Effective Use of PowerPoint As A Presentation Tool
Effective Use of PowerPoint As APresentation Tool
PowerPoint Microsoft PowerPoint is the name of a proprietary commercial presentation program developed by Microsoft. It was officially launched on May 22, 1990 as a part of the Microsoft Office suite, and runs on Microsoft Windows and Apples Mac OS X operating system. The current versions are Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2010 for Windows and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.
Slide presentation software such as PowerPoint has become an ingrained part of many instructional settings, particularly in large classes and in courses more geared toward information exchange than skill development. PowerPoint can be a highly effective tool to aid learning, but if not used carefully, may instead disengage students and actually hinder learning.
Advantages of Using A PowerPoint Engaging multiple learning styles Increasing visual impact Improving audience focus Providing annotations and highlights Analyzing and synthesizing complexities Enriching curriculum with interdisciplinary Increasing spontaneity and interactivity Increasing wonder
Challenges of Using a PowerPoint Teacher-centered. Students often respond better when instructors have designed sessions for greater classroom interaction, such as the use of student response clickers, designing PowerPoint to facilitate case studies, or use the slides as a replacement for paper worksheets. Lack of feedback. PowerPoint-based lectures tell you nothing about student learning. Design them to include opportunities for feedback (not simply asking if there are questions, but more actively quizzing your students). This often takes the form of listing questions, not information, on the slides themselves.
Student inactivity. Slide shows do little to model how students should interact with the material on their own. Include student activities or demonstrations to overcome this, either before or after the slideshow presentation.Potentially reductive. PowerPoint was designed to promote simple persuasive arguments. Design for critical engagement, not just for exposure to a “point.”
Presentation graphics should be about learning, not about presentation.PowerPoint presentations should help students organize their notes, not just “be” the notes. This is a particular danger with students who grew up accustomed to receiving PowerPoint notes to study from. Some may require convincing that notes should be taken beyond what is already on the slides.
Ten Thoughts About How to Use PowerPoint Effectively1. PowerPoint, when displayed via a projector, is a useful tool for showing audiences things that enhance what the speaker is saying. It is a useful tool for illustrating the content of a speech, such as by showing photos, graphs, charts, maps, etc., or by highlighting certain text from a speech, such as quotations or major ideas. It should not be used as a slide-show outline of what the speaker is telling the audience.2. Slides used in a presentation should be spare, in terms of how much information is on each slide, as well as how many slides are used. A rule of thumb is to put no more than eight lines of text on a slide, and with no more than eight to ten words per line. In most cases, less is more, so four lines of text is probably better. Don’t display charts or graphs with a lot of information—if it’s useful for the audience to see such things, pass them out as handouts.
3. Unless you’re an experienced designer, don’t use the transitionand animation “tricks” that are built into PowerPoint, such asbouncing or flying text. By now, most people roll their eyes whenthey see these things, and these tricks add nothing of value to apresentation.4. Above all, use high-contrast color schemes so that whatever ison your slides is readable. Unless you are a talented graphicdesigner, use the templates that come with PowerPoint orKeynote, and keep it simple—high concept design in a slidepresentation doesn’t help in most circumstances, unless you’re inthe fashion or design fields. If you use graphics or photos, try touse the highest quality you can find or afford—clip art and low-resolution graphics blown up on a screen usually detract from apresentation.5. Rehearse your PowerPoint presentation and not just once.Don’t let PowerPoint get in the way of your oral presentation, andmake sure you know how it works, what sequence the slides arein, how to get through it using someone else’s computer, etc.Make sure that you can deliver your presentation if PowerPoint iscompletely unavailable; in other words, make sure you can giveyour speech without your PowerPoint presentation.
6. Get used to using black slides. There are few speeches thatneed something displayed on the screen all the time. If youinclude a black slide in your presentation, your audience willrefocus on you, rather than on the screen, and you can directthem back to the screen when you have something else toshow them. Put a black screen at the end of your presentation,so that when you’re done, the PowerPoint presentation isfinished and off the screen.7. Concentrate on keeping the audience focused on you, noton the screen. You can do this by using slides sparingly,standing in front of the audience in a way that makes themlook at you, and, if possible, going to the screen and usingyour hand or arm to point out things on a slide. If you expect tobe using PowerPoint a lot, invest in a remote “clicker” that letsyou get away from the computer and still drive yourpresentation. If you don’t have one of those, it’s better to asksomeone to run the presentation than to be behind a screenand keyboard while you talk.
8. If you show something on a computer that requires movingthe cursor around, or flipping from one screen to another, orsome other technique that requires interaction with the computeritself, remember that people in the audience will see things verydifferently on the projection screen than you see them on thecomputer screen. Keep motion on the screen to a minimum,unless you’re showing a movie or a video. It’s better to show astatic screenshot of a Web page, embedded on a slide, than tocall up the Web page in a browser on a computer. If you want topoint out something on a Web page, go to the screen and pointat it—don’t jiggle the cursor around what you want people to lookat: their heads will look like bobble-headed dolls.9. Don’t “cue” the audience that listening to your speech meansgetting through your PowerPoint presentation. If the audiencesees that your PowerPoint presentation is the structure of yourspeech, they’ll start wondering how many slides are left. Slidesshould be used asynchronously within your speech, and only tohighlight or illustrate things. Audiences are bored with oralpresentations that go from one slide to the next until the end.Engage the audience, and use slides only when they are useful.
