Saturday, May 8, 2010

Powerpoint: The Butcher's Paper of the 21st Century

PowerPoint has been around since 1987 but I am constantly shocked by teachers, presenters and students who use it in utterly appalling ways. Remember teacher inservice days where every surface of the room was covered with butcher's paper? Powerpoint is the butcher's paper of the 21st Century, putting yet another generation of learners into a hypnotic stupor. I feel sorry for anyone who tries to use it for their presentations these days because it has such a stigma attached to it. My pet hates are stupid sounds, transitions and having more than 4 lines of text per slide. Consider the Year 10 student whose recent Geography assignment involved using PowerPoint for a Geography essay. Yes, an essay. The student was told they had to create a PowerPoint with 30 slides and that they had to put MORE than 4 lines of text on each page. There was no presenting involved with this presentation and no originality. I have seen some great activities using PowerPoint with infants classes (I prefer Open Office Impress because it is free and Prezi makes me seasick), but they are exceptions. This Year 10 assignment has to be one of the worst. I have been preaching how to use presentation software effectively for years. As someone said, your slide show is meant to be a visual aid and not a visual distraction or sleeping pill. This week I have collected some slide show tips as well as some great ideas for using presentation software in the classroom.

Cool Things I Discovered This Week:

  • PowerPoint is good for hypnotising chickens.
  • Great PD opportunity: 31 Days to Become a Better Ed Tech Leader
  • Kids can be historians
  • The Creative Thinking Spiral: "In this process, people imagine what they want to do, create a project based on their ideas, play with their creations, share their ideas and creations with others, and reflect on their experiences—all of which leads them to imagine new ideas and new projects. As students go through this process, over and over, they learn to develop their own ideas, try them out, test the boundaries, experiment with alternatives, get input from others, and generate new ideas based on their experiences." This sadly is still a foreign concept in many classrooms.
  • A great Art site

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with you. Microsoft has a physical and emotional hold over some people. How many times do kids get set the task of producing a brochure using MS Publisher. Its actually easier to create a website or a blog with active links & videos etc than it is to create a brochure (which is in many ways redundant as a communication tool in certain contexts).