When I was at Queensland University of Technology there was a compulsory subject called Learning Networks. It could have been really (and I mean REALLY) boring because the course focused on making sure we were all equipped to use ICT's (and that we actually knew what an ICT was) ...however I am starting to ramble. The point is, our student cohort was saved from going brain dead from boredom by our lecturer Michael Ryan. He used to have the most well prepared PowerPoints. PowerPoints that gave just enough information so it was relevent to what he was talking about, but not so much information that meant we could skip a lecture (smart lecturer!). His PowerPoint's always had awesome links and I am sure that he never posted the full presentation on the web because there were always extra slides at the lecture.
So what did Michael Ryan's lectures show me about the use of PowerPoint as a teaching tool?
- Less is more - don't crowd each slide with text, pictures and garish colours - "too much sensory input can lead to cognitive overload" (http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/?i=53243)
- Don't rely on rely on the PowerPoint to do the teaching - why should your students make an effort to listen if you have made no effort to engage them?
- Let your PowerPoint be a stimulus for learning - provide students with links to other sites that will have interesting information,YouTube, games or quizzes are just some examples
A study by CISCO systems shows that where visuals are added to texts (written and aural) there can be "significant gains in basic or higher order learning" (http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/?i=53243).
The Metri Group, drawn from the work of Richard Mayer, Roxanne Moreno and others created a report that outlined the learning principles for Multimedia.Two are especially relevant to PowerPoint presentations.
Multimedia Principle - Retention is improved through words and pictures rather than through words alone Modality Principle - Students learn better from animation and narration than from animation and on-screen text.
(Quoted directly from http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/?i=53243)
Watching PowerPoint in the classroom with Jim Jingle and Special Sue I was certain that Andrew O'Keefe had got his own web page. While the script was a little corny (and I could not help imagining game show music in the background) I have to admit that the site did engage me however the information may be more beneficial to those who have never used PowerPoint before.
I would definitely use PowerPoint in my classroom. For older students I would provide them with handouts so they can take notes as we go along. With younger students information would be much simpler and explicit and also the presentation would be shorter.
As a student centred technology PowerPoint is still valuable. An effective PowerPoint presentation requires the student to use a range of higher order thinking skills including problem solving and deciding what information should be placed on the slides, experimentation with layout and the creation and design of the presentation. They should also make time to reflect and evaluate the effectiveness of their Presentation.