Ehh.. PowerPoint Help

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Soccer Dad, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Oct 11, 2010

    Over the past 5 years, there's been a huge push in my district, as I'm sure it's been in others, to use more technology in the classroom. I've been a hold out not because I don't like technology or am against it, but I just never saw the need for spending $10,000 on a smartboard. I'd prefer that money go to developing new courses in the dept.

    Anyway, this year I'm REQUIRED to actually use PowerPoint. I absolutely hate it. I've been trained on it--I know how to incorporate little video clips, sounds and pictures. However, I honestly feel like it makes me lazier. Before this year, I whipped out overhead sheets and wrote the notes WITH the students during the period. Then, I'd clean the sheets and start from scratch with the next class. There was always a few things different in the wording between the two or three classes, but I felt like it did a much better job at getting the kids to understand the material.

    Now, I click a stupid button and drone on. Then, I always find something I don't like and tell students not to write it and then I rewrite the sentence on the board.

    I don't know if I'm just missing something, but PowerPoint doesn't seem to be as cracked up as most people say it is. I really just don't like the nature of it: clicking a button, moving on from slide to slide. eh.

    I'm looking for suggestions--from any teachers using PP--on how to better my students' notetaking because I'm at loss. I've tried talking to the other teachers in my dept. that use it heavily and they have students print the PPs at home and come in with them. I'd NEVER do this. I'm a strong believer in writing notes.. not even typing them.. because it aids in memorizing.
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I teach with Powerpoint. Last year I taught Chemistry and I distinctly remember telling another teacher that chemistry couldn't be taught with powerpoint. But I joined a school that requires technology with almost everything and I found that it was pretty easy using the slides!

    I think you're right - it does make it easier on the teacher. I think that as time goes by and I become more confident in the content I will make the slides more streamlined.

    I do want to help prepare my students for college and Powerpoint is big in college courses.
     
  4. ms. yi

    ms. yi Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I'm going to give you my perspective as a teacher who has to sit through ppts at trainings. I absolutely can't stand it when slides are read verbatim to me. I recommend having main points listed that have to be supplemented by you. That way students will have to take notes in order to understand the material.

    Now, I will say that I love ppts for first grade. I consider myself tech savvy and I love to create animated presentations to introduce or reinforce concepts. I'd like to stress that my ppts are not complete lessons. They have to be supplemented by me in order to be successful.
     
  5. robinsky

    robinsky Rookie

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I use ppt almost every day, but I don't often use videos or clever clips. I use it to structure my lesson. For example, the first slide will always have the bellwork on it. The 2nd slide has homework answers so students can check their work, while I go over some of the tougher problems on the board. Then I have a slide with the date and the name of the lesson - students need to write this in their notebooks. Then I'll start teaching the lesson, and move through the slides. Maybe one slide will have an example problem - NOT the answer. I'll solve that problem on the board. Then the next slide might have two problems for the students to do, and I'll have kids come up to the board and work them. Sometimes I'll have a definition of a term, or something else that I tell them to take a note on. This works very well for me!
     
  6. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I think you could do what you are currently doing, but use Powerpoint instead of transparency sheets, use a blank .ppt. Right?
     
  7. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I use PowerPoint everyday, but not necessarily as a "lecture" aid.

    I create a slide for each class (I have 7 classes - 4 sections) that is up when the students walk in. It has an agenda, bellwork, etc. Saves an enormous amount of time as I am not erasing/writing for the next class.

    Would that constitute "using" PowerPoint in your classroom?

    Or, you could have blank slides and type (like you used to write). Oops, just saw TeacherShelly had a similar idea.
     
  8. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2010

    Over the last three years I have developed PowerPoints like this:

    Each slide is narrated with a head set mike. I use silly voices, the Mister GameShow is the kids' favorite.

    The kids take notes only from specific slides, about every fourth or fifth slide. Most slides have a blue or dark background with white font, and the kids just listen, read and or watch these.

    The note slides are in a yellow or gold font. The top of the slide says Topic: and then lists the topic for Cornell style note taking. Each note slide is also narrated, twice, and at the end it says "raise your hand if you need to hear this again". There are never more than three bulleted notes on a slide.

    I use an Interwrite pad to advance the slides, and play the narrations as I walk around the room, and make sure the kids are taking the notes they are supposed to be taking. I can clarify misunderstandings, and help kids who are having a hard time. It also insures that my kids get the same notes in each class.

    On any slide, note or not, I can stop the kids to teach their partners any important concepts that come up (whole brain teaching).

    So far, according to the kids, mine are among the only PowerPoints they enjoy. They are never sure what kind of crazy stuff I am going to do.

