Death by PowerPoint – Fact or Fiction?

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I’m working on an assignment at the moment for my PG Cert in Teaching in HE looking at the use of technology in lectures and classroom teaching.  For me e-learning means the use of technology in learning opportunities, but there are still many involved in teaching in HE who are unsure about embracing technology and are concerned about teaching being technology driven etc.  Yet probably most lecturers make use of technology in their face to face teaching in lectures, seminars etc because they use PowerPoint or Keynote as a presentation aid in their teaching.

I think it’s important not to be wowed by technology and to use it just for the sake of it, but rather to think about whether we can use it to help us improve and enhance our teaching.  Using technology can help us to deliver more active learning opportunities to our students and encourage more peer to peer learning and collaborative learning. The question I have is how has the use of PowerPoint enhanced teaching and learning and is there any evidence that it has?  Were chalk and talk and OHPs worse, are our students really experiencing death by powerpoint?  Have we just blindly adopted it to help us transmit information without much thought about our teaching style or how we engage students in lectures?

I’ve got a pile of papers to read through this weekend which will hopefully help me to begin to answer some of these questions and I’d also welcome anyone’s else’s thoughts on the use of PowerPoint in teaching or links to any articles on this.  In the meantime here are a couple of slideshare presentations by Garr Reynolds who runs the Presentation Zen website, which I thought were worth sharing as good examples of Powerpoints but also because they give some helpful tips on designing your slides.  Many thanks to Vicki Davis for the tip off about the first presentation, which I came across on a post on her Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

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