10. Learn how to give a good speech without PowerPoint. Thistakes practice, which means giving speeches withoutPowerPoint. Believe it or not, public speaking existed beforePowerPoint, and many people remember it as being a lotbetter then than it is now. A few people use presentationsoftware in extremely effective ways—Steve Jobs andStanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig are two examples. AlGore’s use of Keynote in the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”was a good model. But these three examples don’t look at alllike the way most people use PowerPoint. Avoiding badPowerPoint habits means, first and foremost, becoming agood public speaker.
Presentation Technique• Leave the lights on• Blank the screen when not using the presentation• Face the students and dont block the screen• Print out large blocks of text, rather than presenting them on the screen
Visual Design• Use white space - dont crowd• Use contrast - dark on light / light on dark• Use large print• Use images
5 Rules for More Effective Presentations• Don’t give your presentation software center stage. This is the biggest mistake speakers make. They forget that PowerPoint or Keynote are tools designed to augment their presentation not be their presentation.• Create a logical flow to your presentation. Better yet, tell a story. The absolute last thing you want to do is turn your presentation into a random assortment of bulleted lists, which is what often happens, especially when PowerPoint is involved. There must be a flow.• Make your presentation readable. Memorize this sentence: “If people can’t read my slides from the back of the room, my type is too small.” Now repeat it over and over again while you create your slides. If people are squinting during your presentation, trying to make out what’s on the slide, you’ve lost your audience.
• Remember, less is more. Fancy slide transitions and fly-ins get old quickly. I strongly recommend that you keep things simple. A basic dissolve from one slide to another is usually sufficient. Also, have all your bullets appear at once rather than one at a time. Avoid sound effects—they serve no other purpose than annoying the audience and distracting them from your presentation. Finally, cut down the number of slides.• Distribute a handout. Do not think that you should distribute a handout before you begin speaking. If you do so, people will start reading ahead instead of listening to you. It’s just one more distraction to keep them from focusing on your message. It also eliminates any surprises or drama you have built into your presentation. Instead, distribute a handout of the slides when I am finished with my presentation. That way, they can take notes during my session, knowing that they don’t have to write everything down. This allows them to stay engaged without becoming distracted.
Three Possible Approaches Text-heavy: this version offers complete phrases and a comprehensive recording in words of the material. The text-heavy version can be used as the lecturers speaking notes, and doubles as student notes that can be made available for download either before or after the lecture has taken place. If the information can be accessed elsewhere, such as a textbook, it may be preferable to avoid a text-heavy approach, which many students find disengaging during the delivery.
Some images: this version sacrifices some of the completeness of the material to create space for accompanying images. The mixed approach appeals to more visual learners while keeping some lecture notes visible, though perhaps in a more abbreviated format. This is a common mode of delivery in large classes. However, there are still some challenges. There is enough material already present in text format that some students may feel obliged to write it all down in their own notes, thus paying less attention to the verbal lecture. Conversely, if the slides are available for download, some students may be able to eschew note-taking in class, yet be tempted to consider these fragmentary notes sufficient for studying for exams. Image-heavy: this version relies almost exclusively on images, with little text. The image-heavy approach signals to students that they will have to take their own notes, as these are plainly insufficient on their own for studying. However, lecturers often need more than visual clues to remind themselves how to propel the lecture forward, and separate notes may be required. One elegant solution is to use "Presenter View" on the speakers screen (which displays the notes only to you) and project the slides without notes onto the larger screen visible to the audience.
PowerPoint Interactions: Student Response "Clickers"• Classroom response systems can improve students learning by engaging them actively in the learning process. Instructors can employ the systems to gather individual responses from students or to gather anonymous feedback. It is possible to use the technology to give quizzes and tests, to take attendance, and to quantify class participation. Some of the systems provide game formats that encourage debate and team competition. Reports are typically exported to Excel for upload to the instructors grade book.
Best Practices: DeliveryAvoid reading: if your slides contain lengthy text, lecture "around" the material rather than reading it directly.Dark screen: an effective trick to focus attention on you and your words is to temporarily darken the screen, which can be accomplished by clicking the "B" button on the keyboard. Hitting "B" again will toggle the screen back to your presentation.
Navigate slides smoothly: the left-mouseclick advances to the next slide, but itsmore cumbersome to right-click to moveback one slide. The keyboards arrow keyswork more smoothly to go forward andbackward in the presentation. Also, if youknow the number of a particular slide, youcan simply type that number, followed bythe ENTER key, to jump directly to thatslide.
Respectfully Submitted to Prof.Erwin M. Globio, MSIT
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