PowerPoint is a Microsoft presentation software developed for users who need to create simple presentations with colored text, sound, images and simple animation. PowerPoint runs on both the Mac and Windows operating systems. PowerPoint is the most widely used program for educators, trainers, students, businessmen and other professionals who regularly have presentations at work.
Due to the advancement of many classrooms in recent years, students in middle school, high school and college have been taking advantage of computers to assist them in learning. One of the most used programs used as an effective teaching aid are PowerPoint presentations.
Benefits of Using PowerPoint presentations in the Classroom
PowerPoint is widely used for a reason. It is an effective tool used for initial teaching, practice and group projects, games, tests, reviews and other classroom activities. Here are some of the advantages of using PowerPoint:
1) Easy to learn – PowerPoint allows users of all ages to create presentation slides quickly, without having to learn technical skills. It provides users the ability to piece together various types of media, such as sounds, animations and images.
2) Engagement – PowerPoint presentations can effectively hold student attention through graphics, music and video. Since kids today are technologically advanced, slideshows help students retain what they are taught and increase student involvement.
3) Introduction to Modern Media – By using slide shows, you will be able to introduce to students different media by incorporating photos, video, news, research and other educational information into a single presentation. Not only will students find this highly interesting, PowerPoint presentations also encourage visual learning.
4) Creative Instruction – Rather than sticking to traditional paper, workbook and books for lessons, a good presentation can summarize a lecture.
5) Collaboration – Presentations made by teachers can easily be copied to a flash drive so that students will have their own copies for every lecture teachers make. Teachers can also create an incomplete slide show, which can be completed by students in order to see their point of view on the subject.
How Students can Benefit from PowerPoint
Young students can work the PowerPoint easily because it comes with an easy-to-understand tutorial, which can be accessed simply by clicking on the “help button” of the tool bar. It also has a spell-check function, encouraging students to improve vocabulary while creating presentations.
Presentations and slide shows are attractive to students when used correctly. It can provide instruction to students with a wide range of learning styles, such as creative, kinesthetic, visual and auditory learning by adding multimedia tools such as color, design, images, sounds, action and so on. Examples can be included in the presentation, so that students can understand important points in a given lesson.
PowerPoint encourages collaborative learning by assigning group projects to students. It allows every student to self-learn and demonstrate what he or she learns through presentations. Assigning students to create their own presentations and prepare speeches can help them understand how visual aids work, improve public speaking skills and make them comfortable in using computers.
For students who missed class due to sickness, they can go through past lessons by watching PowerPoint presentations. Instead of copying notes of classmates, they can easily save content on a disk, study them at home and avoid falling behind class.
How Teachers can Benefit from PowerPoint
Teachers, regardless of specialization and subject, can use PowerPoint presentations to make educational instruction fun and easy to understand. Since slide shows and presentations can easily be modified, teachers can use a single template for all lessons, then modify each one based on a scheduled lesson plan. This helps teachers save time on writing on the blackboard, preparing speeches or instructional material, and even borrowing a book on the library.
With a media-rich PowerPoint presentation, teachers can create an organized, visually pleasing and flexible lesson. Teachers can use the slideshows to summarize lectures, emphasize points using graphics or sounds, review students and provide examples using a wide range of multimedia.
PowerPoint Tips for Teachers
Although PowerPoint is an extremely useful tool when used in a classroom setting, but when it is used incorrectly, these presentations can be a disadvantage. As with any lesson plan, teachers must be able to list a clear set of objectives. To ensure teachers take advantage of PowerPoint properly, avoid these common mistakes:
- Reading Slides as Is – Even if teachers create a well-planned presentation, it is important not to read the slides word-for-word because it can be a bore to watch. Slides should only include highlights or key points, with the teacher explaining them during class. If you are planning to give copies of the presentation, you can use the ‘Notes’ feature to include detailed notes about the lesson which can be printed out after the presentation.
- Overuse of Media – Too many images or too much text can distract the attention of the students. To encourage class participation, you can put fill-in-the-blanks on your presentations.
- Distracting Design – Busy design, colors and styles could distract students’ attention. Make sure that the background and letters won’t be in contrast to avoid hurting the eyes. The images and letters of a presentation should always be sharp enough for the back of the classroom to see.
- Equipments – For the PowerPoint presentation to use, a classroom must have a working TV set, projector or computer monitor. When it comes to teaching with PowerPoint, projectors is the most recommended equipment because it provides the largest and clearest slides.
- Plan B – Even if teachers worked hard to create a presentation, they should always have a backup plan in case networks go down, computers crash, projects won’t work and other technological glitches occur.
How to Make PowerPoint Presentations for School
If you have no experience with PowerPoint, it can be intimidating to learn a completely new program. However, since Microsoft has created the PowerPoint for ease of use, a whole day getting to know the ropes of the program will do. Simply follow these steps and you can create an impressive presentation:
1) Research – Like creating a lesson plan, it is important to perform research about the subject accurately. Since you will be including important points on the presentation, you should identify these highlights before creating the presentation. Use the internet, newspapers, schoolbooks and your local library in piecing together all relevant information for your slides.
2) Take Notes – Aside from the important points, you should also keep track of your research, so that you will be able to explain the highlights as thoroughly as possible. If your lesson involves historical data, make sure to organize them chronologically to avoid confusion.
3) Creating the first Slide – When you open a project on PowerPoint, you’ll be directed to your first slide. Insert a blank text and include up to 5 bits of information (with one or two images) per slide, then move on to the next slide.
4) Adding Audio, Video & other Elements – Once you’re done with the slides, you can add audio and video files to your presentation. Be careful in adding too much multimedia elements as they might overpower the lesson itself. To insert audio or video, click the “Insert” tab, choose “Movie and Sounds,” and choose the audio or video you wish to include. You can also create additional text boxes, add charts and graphs, as well as include pictures, icons, and buttons, among others.
5) View Presentation – To ensure everything you included in the slides are displaying correctly as you intended, click “View” and choose “Slideshow.” You can also use the shortcut “F5” to view your finished PowerPoint presentation. If everything looks correct, save the project and practice how you will be presenting the slides in front of the class.
Technology has expanded the way teachers and students can interact in a classroom. Not everybody knows this, but Microsoft gives educational institutions discounts when buying multiple copies of PowerPoint. Thousands of websites also provide teachers and students easy-to-understand tutorials in using PowerPoint for the classroom. Other websites provide access to different types of media, including sounds, pictures, videos and others free of charge.
By avoiding the common mistakes made when creating PowerPoint presentations, balancing the amount of relevant text and media on slides, providing an interesting explanation of the slides and developing a visually pleasing presentation, both teachers and students can use this program effectively. Visit http://itdp.providence.edu/Training/PowerPoint_Resources.htm if you want to learn the basics of PPT Presentations