    I hope that helped.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I am a member at authorStream, which is an interactive Powerpoint sharing site. I really like it to get new ideas and see what others are doing.

    http://www.authorstream.com/Dashboard
     
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 12, 2010

    I agree it does make it a little bit easier to give notes. I also don't have the same experience as when I wrote notes on the board because as I wrote certain things would come to me. Honestly, though my handwriting is terrible and it's so much easier on me to use PowerPoint. I often include pictures, animations, video clips, and discussion questions. If you want to email me I'll send you along one of my PowerPoints.
     
  11. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Oct 12, 2010

    soccerdad - some of the best history powerpoints are available at http://www.pptpalooza.net/

    Her ppt's are a great combo of info, pictures, graphs,maps, etc. .. Students would still have to take notes because most of the info would still come from lecture. Sue allows teachers to use her ppt's, change alter, as long as you keep her as the source.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 12, 2010

    PowerTeacher, I would love to see what your slides are like. Could you email one my way?
     
  13. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Oct 12, 2010

    I went to a workshop this summer where the presenter had a tablet laptop that she used with PowerPoint. I think it was a Toshiba? She would project the slide, and then she could write all over it with the stylus and the tablet laptop. We all had paper copies of her slides so that we could write down her notes as she went. It was the best use of PowerPoint I've ever seen, because she could project complicated graphics, yet still keep us engaged writing notes instead of just reading the slides to us.
     
  14. Soccer Dad

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    Oct 12, 2010

    See my main problem is that my notes are structured but then completely off the top of my head. I'm constantly changing the format: table style, Cornell style, regular Roman Numberal style, etc. and I feel as though PPT limits that. However, I know it's important for me to cope with it and be enthusiastic since it's here to stay so... I'm going to use PPT mostly for pictures, charts, graphs, and movies as Inteacher suggested. Then, I will use the board and overhead for the detailed notes. I'm also compromising with myself to use PPT for the detailed notes at least twice a unit (I usually have 4-6 sections of notes for a given unit).

    Also, my biggest worry is that the PPTs need to be included in my weekly lesson plans so I don't know how well this will fly.
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 12, 2010

    This is just a kind suggestion, but personally, as a student, I would be driven nuts by off the top of someone's head notes. I would feel very unorganized, and I, as a student, would appreciate the continuity. I know not all learners are like me, but I know there are some, as I'm sure there are among your students.

    So maybe you could approach it not from an "I" standpoint, but more a "them" standpoint. What kind of a Powerpoint would best suit your students? What would help them learn the best?

    As an aside, my PP's are never enough either. I project my presentations on my whiteboard, then I am always writing with it, beside it, solving problems or underlining, or starring, or adding to...whatever. So just because it is on a PP, doesn't mean it has to be static.

    I'm by no means a PP expert, but I would be more than willing to share some of the ones I've created (and used, from authorStream), and to critique others' PP's as well, if interested!

    :)
     
  16. chasingcomets

    chasingcomets Rookie

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    Oct 13, 2010

    Are you using PowerPoint in combination with a SmartBoard?

    If you are, you can just put the main topic points on the slides and then use the stylus or pen or whatever the board has and write the notes by hand on the Smartboard.

    I don't like to do that, because I have abysmal handwriting, but I have used it. Sometimes, if I have the kids brainstorming, I'd just turn over the pen to the class and let them write all over a blank slide with their ideas.

    As for students printing the PowerPoints, with certain topics, I've printed out the slides with things omitted so the kids have to pay attention and fill things in during class. I also like having the full slideshows to print out for students who missed a class.
     
  17. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Oct 13, 2010

    No, my classroom doesn't have a smartboard but we're in a 3 year program to install them in every classroom so I think I'm scheduled next summer to have it installed.

    My problem is that history is memorizing important information and then being able to write about it in a coherent sense. It's impossible to write about the effects of the Enlightenment if you a) don't have memorized the philosophers that contributed to it and what they stated, b) you don't know the facts of the French Rev, American Rev and consequently the LA Revolutions... and because it's hard to remember so much information, I kids to write it all out themselves because it's the first step in learning the material.
     
  18. Soccer Dad

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    Oct 13, 2010

    I've polled my classes and most prefer not to use them because they said it's less interesting. HOWEVER, they have only been exposed to PPTs in the science classes (the sci. dept. got a grant about 6 years ago for projectors) so I'm hoping it's different for history.

    I don't know, as a student I learned best when teachers first explained the topic, then we discussed it and then wrote down information--or wrote down stuff as we discussed. I know some kids learn by visuals, so I always incorporate appropriate media, charts, graphs, etc. when possible and worthwhile.

    If you don't mind sharing I'd like to see some of yours.
     
