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  1. Using PowerPoint presentations in Teaching

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     Using PowerPoint presentations in Teaching

     

    You may have many years of classroom experience, as a student and a teacher, which

    guides your teaching. However, you are less likely to have had similarly rich experiences

    with instructional technologies, as these tools have become available only more recently.

    Additionally, we are only beginning to understand the capabilities and possibilities that

    emerging technologies have for teaching and learning.

    There are many tutorials, books and other resources for using presentation

    technologies, like PowerPoint. However, most deal only with the mechanics of creating

    slides and presentations and the general principles of good design from a graphic design

    and business perspective. There is very little about effectively teaching with PowerPoint.

    Most people seem to simply convert their lecture notes and transparencies into

    PowerPoint slides. Though the research indicates that this may be slightly more effective

    in terms of student achievement, this approach does not exploit the possibilities this

    technology has for education.

    Some example slides can be found in a presentation to support a workshop offered by

    the Centre for Academic Practice, which can be accessed from the web at:

    http://cap.warwick.ac.uk/powerpoint/Teaching_with_Powerpoint_4.ppt

    A number of educational models could be applied to the design of a PowerPoint

    presentation for teaching and its integration into a classroom situation. Applying an

    explicit model provides a framework on which to base the design and a checklist of

    issues that the presentation should cover. We use Robert Gagne’s Events of Instruction

    here as an example.

    Gagne’s Events of Instruction

    1. Gaining Attention

    2. Informing Learner of the Objective

    3. Stimulating Recall of Prior Learning

    4. Presenting the Stimulus

    5. Providing Learning Guidance

    6. Eliciting Performance

    7. Providing Feedback

    8. Assessing Performance

    9. Enhancing Retention and Transfer

    Gagne identified nine events of instruction corresponding to these learning processes.

    Although providing for each of these events will enhance learning, an instructor does not

    have to provide for each one. Students sometimes will supply these events themselves,

    especially more mature and successful students. Also, each event does not have to be

    supported by a presentation slide.

    In the workshop, we examined each of these events of instruction and viewed example

    slides that support that event.

    1.    Gaining Attention

    When students arrive at class, their attention is directed toward many other things. One

    student might be thinking about an assignment from a previous class. Another student

    might be struggling with a personal problem. Some students might be discussing

    weekend plans. The purpose of this instructional event is to gain student attention and

    arouse interest.

    One way to do this is with an abrupt stimulus change, such as gesturing, speaking

    loudly, or providing an interesting visual.

    A title slide, sometimes called a splash screen, can be used to gain attention.

    Depending on the audience, photographs, pictures, and sound can be combined to gain

    attention and interest as well as set a mood or tone for a lesson. However, overuse of

    multimedia can be counterproductive as students may anticipate your next dazzling

    effect rather than participate in the class. In most design, restraint is important— less is

    more.

    The example slides gain attention and arouses interest in a novel, dramatic, and

    entertaining way. It says, “Hey, this is going to be interesting.”

    2. Informing the Learner of the Objective

    The next event of instruction is Informing the Learner of the Objective. This event

    focuses on the expectancy control processes in the Information Processing model.

    Making the lesson objectives or unit goals explicit influences selective perception. Your

    students will have a better understanding of what they should attend to. It also may

    improve performance and feedback processes since students will be able to better

    access their learning achievement as instruction proceeds. Additionally, this event may

    affect their choice of storage and retrieval schemes. For example, I study differently for a

    course that includes objective-type exams than for a course that requires a long paper or

    project.

    3. Stimulating Recall of Prior Learning

    Often, understanding new information requires an understanding or application of

    existing knowledge or skills, sometimes called prerequisites. Before presenting new

    information, Stimulating Recall of Prior Learning makes that knowledge more accessible

    in working memory.

    4. Presenting the Stimulus

    This is where many lessons begin. However, Gagne’s work indicates that instruction will

    be more effective if we first gain attention and interest, inform the learner of objectives,

    and recall prior learning.

    Although we may believe everything we say or do in class is important, this instructional

    event helps students focus on important ideas, ignore unnecessary details, and avoid

    distractions.

    5. Providing Learning Guidance

    This event of instruction supports the internal process usually called semantic encoding.

    In familiar language, the instructional technique may be described as follows: Make the

    stimulus as meaningful as possible,

     

    Throughout a lesson, you can suggest meaningful organizations of the material, such as

    presenting examples, relating new information to existing knowledge, providing images,

    and offering mnemonics. However, this can be provided near the end of your lesson,

    after the new material has been presented, as well.

    6. Eliciting Performance

    7. Providing Feedback

    The previously described instructional events focus on the acquisition of new

    knowledge.In the second part of this model, the learner uses and demonstrates these

    newly learned capabilities. Also, the instructor provides feedback about the correctness

    of this performance.

    A shortcoming of some lessons is that no opportunity exists for learner performance and

    feedback. This is often reserved for homework or exams when no one will be

    immediately available to assist with problems and questions. However, including a few

    minutes of in-class practice, tied to the lesson objectives, can help both the instructor

    and student identify and correct misunderstandings.

    8. Assessing Performance

    At this point, the students have demonstrated that learning has occurred. However, a

    single performance does not ensure that the new capability has been reliably stored.

    Additional practice and performance are needed. This additional practice is often

    homework and culminates with a graded test or project.

    No examples slides for this instructional event are including in the presentation as the

    previous slides on performance and feedback also illustrate this event and presentation

    slides may not be the best mechanism for supporting this event.

    9. Enhancing Retention and Transfer

    Once we are reasonably sure that the new capabilities are reliably stored, we can

    increase the likelihood that these capabilities will be retained over a long time period.

    Providing practice and spaced reviews is one way to enhance retention.

    Additionally, transfer of knowledge and skills to new problems and situations is a goal of

    most instruction. Because of classroom time constraints, we often are not able to

    examine new ideas in a variety of contexts. Consequently, students may not recognize

    these ideas in new situations. Providing practice variety may enhance the transfer of

    learning be increasing retrieval cues.

     

     

    Vishal Jain / Bindu Sharma

    Comment

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