Succeed and grow in leaps and bounds by avoiding death by PowerPoint


We bring to you an article based on the presentation given by John White, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army


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Introduction

Slides prepared using Microsoft PowerPoint ~PowerPoint 2002! are commonly used to convey information to groups in corporate settings, the military, and increasingly in the classroom. There are obvious practical advantages to using PowerPoint for undergraduate teaching. Thoughtfully prepared slides, shown in a meaningful sequence, reduce reliance upon teaching notes and raise the instructor’s confidence level, especially when teaching new material. Slides also keep the instructor organized and, at least initially, help foster a more positive perception of the presenter. Ian Parker ~2001! notes that PowerPoint ‘‘helps you make a case, but it also makes it own case: about how to organize information, how much information to organize, how to look at the world.’’ This is true in all areas of life of course but more so in PowerPoint.

 

PowerPoint is ubiquitous in many undergraduate classrooms. Classrooms on many campuses are equipped with state-of-the-art networked computers and ceiling mounted digital projectors, or other technology. Many instructors use PowerPoint, at least to some degree, for almost every class or lecture. New instructors in particular arrive on campus already conversant with the technology and software advances from graduate school and feel comfortable and inclined to use it in the undergraduate classrooms. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to hear students describe slideintensive classes or lectures as ‘‘Death by PowerPoint.’’

 

How do we avoid this?

 

1.     Designing Meaningful Digital Imagery

In designing and creating graphic slides, we need to ask the following First, is the image relevant to what is being taught? Second, is the slide interesting and/or entertaining? Finally, does the slide stimulate internal or external dialogue? Does it make students think? Does the image encourage engagement or debate? Distilling these criteria further to their practical ends yielded five relatively hard and fast rules to prevent ‘‘death by PowerPoint.’’

RuleNo.1

 

Avoid text based ‘‘bullet’’ slides. Students inevitably copy every word on a slide. Instructors who rely upon a text-heavy format  Few of us are capable of writing text while simultaneously absorbing substantive content from a speaker. A real and practical benefit associated with imagery is the resulting loss of available space for text. Imagery forces us to synthesize the textual component of your presentation.

 

We tend to present information in as comprehensive a manner as possible. This is perhaps most apparent when we show what students perceive is ‘‘testable’’ material. If not used sparingly, text-based slides have an unwelcome side effect

RuleNo.2

Slides should facilitate discussion. They highlight our primary teaching points. They should not be the teaching point.

 

RuleNo.3

Slides should entertain and be entertaining whenever possible.

For example, if we are to review a specific legal case in an upcoming class, I start with just a basic case name and citation at the top of the slide and then scour the Internet for relevant images. For well-known cases such as Roe v. Wade or Miranda v. Arizona, finding thought-provoking images is easy. If the case or issue is more obscure, we can find nothing directly on point, I usually fall back on whatever is ‘‘close enough.’’


For example, in a business law class we study the 1949 case of Quality Motors Inc. v. Hayes. In Quality Motors, a teenage boy buys a car from a dealer and subsequently tries to rescind the contract ~as a minor! when he damages the car in an accident.

The key is finding something visual and interesting for every slide we make. If the image we select is not exactly on all fours with your topic, it matters less than you think. An image will always be of greater benefit than a text-heavy slide with no imagery at all.

RuleNo.4

Avoid ‘‘frames.’’

Frames are templated slides that share the same background, color scheme, graphics, and even text classroom.

 

Frames contribute to an inside-the-box mind set and, frankly, they are just boring. In this regard, especially if we are new to graphics software, we should  not be seduced into using the Auto Content Wizard function of PowerPoint. Content Wizard is a graphics ~and suggested content!! template that instantly creates a 90% complete and very professional looking graphics presentation that will rapidly somnambulate even your most enthusiastic participants. The Wizard function is anathema to creating slides that truly engage people.

 

RuleNo.5

Use the Internet to capture meaningful imagery. Given three minutes and a good search engine, there is almost no picture or image that can’t be found on the Internet.

 

Additional Considerations

Using PowerPoint, as opposed to the chalkboard, allows a teacher or trainer to selectively refine future lessons by simply discarding slides that don’t stimulate discussion and keeping ~and even improving! slides and graphics that facilitate real student interest and engagement. In this respect, if there is a single disadvantage to producing meaningful classroom imagery, it is the time needed to.

 

Conclusion

Like in all areas of life, what is required is passion and conveying what we wish to. This does definitely have an impact as the passion one puts in shows and has an impact on all. Perhaps the greatest single benefit to using PowerPoint imagery in the classroom or training session is that it requires us to thoughtfully examine and reexamine how we teach and/or connect. How do we most effectively organize and present this information in a way that keeps and maintains active student or participant involvement? It is this reflective process that helps to ensure that our substantive content does not grow stale. Not every slide will be the basis for epiphanies, but creative slides do reward even the most seasoned teacher/trainer with conspicuously enhanced student interest, engagement, and dial

Ref : https://youtu.be/Nj-hdQMa3uA


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