PowerPoint is one of the most popular presentation tools on the market today and is widely used in educational settings. Despite the millions of presentations that is performed every day, many PowerPoint presentation tends to be uninspiring, leading to what some people call 'Death by PowerPoint'. There are many reasons to work on your PowerPoint presentations. For one, a better presentation can help you maintain the focus and attention of students. It can also help you in simplifying content, making it easier to apprehend. Finally, PowerPoint can be used as a great way to structure your teaching, by allowing you to reflect on the information you wish to convey.
How to approach PowerPoint presentations
Tell your story. Think about a beginning, middle and end. You do not have to present an auditing technique entirely in fishing metaphors, but you will need to explain how different ideas and concepts links together towards your final conclusion. If something does not contribute, it should maybe be left out.
Less is more. Each slide should contain only a single, key concept or idea. This aligns your pace with that of students, thus preventing them from being distracted by point C while you are still explaining point A.
PowerPoint is all about the visuals. Make slideshows about headlines and pictures. Students cannot listen to you if they are busy reading the wall of text on your slide. Nor will they remember what you are saying without visual cues.
Any structure goes. Do however remember to make the presentation scalable, such that you can present content in 5, 45 or 90 minutes. Keeping slides simple and free from an overload of information allows you to skip or add details without confusing the audience.
Text in your notes, not on slides. This way you will still know what to say and students will be focused on you rather than on reading your slides. You can still print your slideshow with the underlying notes or upload it digitally to students with no loss of information at a later point.
Out of convenience, not because you must. Using PowerPoint should be a matter of convenience and can easily be combined with other classroom tools such as the board. For instance, olving an equation or drawing a chart on the board allows better note-taking as you can include and explain the different steps and changes in a dynamic way.
Templates PowerPoint comes with a large variety of templates that you can use to easily get started with visually appealing presentations. Alternatively you can search online, if the standard templates are insufficient for your needs - a simple search for 'free powerpoint templates' renders about 7 million hits on Google. The CBS communications department has also created an official template following CBS's visual design guidelines. You can download it from CBSshare.
Presentation Zen Garr Reynolds maintains an extensive blog on how to approach visual presentation - including the use of PowerPoint. It also features resources on other kinds of presentation such as storytelling and videos.
Public Domain Images This site by ComputerHope introduces various databases from which you can search and download free public domain images.
Last updated by: Ulla Bergen 14/03/2016