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Checklist for Using PowerPointin Teaching and Learning


  What is PowerPoint good at? 

  • Organizing and reorganizing information efficiently so that students see the structure of your session
  • Providing more time for listening and comprehending so that class time is used effectively
  • Providing enhanced legibility and readability
  • Illustrating concepts with pictures and other multimedia
  • Merging text, graphics, sound, multimedia offering control and visual dynamics
  • Allowing you easily to modify/enhance slides and lecture notes
  • Allowing you to face your audience (rather than facing the blackboard)
  • Presenting outlines of information

  What is PowerPoint not good at?

  • Dealing with lots of details
  • Not easy to be reactive unless you are very adept with the technology
  • Not good for some sorts of teaching - complex mathematical or chemical symbols & equations; interactive or nonlinear paths
  • Two-way or multi-way learning
  • Divergent exercises or creative feedback
  • Spontaneous note-taking.

  Keep in mind

  • As with many of the new technologies
    It is easy to do ...But not so easy to do well.
  • Remember what you know - swept away by the potential of these new tools, we often forget to apply the principles of good teaching that we have learnt and apply in other situations.
  • Planning as always is fundamental to success but the ability to operate on a 'Just In Time' basis can encourage us to do so at the expense of quality.
  • The true strengths are realized in how to use teaching tools in combination with other approaches.

  Things to consider

Even well designed presentations will fail if the technology that enables its delivery fails. The worries with using technology are not the fundamental weaknesses or misapplication of the tool itself, but the environment that you attempt to deliver it in. So a checklist for using technology in teaching is a valuable exercise to go through.

Familiarity with the technology

  • make sure you are comfortable with using PowerPoint in its delivery mode.
  • Make sure know how to use the delivery hardware from the teaching computer to the data projector.
  • If you are using anything more than simple bullet point slides, make sure that they work on the teaching machine. (For example, animations or links to other applications (Word tables, Excel spreadsheets.)

Presenting in an unfamiliar setting

  • Can you load your presentation onto the teaching machine - does it have a CD drive etc?
  • Does the teaching machine run the same version of PowerPoint that you developed in? You may be able to run older presentations under newer versions of PowerPoint or convert your presentation to an older version but not all the features may translate - check that they do.
  • Is the projector a relatively new one? Older projectors may be dim and/or have fewer colours.
  • If you plan to download your presentation over the Web or link from your presentation to the Web, does the teaching machine have internet access?

When presenting with portable equipment

  • Have you got all the cables? These are often misplaced and can be very frustrating to arrive at a venue short of that crucial cable. The location of network points in relation to where you want to locate the laptop may mean that you need a longer network cable. These are available in a variety of lengths. The same applies to the power sockets and of you are running a laptop, projector and perhaps an overhead projector, you mean need an extension with several sockets
  • Pre-install and test your presentation on the laptop If you need to connect your laptop to the internet, do you need to change the IP address on your machine?