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General thoughts on teaching with PowerPoint

October 15, 2010

Has Powerpoint made me a better teacher? No, it hasn’t. If anything, at first, it made me a worse teacher. I had to learn that PowerPoint wasn’t like overhead transparencies. I had to learn how to plan a lesson using PowerPoint that would present the ideas or concepts in a way that could be learned better. I am still far from that goal, but it gets better. PowerPoint didn’t make that happen; if anything, PowerPoint made it more difficult because the defaults in PowerPoint are not teacher supportive.

PowerPoint doesn’t make one a better teacher because its linear presentation style doesn’t really help with instruction unless it is used carefully. I can’t claim to have figured out how to make the best use of the structure to make it less linear though I have experimented with relational setups using hyperlinks. I need to develop the skill to move around in PowerPoint better and present in a more flexible way.

Has PowerPoint helped me become a better teacher? I think it has. In using PowerPoint, I have been challenged to rethink presenting information and structuring lessons. What I have learned from using PowerPoint for instruction is to make it simple. Try to make it as visible as possible and provide as much as possible only one focal point. What I have always to struggle with is escaping from PowerPoint to make the class interactive and student centered.

I have learned not to rely on PowerPoint to do the instruction, but I have learned to rely on PowerPoint like a piece of chalk. It helps, but it doesn’t teach.

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