One method of classroom instruction that has become widespread in recent years is the use of PowerPoint presentations. Using PowerPoint presentations as a tool to enhance your lectures can be beneficial to students because it can improve audience focus by breaking down and highlighting important information through a combination of text, graphics, and multimedia. Here are a few simple ways to utilize PowerPoint effectively in your class.
Use a mixture of text and images. A combination of short sentences, bullet points, graphics, and multimedia all work together to engage a variety of learning styles and effectively illustrate the concepts being taught. As a bonus, your presentation can also double as student notes. If you’d like to use this option, you can post the presentation online to be downloaded and reviewed by students anywhere, anytime, before or after class. To further engage students in the presentation, you may even include questions in the slide for them to review, either for discussion in class or as a study question for a test.
Be careful with the amount of graphics and multimedia you use in your slides. You only want to use graphics to enhance your notes, not for aesthetic purposes. Too many graphics are overwhelming will distract students from the information you are trying to teach.
Also overwhelming are slides that are too text-heavy. Use your slides as speaking notes with which to guide your lecture rather than reading directly from the slides word-for-word. Slides should not contain all of the information for the concepts you are teaching, only short talking points that introduce the concepts.
We provide ready-made PowerPoint presentations to instructors in the instructor support materials associated with our textbooks, in addition to making them accessible to students for free. Contact Labyrinth Learning today for more information about our full solutions.
Many students learn by watching and viewing rather than just writing and listening. One of the best ways to enhance student learning is by using animations in Microsoft PowerPoint during your presentations. If you’re not used to using animations in Microsoft PowerPoint, it may take you a little time to adapt. Here’s are a few key factors to keep in mind as you get used to this new style of teaching.
There are two different types of animations in PowerPoint:
Preset Animation Schemes already control the way that all of the content comes into the slide. All you have to do is add your content, and it will follow the preset scheme.
Custom Animations let you apply a different animation scheme to each individual item on a slide. This is the more common choice among PowerPoint users, since it gives you more control.
Common animation schemes that you may find useful during your lectures include:
Setting animations that allow one bullet point to be added to the slide at a time. This will keep students’ focus on the point you are currently addressing.
Add arrows and other marks to a slide as you explain a complex process or flow-chart type illustration.
For more ways to utilize software to enhance student learning, contact us at Labyrinth Learning today to learn more about our programs that benefit both students and their instructors.
Learning to use PowerPoint is the first step to creating an effective presentation. However, if you succumb to common pitfalls, or don’t maximize its potential, you may find your presentations fall flat.
Here are tips to make your PowerPoint presentations as effective as possible.
Avoid common pitfalls: Sometimes, the information in the presentation is great, but the slides are lacking because the presenter succumbs to common pitfalls such as:
Illegible fonts: It’s exciting to see all the different font styles available. It’s not as exciting if you choose fonts that are difficult to read, or vary them so often they become overwhelming. Choose one or two legible fonts, and stick with them.
Crazy colors. Just as differing fonts can confuse the eye, so can clashing colors, or too many colors. Make sure the colors you select increase legibility.
Cramming. Don’t cram information on your slides. Slides should highlight key points. You are better off making more slides, so each one has digestible portions of information.
Know your audience. You don’t want to present to the lowest common denominator, but you don’t want to teach above the audience’s ability either. Keep your information aimed at the mid-level.
Graphics and animations. Use graphics and animation features to enhance your slides, but be careful not to overdo it.
Make them interactive. There are multiple features that allow your PowerPoint presentations to be interactive, and more effectively engage audience members.
Learning to use PowerPoint, or taking a refresher course, can bring your office staff up-to-date. Contact Labyrinth Learning for PowerPoint instructional materials.