Once associated with often dull, unending office presentations, PowerPoint has evolved over the years to become a creative tool when used in the right way. This is especially true for teachers who use PowerPoint to make engaging presentations that mix text, images and even video and animation.
The key to the successful use of PowerPoint for teachers is knowing all the options available and putting them to use. When done right, PowerPoint presentations can make almost any topic more interesting and engaging for students.
Fresno Pacific University offers the course PowerPoint: Powerful Presentations that allows teachers to earn graduate-level professional development credits while discovering the best practices and tools available with PowerPoint for teachers.
What is PowerPoint?
PowerPoint has been around for decades, but many educators may never have used it. It became widespread in corporations and large businesses over the years, as well as at conferences. For good or ill, everyone wanted to make a PowerPoint presentation.
But the software takes on new life in the educational environment. Created by Microsoft, PowerPoint comes with pre-made templates that users can fill with text, images, videos and animation. A typical presentation will consist of a slideshow, with information on one slide leading to the next. The software also allows for using catchy transitions between slides and creating a presentation from scratch rather than using templates.
The main reason for using PowerPoint is its usefulness in creating an engaging presentation that conveys information in digestible bite-size portions—essentially, expanding on one main idea per slide.
Advantages of PowerPoint in the Classroom
Kids, like many adults, get bored when presented with a dry list of facts, no matter what the topic. Reciting two paragraphs from a book about the Battle of Gettysburg is one thing. Offering a presentation with images from the battlefield, sound effects and facts presented in easy-to-remember bullet form can keep students engaged and help them take better notes.
As noted by the website TechWalla, “In the classroom, PowerPoint’s ability to integrate sound, animation and video in a slide show can capture the attention of media and video-savvy students.” Other advantages include:
- Text in a PowerPoint is easier to read than notes on a blackboard
- Teachers can easily modify lessons for different classes
- Teachers can use PowerPoint to update flashcards
- PowerPoint is also useful in creating presentations for parents on their student’s progress
- It’s easy to share a PowerPoint presentation with other teachers and students
Much like Pecha Kucha, which emphasizes images over text, PowerPoint gives teachers tools to teach a lesson in a different, more impactful way.
Giving Control to Students
One of the biggest impacts teachers can make on students is teaching them how to make their own PowerPoint presentations. It can bring out students’ creativity that might not always seem apparent when writing essays or book reports.
Students especially enjoy PowerPoint because it mixes media in a way they are familiar with on websites and social media. Following are some main points to keep in mind when guiding students on how to make presentations:
- Organize the slideshow into a logical flow of ideas
- Use a simple design so people aren’t distracted from the message
- Use as many images as possible, including photos, graphs and diagrams
- Use cue cards to read from during the presentation
- Practice at home before presenting to the class
The Fresno Pacific University PowerPoint Course
Fresno Pacific offers the PowerPoint: Powerful Presentations course to help educators maximize all the options available through PowerPoint. By understanding all the “bells and whistles” the software offers, teachers can create presentations that have the best chance of keeping students engaged.
As part of the course, teachers will first learn the mechanics of the platform and the research-based rules and proven techniques that lead to powerful presentations. They also will create presentations (one to earn a “B,” two to earn an “A”).
Completion of the course is applicable toward earning a Technology Skills for Educators Certificate. For educators who want to hone their presentation skills, PowerPoint: Powerful Presentations is a course that provides the knowledge and skills they can immediately put to use in the classroom.