Microsoft PowerPoint originated in the business world but is now widely used as a tool for educational purposes. A typical PowerPoint presentation usually contains diagrams, pictures, graphs, and bullet points.
Students can remember information better when presented in such a visual, dynamic way. The slides can help keep teachers on track, and a combination of text, art, animation, audio and video elements can make them very engaging.
Ease of use for teachers and students
PowerPoint is easy to use, even for those who are not that proficient with technology. It is possible to add fonts, formatting and animation just by clicking buttons. There is a shallow learning curve for basic use, and teachers can learn more advanced options if they feel they need them.
Students can easily construct creative PowerPoint presentations for their projects and assignments. Doing so can teach them valuable technology skills. Speaking in front of others to deliver presentations can also help to develop their confidence.
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Interactive teaching potential
The use of PowerPoint can stimulate more teacher-student interactivity. Some argue that PowerPoint presentations encourage students to be passive. This largely depends on how a teacher uses PowerPoint. If teachers just read out the slides, a presentation can be very boring. As teachers move from slide to slide, they need to invite input from students and allow them to ask questions. This can stimulate some lively classroom discussions.
Flexibility of use
PowerPoint helps teachers to be creative. They can use it for many different purposes, such as for field trip presentations, interactive book reports, and much more. Here are some of the diverse ways to use PowerPoint, even in lectures or seminars.
- Deliver instructions in laboratory sessions
- Provide tests and quizzes during class sessions
- Gather outcomes of discussions during class activities
- Provide self-study sessions with feedback after class activities
- Interact with websites and other information
- Organize group or individual student presentations
Teachers can use PowerPoint to present instructions for an entire class or to create tutorials or quizzes for individual students.
Presentations can be set to run automatically to display student work at parent open days or for technology fairs.
Use templates to improve the structure
Using templates can help to improve the clarity and structure of lessons. They can prevent the use of excessive tests, as is often the case when using overhead transparencies. The use of templates can result in a clearer structure and prevent teachers from trying to include too much information.
Incorporate a variety of media types
By carefully mixing media, teachers can make presentations that appeal to students with a wide range of learning styles. Incorporating color effects, animation, sound effects etc., can help to reinforce learning.
Teachers must be careful not to use too many effects at the same time as this could also detract from learning. They shouldn’t use more than two text colors in a presentation unless they have a good reason for doing this. Using all kinds of different fonts is also distracting for students. An optimal strategy is to use headings, sub-headings and essential graphics. This encourages students to take notes based around the headings.
Editing of files is easy
The ease of editing files makes it possible to revise teaching materials without adding too much in terms of workload or time. Presentations can also be modified time and time again for different purposes. It is also possible to edit them to accommodate students at different levels.
There are various printing options
There are various options to print presentations. Teachers can print the slides or just the text from the slides. They can save only outlines and make further modifications to create handouts for students. Adding interactive elements such as questions or readings could make handouts more engaging for students.
Those who think using PowerPoint can have a negative effect on education usually have this opinion because of its ‘misuse.’ The appropriate use of PowerPoint in education involves using its features to enhance teaching and the learning experience.
James Collins works as an online tutor for a leading private tutoring agency that is one of the best in the online sphere. He teaches various subjects to schools, provides writing classes and academic writing assistance to students. His free time is for kayaking, cycling and writing short stories for children’s textbooks.