The impact of static versus interactive presentations on student achievement:          PowerPoint versus VoiceThread in an...
Introduction       In the contemporary college classroom, many faculty members are looking for ways toincorporate technolo...
same examinations. One section will deliver information using PowerPoint, while the secondsection will present the same in...
Review of the Literature        Savich (2008) conducts a study in which he analyzes the increase of critical thinkingskill...
students preferred PowerPoint presentations as opposed to traditional transparent slides using anoverhead projector or cha...
so easy to make that in many cases the format has become the object of ridicule and parody. InBumiller’s (2010) article "W...
Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of       interaction (student–teacher; ...
discussion groups, Huang (2002) argues that learning does not take place in isolation and thatauthentic learning is constr...
VoiceThread, an interactive tool, compared to the more frequently used, but non-interactive tool,PowerPoint in an undergra...
participants should be 200, but this is contingent on course enrollment. Each section will beassigned to act as either tre...
analyze participants perceptions of effectiveness and equivalence of their assigned mode ofinstruction compared to traditi...
•     I am motivated to study as much or more than I do when I take a course in the traditional          classroom.       ...
the research can be pushed further in a number of ways. In the event that VoiceThread proves tobe more effective, this doe...
ReferencesAnderson, T. (2003). Getting the mix right again: An updated and theoretical rationale for interaction.         ...
Pang, K. (2009). Video-driven multimedia, web-based training in the corporate sector: Pedagogical       equivalence and co...
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The impact of static versus interactive presentations on student achievement: PowerPoint versus VoiceThread in an online US history course

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The impact of static versus interactive presentations on student achievement: PowerPoint versus VoiceThread in an online US history course

  1. 1. The impact of static versus interactive presentations on student achievement: PowerPoint versus VoiceThread in an online US history course Group Research Proposal May 27, 2010 EDET 780 Maymester 2010 Lori Gwinn Michele Kelly Justin McCreary Catherine Murphy 1  
  2. 2. Introduction In the contemporary college classroom, many faculty members are looking for ways toincorporate technology into their courses. One of the most common uses involves PowerPointpresentations. When done well, information presented using this software can be bothstimulating and useful. Because PowerPoint is so easily accessible and easy to use, it isbeginning to enjoy paradigmatic stature in college classrooms where students come to expect abulleted version of a lecturer’s lesson. Many educators argue that PowerPoint has become toomainstream causing students to have less interaction and less meaningful engagement with thematerial presented. This is perhaps even more problematic for online courses where PowerPointis used to present the same material to all participants. Without the benefit of face-to-facecommunication that traditional classrooms use to supplement a PowerPoint presentation,instructors who use PowerPoint as the primary delivery mode in online courses run the risk ofdecreasing student satisfaction, student motivation, and student achievement. New technology is being created increasingly more often for various purposes, includingeducation. Web 2.0 tools vary in capacities, breadth, depth, and price. Many Web 2.0 tools aremarked by the ability to promote interaction, and this engagement is especially important for theonline classrooms. The researchers for this study will use VoiceThread to test how interactivecourseware impacts student satisfaction, student motivation, and student achievement. VoiceThread is a multimedia slide show that can display images, documents, and videos.Unlike PowerPoint, Voicethread encourages learners to engage with their classmates through aconstant thread of commentary by leaving written or recorded remarks. To test which one mayhave a greater advantage in the classroom, the same instructor will teach two sections of thesame US History course completely online using the same materials, same textbook, and the 2  
  3. 3. same examinations. One section will deliver information using PowerPoint, while the secondsection will present the same information using Voicethread. The literature and reflections onprofessional experiences lead the researchers to question whether or not collaborativeinstructional tools will lead to increases in student satisfaction, motivation, and achievement. Figure 1. Screenshot of VoiceThread. This picture shows an example of the multimedia dimensions of this platform 3  
  4. 4. Review of the Literature Savich (2008) conducts a study in which he analyzes the increase of critical thinkingskills in a history classroom. His study concludes that a lecture method does not motivate studentlearning and stagnates critical thinking ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and conceptualizeinformation. To increase levels of critical thinking in the classroom, faculty looks towardtechnological tools to enhance learning, stimulation, and satisfaction. The literature is rich withresources supporting PowerPoint as both an effective and an ineffective instructional deliverytool. To argue for the benefit of PowerPoint versus not presenting information with the tool,Fehn (2007) describes an explorative study of the use of PowerPoint as a tool for instruction inan undergraduate history course for pre-service teachers. The purpose was to expose PowerPointas a valid tool for historical narrative instruction versus the traditional "chalk and talk" method.Groups of students were assigned to compose PowerPoint presentations with varying levels ofinstruction regarding the amount of information or content to be included in their presentationsfrom the instructor at the point in which they were supposed to present their presentations. Somewere instructed to use "words only" in their slides, while some "images only", while others usedwords and images. The study also evaluated whether students would mimic the instructorspresentation style once exposed to the use of PowerPoint in their own presentations. Evaluationswere then conducted on which presentations yielded the most knowledge gains and the "pre-service" teachers thoughts on using PowerPoint as an instructional tool to explore historicalnarrative. Results showed that the use of PowerPoint enhanced the amount of knowledge gainedand increased participants historical imaginations. Bartsch and Coburn (2003) also argue that 4  
