EDTECH 541: Relative Advantage of Using Presentations

I am a fan of using presentation tools because it is something students can stare at instead of me. I did not use them often because students would whimper when they saw PowerPoint was on the way. I can understand their point of view because I had a student teacher who thought he was the most amazing teacher due to his prowess with PowerPoint. I had the advantage of sitting in the classroom with the students so I could see their glazed eyes and confused faces. Using PowerPoint just so you can say you’ve integrated technology into your daily lesson plans is not the right reason to use PowerPoint. It is akin to taking kids to the computer lab so you don’t have to write a real lesson plan for that day. They’ll be doing technology by using the Internet to do research.

I read Alice Keeler’s blog post on embedding PowerPoint presentations into your website, and agree with her about making the class’s content available to students outside of class. I did not start making websites until 2005 so the only time I had a website for students and parents to access was in my last teaching position. There are lots of problems with the links at the website because I did not properly move it to GoDaddy, but one day the links will hopefully work so you can see how I set things up for the kids. It is at http://www.biotechbiotch.com.  Essentially I had a calendar and linked to a copy of whatever I handed out or whatever website we used that day. If you are a teacher who can wrap up the entire lesson in a PowerPoint presentation so that kids and parents can review it at home, go for it. Anything we can do to provide useful structure for students will help them be able to focus on the content. After all, that is the main reason the teacher is there. We are a conduit that helps shovel factoids or thinking processes into our kids’ brains.

If you’re going to use PowerPoint for its structure, that is great. Just don’t make it too wordy or too boring. I may do the extra credit activity for this week because I had students do presentations in the past and I want to improve upon that lesson. I want to do it virtually and as a part of my course in 3dGameLab. This would be a good time to set it up for the kids. With that presentation, I require them to use the scientific writing at the Protein Data Bank to present one of the Molecule of the Month structures. They get to pick the topic and have to focus on using images from the website. I did this in 2009-2010 and it was a very eye opening experience for me. I’ve always tried to integrate one oral presentation into every semester because I know students need the practice. These presentations showed me how bad it had become for the set of kids I had. Laziness had crept up to a new dimension. I had a sample presentation for them, I did a sample for them, and put in as much structure as I knew about at the time. We were a Google school and students uploaded their presentations to the school’s site. Because of this, there is a firewall preventing me from sharing their horrific work with you. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Bottom line…if PowerPoint is being used for positive structure, then it is totally necessary. If it is just being used so you can say you or the kids are doing technology, save yourself the time and frustration. Find something else for the kids to do that will engage them more than your lecture. Even if you have amazing slides created by the textbook publisher, make sure what you choose to include is absolutely necessary.

If you are interested in seeing the presentation I did this week, check out: http://getzedtech.weebly.com/presentation-on-python-strings.html


Keeler, A. (2014, June 15). Embed a PowerPoint on your Website. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/2014/06/15/embed-a-powerpoint-on-your-website/


About Melissa

I am a former high school science teacher and recently completed a MET degree at Boise State

Posted on February 15, 2015, in 1.1 Instructional Systems Design, 1.1.1 Analying, 1.1.2 Designing stuff, 1.1.3 Develloping products, 1.1.4 Implementing what was created, 1.1.5 Evaluating, assessment, 1.2 Message Design, 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 1.4 Learner characteristics, 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, EDTECH 541, Standard 1: DESIGN, Standard 2: DEVELOPMENT and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks for pointing out Alice Keeler’s post. That’s one I missed in the long list of resources this week, and she points out a simple advantage of using presentation software: the ability to share it online. This is something I don’t use regularly (being a band teacher), but I would agree that it is a key advantage to traditional methods, such as a printed handout of key points, which likely get lost or left behind at school.

  2. I agree completely that any tool a teacher uses needs to have an educational purpose and that PowerPoint can serve the purpose of providing notes for students at home. I am wondering if you know about SmartNotebook and if it can be shared with students who do not have the program at home. Since I have a SmartBoard, I use SmartNotebook for my presentation software. I will also check into this to see if there is a way to convert my presentations or save them in a way that is publicly accessible. There are so many great ideas and thank you for the reminder to post my presentations for student use.

  3. I love how you point out that even thought PowerPoint is a technological tool, presenting with it is not “teaching with technology.”

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