams or charts.
Next, teachers must learn the guidelines to follow as they recreate their new and improved teaching tools. Garr Reynolds (2005) outlines ten guidelines to help teachers, and all presenters, create more captivating and meaningful presentations:
1) Keep it simple
2) Limit bullet points and text
3) Limit animated transitions
4) Use high quality graphics
5) Avoid PPT templates, but have a consistent theme
6) Use appropriate charts
7) Use color well
8) Use fonts well
9) Use video and/or adudio
10) Organize slides considerately
These guidelines can be used to update an old presentation or at the beginning of a new presentation. An example has been posted below.
The presentations below contain similar content. The original purpose of the presentation is to train regular education teachers on servicing English Language Learners (ELLs) in their classrooms. Much of the bulleted content from the original has been moved to the Notes section of the new power point. That way, if someone missed the presentation they could still get a general understanding of the information spoken when the presentation was given. The stark contrast between the two presentations should be evident.
What to Expect – ESL Training
Shickley – interactive presentation
Desjardins, J. (2012, September 19). You Suck At PowerPoint! [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/jessedee/you-suck-at-powerpoint-2
Kapterev, A. (2007, July 31). Death by PowerPoint [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/thecroaker/death-by-powerpoint
Reynolds, G. (2005). Garr Reynolds/Presentations. GarrReynolds.com. Retrieved February 25, 2013, from http://www.garrreynolds.com/Presentation/slides.html
Teachnology (2012). PowerPoint In the Classroom. Worksheets, Lesson Plans, Teacher Resources, and Rubrics from TeAch-nology.com. Retrieved from http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/powerpoint/