  5. 5. students preferred PowerPoint presentations as opposed to traditional transparent slides using anoverhead projector or chalkboard lectures. While there are those who argue for PowerPoint, there are also those who argue againstthe use of PowerPoint. In fact, Savoy, Proctor, and Salvendy (2009) argue that PowerPoint hasactually has a negative effect on the retention of verbalized information. Their findings alsosuggest that more information is retained when PowerPoint is not used. PowerPointpresentations have become nearly ubiquitous in forums where information must be presented.While PowerPoint presentations can be useful in teaching a course while keeping an audiencesattention, they can also be ineffective or even have negative effects if done poorly. Klemm(2007) in his article "Computer Slide Shows: A Trap For Bad Teaching" argues that PowerPointcan cause teachers to form substandard teaching habits. When teachers form these massivePowerPoint presentations, they tend to go into lecture mode with little regard to how the studentsare reacting to or engaging with the material. Once students become accustomed to this style oflecture, they may begin to believe that the bullet points on the slides are the only parts of theclass worth remembering. But this may backfire for students because Klemm (2007) also argues that PowerPointpresentations violate important memorization habits. Optimal memory occurs when students payattention and focus. Attentiveness is diminished when the learner is in a passive, “entertain-me”mode. Memory also works best when instruction is delivered in short segments. Klemm (2007)admits, however, that there are advantages to slideshows. For instance, instructors are able toeasily adjust information to suit the needs of the presentation. Another positive aspect ofPowerPoint is the high level of adaptation to many teaching environments, including online(Apperson, Laws, & Scapansky, 2006). Some argue that PowerPoint presentations have become 5  
  6. 6. so easy to make that in many cases the format has become the object of ridicule and parody. InBumiller’s (2010) article "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint,” General Stanley A.McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPointslide in Kabul that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy. Bumiller(2010) reports that McChrystal’s reaction was mocking; he found that the presentation onlysucceeded in giving the presenter the “illusion of understanding and the illusion of control of thesituation,” and it would be dangerous if more people thought like that that. He also argued thatPowerPoint presentations do not give a clear picture of the seriousness of the situation. Gallo (2009) believes that the brain does not pay attention to boring things. Whilemaster presenters turn slideshows into awe-inspiring presentations, what makes them so effectiveis the fact that they “add complementary, multisensory events designed to spark an emotionalresponse among audience members.” This helps keep the audiences attention. He states how themost effective presentations are the ones that are informative, educational, and entertaining. Skylar (2009), in a study comparing asynchronous online lectures with synchronousonline lectures found that 75% of the students surveyed not only preferred the collaborativeplatform, but they reported having a richer learning. In distance education research, theconstruct of interaction is at the center of the debate. Pang (2009) says that "video-drivenmultimedia, interactive learning environment is pedagogically equivalent, as measured byknowledge gains, to traditional, live training in the delivery of a competency-based program,"(p.11). Moore (1989), in an oft-cited editorial, distinguished between types of interaction. Theauthor maintains that for genuine interactivity to occur, students must interact with the instructor(i.e. learner-centered), with the content (i.e. learner-content), and/or with other students (i.e.learner-learner). Anderson (2003) says that 6  
  7. 7. Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student–teacher; student-student; student-content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience. High levels of more than one of these three modes will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience, though these experiences may not be as cost or time effective as less interactive learning sequences. These distinctions are important when comparing PowerPoint to other, more interactive,platforms such as VoiceThread. PowerPoint, unless supported by ancillary learning components,may allow students to interact with content according to Moore’s (1989) definition ofinteractivity, but does not allow for other dimensions of interactivity. VoiceThread, on the otherhand, allows for all three types of interactivity maximizing students’ learning experience. “Formeaningful learning experiences to occur, learning should emerge from students’ interactionwith meaningful contents, the course instructor, and peers,” (Yoon, 2003, p. 20). Interactivity promotes an active learning environment where the class as a whole isengaged and where each student participates in in-depth involvement. Also, interactiveclassrooms build learning communities, provide rich feedback to faculty about student learning,and increase the level of student motivation (Markett, Arnedillo Sanchez, Weber, & Tangney,2006). Markett, Arnedillo Sanchez, Weber, and Tangney (2006) also contend that “interactivitycan be described as a complete message loop originating from the student and returning to thestudent. The reciprocating participant can be instructor or fellow student(s) and the loop occursirrespective of the technology or medium of communication,” (p. 281). These researchers testedtext messaging in traditional face-to-face classrooms to examine whether or not this technologywould increase interactivity. Although these researchers study interactivity in traditional classrooms, it seemsreasonable to translate the value of interactivity into a virtual classroom. In the case for online 7  
