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.
The most important part of any presentation is the content, not the graphicalappeal. That is why you should develop your presentation with the content first,before deciding on the look (colours, graphics, etc.) Create a good structure foryour presentation by reflecting on the goal of the presentation, what youraudience is thinking right now, and what points you need to make in order tomove the audience from where they are to where you want them to be. Write anoutline on paper or use sticky notes so you can move ideas around. By creatingan outline first, you ensure that the content of your presentation is solid beforeyou concern yourself with the visual elements.1. Start by creating an outline
If you want your audience to be able to see what you have on the slide, thereneeds to be a lot of contrast between the text colour and the background colour. Isuggest a dark background with light text – I usually use a medium to dark bluebackground and white or yellow letters. Some prefer a light background and darkletters, which will also work well - which you choose will depend on personalpreference. Don’t think that just because the text looks fine on your computerscreen that it will look fine when projected. Most projectors make colours dullerthan they appear on a screen, and you should check how your colours look whenprojected to make sure there is still enough contrast.2. Use Contrasting Colours
When deciding what font size to use in your presentation, make sure it is bigenough so that the audience can read it. I usually find that any font size lessthan 24 point is too small to be reasonably read in most presentationsituations. I would prefer to see most text at a 28 or 32 point size, with titlesbeing 36 to 44 point size. The only reason I would use a font less than 24 pointis when adding explanatory text to a graph or diagram, where you could use a 20point font size. If you are given a small screen in a big room, your font will looksmaller because the image will not be as big as it should be. In this case, see ifyou can get a larger screen, use a wall instead of a screen to project on, movethe chairs closer to the screen or remove the last few rows of chairs. Ive puttogether a chart that lists how far away the last row of your audience should bebased on the size of screen, font size and visual acuity testing.3. Use a big enough font
When text comes on the screen, we want the audience to read thetext, then focus back on the presenter to hear the message. If thetext moves onto the screen in any way – such as flying in, spiral orzooming – it makes it harder for the audience members to readsince they have to wait until the text has stopped before they canread it. This makes the presenter wait longer between each pointand makes the audience members focus more on the movementthan on what is being said. I suggest the use of the "Appear" effect,which just makes the text appear and is the easiest for theaudience to read.4. Stop the moving text
During a presentation, it is very annoying to have the pointer (the little arrow)come on the screen while the presenter is speaking. It causes movement on thescreen and draws the audience attention from the presenter to the screen. Thepointer comes on when the mouse is moved during the presentation. To preventthis from happening, after the Slide Show view has started, press the Ctrl-H keycombination. This prevents mouse movement from showing the pointer. If youneed to bring the pointer on screen after this, press the A key. If the pointer doesappear during your presentation, resist the urge to press the Escape key – if youdo, it will stop the presentation and drop you back into the program. Press the Akey or Ctrl-H to make the pointer disappear.5. Turn the pointer off
Every two years I ask audiences what annoys them about badPowerPoint presentations. The latest survey confirms thataudiences are more fed up than ever with the overload of text onslides. Instead of using slides that only contain text, use visualssuch as graphs, diagrams, photos and media clips to engage theaudience. Ive developed a five-step method for creatingpersuasive visuals in my book The Visual Slide Revolution. Readthe free chapter to see a summary of the process you can use tocreate your own persuasive visuals. Looking for professional photosthat dont cost a lot? Check out istockphoto.com, where I go forgreat looking photos at reasonable prices.6. Use visuals instead of text slides
The last slide you speak to should not be the last slide in yourpresentation file. You should have three identical copies of your lastspeaking slide so that if you accidentally advance one too manytimes at the end of your presentation, your audience never knowsbecause you don’t drop into the program, the slide looks like it hasnot changed. After these slides, you should include some slides thatanswer questions that you expect to be asked. These slides will beuseful during Q&A sessions after the presentation. The final slideshould be a blank slide so that if you go through all the other slides,you have a final backup from dropping into the program.7. Have Slides at the End of YourPresentation
PowerPoint has a feature that allows you to be able to move quicklyand seamlessly to any slide in your presentation. To do so, you needto know the slide numbers. The easiest way to print a list of theslide numbers and associated slide titles is to go to the Outline Viewand collapse the details for each slide (there is a button on the leftside of the screen in this view that will do this). Then print the view.To jump to any slide, just enter the slide number on the keyboardand press the Enter key. This will move you directly to that slide.This technique is very useful for moving to a prepared Q&A slide orfor skipping parts of your presentation if time becomes an issue.8. Be able to Jump to Any Slide
Sometimes we want the image on the screen to disappear sothat the audience is focused solely on the presenter. Thereare two ways to do this. The first is if you want to blank thescreen with a black image, similar to shutting the projectoroff (we used to do this all the time with overhead projectorsby just shutting the projector off). Just press the B key onthe keyboard and the image is replaced with a black image.Press the B key again and the image is restored. If you wantto use a white image instead of a black image, press the Wkey each time.9. Blank the screen
Sometimes it can be valuable to be able to draw on thescreen during your presentation to illustrate a particularpoint or item. This can be done in the following way.Press the Ctrl-P key combination to display a pen onthe screen. Then, using the left mouse button, draw onthe slide as you wish. To erase what you have drawn,press the E key. To hide the pen, press the A key or theCtrl-H key combination.10. Draw on the screen during apresentation
Elizabeth Rash provided this sample iterative case study given to a midsize class.Students are required to come to class prepared having read online resources,the text, and a narrated slideshow presentation that accompanies each module.The classroom is problem-based (case-based) and interactive, where students areintroduced to a young woman who ages as the semester progresses andconfronts multiple health issues. Since the nurse practitioner students are beingprepared to interact with patients, some slides require students to interviewanother classmate in a micro role-play. Problem-based lectures frequently alternate between providing information and posing problems to the students, which alters the entire character of the presentation. Rather than explain and convey information, many slides ask questions that are intended to prompt critical thinking or discussion.PowerPoint for Case Studies
Classroom response systems can improve students learningby engaging them actively in the learning process.Instructors can employ the systems to gather individualresponses 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. Someof the systems provide game formats that encourage debateand team competition. Reports are typically exported to Excelfor upload to the instructors grade book.PowerPoint Interactions: Student Response "Clickers"
Instructors who do not have sufficient photocopying opportunities intheir departments may be less likely to use paper worksheets withtheir students, especially in large classes. PowerPoint offers theability to approximate worksheets to illustrate processes or toprovide "worked examples" that shows problem-solving step-by-step. One valuable technique is to first demonstrate a process orproblem on one slide, then ask students to work on a similarproblem revealed on the next slide, using their own paper ratherthan worksheets handed out.PowerPoint as Worksheet
Avoid 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-mouse click advances to the next slide, but its more cumbersome to right-click to move back one slide. The keyboards arrow keys work more smoothly to go forward and backward in the presentation. Also, if you know the number of a particular slide, you can simply type that number, followed by the ENTER key, to jump directly to that slide.Best Practices: Delivery
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.