  19. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Oct 16, 2010

    Lots of the posts in this thread point to what I believe is a fundamental misunderstanding of what PowerPoint is. I say this without attack because I didn't see it for years myself.

    The key is that Powerpoint is a presentation tool, not a notes tool. There are things you can do on PowerPoint that an overhead is simply incapable of doing. If you view PPT as an overhead replacement you will not like and worse your students will hate it. Think about how you could simply enhance the story you are already telling. Historians are great storytellers by nature (well the good ones any way) and there's no reason PPT needs to get in the way of that.

    I fully agree with you SoccerDad on your general philosophy. I too have my students write everything - I never give print outs. I also agree that a huge chunk of history education is teaching the basic facts. My PPTs do include those, but I go far beyond what I've written and what I expect the kids to write. PPT is a storyboard. It provides the structure and often the images that the spoken/written word can't. When used that way it is an incredible tool.
     
  20. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 16, 2010

    Kev,

    I'm playing devil's advocate here, but how does PPT make a better storyboard than an Overhead? An overhead can include pictures. How do you make it an effective story board?
     
  21. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2010

    I think there is a lot to be said for the ability to keep kids' attention. What do they do for entertainment...tv...video games...electronics of some kind. I'm not in any way saying we are there to entertain kids, but sometimes you have to get to their level through their methods.

    What would your opinion be of a presenter at a PD who had great information, relevant topics, but showed a movie using an old reel to reel? Yes, some of us might think that was cool, but there would be a great portion who would consider it so old fashioned it wasn't even worth listening to. Just a thought.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 17, 2010

    Mine are worse than "off the top of my head"-- they're in the words of the kids I call on.

    I know what I want to teach. But very often I have the kids come up with the rule, and it's their words that go up on the board.

    So the other day I was teaching this theorem: "The measure of the exterior angle of a triangle equals the sum of the measures of the non-adjacent interior angles."

    Not one class actually got those words at first. WE did a few problems, the kids figured out the rule, and I asked someone to state it. Someone did, and I put his words up. Then I mentioned that the book used "non-adjacent" for "remote" (or whatever words the kids came up with.

    Power point may work well for some. But it doesn't match my teaching style. Give me chalk and an eraser any day. I KNOW my material; it doesn't have to be pre-planned to the exact word ahead of time.
     
  23. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Oct 17, 2010

    An overhead cannot do motion is the short answer. Short of drawing your own lines on maps or moving shadowly figures about the thing at least. Overheads also cannot mix in sound, video or present the visual clarity that PPT can. They also cannot link out to websites or other programs, embed flash videos and emphasize certain parts of a picture by altering color, blurriness or size.

    Powerpoint can tell a story completely without text using only images, video and animations that an overhead just cannot match (and in my opinion, can't do period.) With an overheard you're stuck with what you've got which is a pen and paper on a big screen.
     
  24. Soccer Dad

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    Oct 26, 2010

    I just wanted to give some follow up. I talked to my director, who I don't always see eye to eye with, but I explained that using PPT in every lesson would be hurtful for my students for various reasons. I went into detail explaining how it infringes on my own classroom teaching in some cases. After a lot of specifics, she agreed to let me use my overheard for certain units.

    I will still use PPT with EVERY unit for providing visual and auditory add-ons, but not for the notes. The larger units that have a lot of material will be done using PPT (ex: the Civil War, industrialization/urbanization/immigration/the Gilded age, etc.)

    As for the smaller units, I will use the overhead still. This will be for units like the the Progressive Era, the Cold War, etc.

    Thanks again for all the responses
     
  25. ella.rogers

    ella.rogers New Member

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    Oct 28, 2010

    Powerpoint

    Definitely agree, I do like to give my students a chance to work on powerpoint. I teach math and try to incorporate this into lessons.

    Sometimes I might assigns groups of students tasks to work together a put on a powerpoint slide show and present it to the rest of the class. This give them the opportunity to practice their presentation skills
     
  26. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Oct 28, 2010

    How I use PPT:

    1. I'll occasionally make a PPT with nothing but photos for a cultural lesson.
    2. I'll also use a PPT with photos/graphics and the corresponding Spanish word to introduce vocabulary. It cuts back on translation and helps students make direct visual connections between vocab and the thing itself.
    3. Games: PPTs make for a lot of fun Jeopardy-style games.
    4. Students make PPTs for class presentations. I'd like to use these presentations as an opportunity to teach them how to make GOOD presentations (do not read your slides word-for-word, utilize graphics, how to make slides that are clear and easy to read, etc.).

    I don't know how this would apply to other disciplines, but I'm a fan of PowerPoints when used in conjunction with my traditional note-giving strategies. I think Spanish and other foreign languages are conducive to visual media like PPT.
     

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