  8. 8. discussion groups, Huang (2002) argues that learning does not take place in isolation and thatauthentic learning is constructed through interaction and collaboration with the content and withothers. “Interactivity provides a way to motivate and stimulate learners,” (p. 33). While Huang(2002) reasons for online discussion boards, a Web 2.0 product like VoiceThread is an enhancedversion of the traditional asynchronous discussion board. Interactivity, however, continues to bethe central point despite the arena. Motivation and stimulation may also affect studentsatisfaction. Richardson and Swan (2003) define social presence as the extent to whichinteraction with others in the virtual space seem real and the extent to which these interactionscontribute to the temper of the class. High levels of social presence are marked by high levels ofinteraction which Richardson and Swan (2003) maintain increases the level of studentsatisfaction with an online course.Rationale The purpose of this study, therefore, is to examine if high levels of interactivity positivelyaffect student achievement. The research shows that high levels of interactivity promote higherlevels of student satisfaction (Richardson & Swan, 2003), higher levels of student motivation andstimulation (Huang, 2002), and more instances of meaningful learning experiences (Yoon,2003). Research also shows that PowerPoint, as a supplementary tool can be useful andinformative (Apperson, Laws, & Scapansky, 2006). But, there is also a growing body ofresearch that shows that the static or non-interactive style of PowerPoint may stall studentlearning (Savoy, Proctor, & Salvendy, 200). If interactivity and collaboration are prized in thetraditional classroom and in virtual classrooms (Markett, Arnedillo Sanchez, Weber, & Tangney,2006), then instructors and course designers should use tools that promote interactivity such asVoiceThread. This study will attempt to outline the positive effects on student achievement with 8  
  9. 9. VoiceThread, an interactive tool, compared to the more frequently used, but non-interactive tool,PowerPoint in an undergraduate US history course. Research QuestionsR1: How is student satisfaction affected by interactive presentation courseware?R2: How is student motivation affected by interactive presentation courseware?R3: How is student achievement affected by interactive courseware? Design and Method This study is a quantitative approach that includes a correlation study to analyze therelationship between the use of two different instructional presentation methods and studentsatisfaction, motivation, and achievement.Participants The target population for this study will be undergraduate students at a large university inthe southeastern United States. A convenience sampling of students enrolled in two concurrentsections of a United States history course in the Fall semester of 2010 will act as the accessiblepopulation.Background The United States history course is required for all undergraduate majors and is offeredthrough traditional face-to-face synchronous instruction as well as asynchronously through theBlackboard learning management system (LMS). There are eight total sections of the course,four of which are offered in the synchronous (traditional face-to-face) format, and four offeredthrough online (virtual) instruction. Each section of the course has an enrollment cap of 100students. The two concurrent sections of the course used in this study will be offered onlinethrough the Blackboard LMS and taught by the same instructor. Therefore, the total number of 9  
  10. 10. participants should be 200, but this is contingent on course enrollment. Each section will beassigned to act as either treatment group A (Static Lecture Format - PowerPoint PresentationLectures) or treatment group B (Collaborative Lecture Format - VoiceThread EnhancedPresentation Lectures). An additional section of the course, taught by the same instructor in aface-to-face format, will act as the control group.Data Collection A demographics survey will be taken from both treatment groups and the control groupand a pretest will be issued to participants in both treatment groups to determine previousexposure to online learning and student perceptions of its effectiveness and equivalence tosynchronous instruction at the beginning of the course used in this study. All students responseswill be coded according to their university assigned identification number. The two sections ofthe course used in evaluation will be taught by the same instructor and receive the sameassignments and evaluations throughout the course. The first treatment group (treatment group A) will receive instruction throughPowerPoint presentations composed by the instructor along with assigned course readings andparticipation in the networking tools offered through the Blackboard LMS. The PowerPointpresentations will include only words and/or images on the slides, without narration. The secondtreatment group (treatment group B) will view the same PowerPoint presentations enhanced withVoiceThread presentation narration software along with all assigned readings. The control groupwill receive traditional face-to-face "chalk-and-talk" lectures. All groups will then participate ina post-test (final exam) to determine knowledge gained from the course and will be analyzed forsignificant differences. Finally, a post-test will be administered to treatment group A and B to 10  
  11. 11. analyze participants perceptions of effectiveness and equivalence of their assigned mode ofinstruction compared to traditional instruction.Instruments A demographic survey will be constructed to determine basic demographic informationfor all participants in this study. The survey will include questions about age, gender, level ofeducation at the time of the study (i.e. freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior), and academicmajor with a question addressing previous exposure to online learning included for bothtreatment groups.Sample demographic survey questions • What is your current age? • What is your gender? • What is your academic major? A questionnaire will be constructed for both treatment groups analyzing students perceptionsof online learning effectiveness and equivalence to synchronous instruction and administeredbefore and after treatment using a Likert Scale based system.Sample Survey Questions (Strongly Agree – Strongly Disagree) • I expect to be satisfied/have been satisfied with the amount of knowledge gained from this course. • I expect to be satisfied/have been satisfied with the way information is presented during this course. • I am motivated to study as much or more than I do when I take a course in the traditional classroom. • I feel this course will be/has been an enjoyable experience. 11  
  12. 12. • I am motivated to study as much or more than I do when I take a course in the traditional classroom. Demographics survey  Post‐test  Treatment Group A  Control Treatment Group B Online: PowerPoint   F2F: no tech  Online: VoiceThread  Questionnaire  No Questionnaire  Questionnaire Figure 2. Collection Chart. This figure charts the flow of groups and data collection.Data Analysis After the demographic data is collected and recorded for each group, statistical analysis willbe performed to compare questionnaire results and post-test mean scores for both treatmentgroups. The Likert Scale questionnaire responses will be compared between the two treatmentgroups using t-tests to analyze whether students perceptions of effectiveness and equivalence tosynchronous instruction was affected by the type of virtual instruction they received (PowerPointlectures vs. VoiceThread enhanced). The post-tests (final examination) mean scores for bothtreatment groups will be recorded and compared using a t-test to determine which groupexperienced the most knowledge gains to see if the research hypotheses are supported. Conclusion Until this project has been tested in a number of classrooms, it cannot be determinedwhich form of presentation will prove to be more effective. Of course, once this has been tested, 12  
  13. 13. the research can be pushed further in a number of ways. In the event that VoiceThread proves tobe more effective, this does not mean that PowerPoint does not work as a good presentation tool,it has just been overused and many are poorly constructed. The main problem occurring is thatmany instructors’ hesitation to change. As mentioned before, Klemm (200stated that PowerPointhas caused many teachers to depend greatly on its use for their courses, and when PowerPoint isused too much it causes the presentations to become less stimulating. VoiceThread offers anotherway to present the information and allows the creators of these presentations to easily add othermultimedia. VoiceThread also allows viewers to add comments, encouraging studentparticipation, and addresses a variety of learning styles. If the classroom does not change withadvances in technology, then it will become increasingly more difficult for the instructors tokeep their students attention. 13  
  14. 14. ReferencesAnderson, T. (2003). Getting the mix right again: An updated and theoretical rationale for interaction. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 4(2).Apperson, J. M .; Laws, E. L .; Scepansky, J. A .(2006). Effectiveness of PowerPoint presentations in lectures. Computers and Education, 47(1), 116-126.Bartsch, R.A. & Coburn, K.M. (2003). Effectiveness of PowerPoint presentations in lectures. Computers and Education, 41(1), 77-86.Bumiller, E. (2010, April 27). We have met the enemy and he is PowerPoint. The New York Times, 8A.Fehn, B. (2007). Composing visual history: Using PowerPoint slideshows to explore historical narrative. International Journal of Social Education, 22(1), 43-67.Gallo, C. (2009, October 29). Why PowerPoint isn’t enough. BusinessWeekOnline. Retrieved on May 22, 2010 from: http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/oct2009/sb20091020_228161.htmHuang, H. (2002). Toward constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, 33(1), 27-37.Klemm, W. (2007). Computer slide shows: A trap or bad teaching. College Teaching, 55(3), 121-124.Savoy, A, Proctor, R, and Salvendy, G. (2009). Information Retention from PowerPoint and Traditional Lectures. Computers and Education, 52. 858-867.Markett, C. Arnedillo Sanchez, I., Weber, S & Tangney, B. (2006). Using short message service to encourage interactivity in the classroom. Computers & Education, 46, 280-293.Moore, M.G. (1989). Editorial: Three types of interaction. American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1-7. 14   
  15. 15. Pang, K. (2009). Video-driven multimedia, web-based training in the corporate sector: Pedagogical equivalence and component effectiveness. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 10(3), 1-14.Richardson, J.C. & Swan, K. (2003). Examining social presence in online courses in relation to students perceived learning and satisfaction. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(1), 68-88.Savich, C. (2008). Improving critical thinking skills in history. http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/3d/bc/1b. pdfSkylar, A.A. (2009). A comparison of asynchronous online text-based lectures and synchronous interactive web-based conferencing lectures. Issues in Teacher Education 18(20), 69-84.Yoon, S. (2003). In search of meaningful online learning experiences. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2003(100), 19-30. 15   

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