541 – Inside Power Point – More than a fireworks show!

Since the mass deployment of Power Point for education in the nineties it has replaced the overhead projector in most classrooms, but how effective is it really for learning? Using multimedia to address learning styles would seem to increase retention and understanding, however research has shown that the violation of some basic principles in designing a presentation can actually decrease learning. Patti Shank, a widely recognized information and instructional designer suggests in an excerpted from PowerPoint and Online Learning, Part 1. Online Classroom, April 2010, a concise use of text while exploiting the inherently visual medium of the presentation by using relevant images to convey meaning. Her advise to avoid “Dumping” words onto slides coincides with the multimedia theory that too much textual information on any given slide will cause cognitive overload for the viewer, resulting in disengagement.

When designing the presentation one should adhere to the “less is more” rule and consider the CARP design principles (Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, Proximity). Include only the media elements and limited text needed while supplementing instruction with comprehensive speaker notes, unseen by the viewer. Animations and transitions tend to distract attention from the true intent of the instruction. When a presentation is meant to be viewed online by a student it is advantageous to include an interactive element. Requiring active participation by the learner within a presentation such as hyperlinks inside, and outside of the slides will increase engagement.

So the question remains: How can well designed presentations increase learning in the classroom? Combining the visual elements of a presentation with interactive elements which include links to resources outside the presentation can increase engagement and relevance for learners. An article on the website Teachnology.com states that, “It can add a new dimension to learning allowing teachers to explain abstract concepts, while accommodating all learning styles.”

The following presentation is meant to supplement instruction for students in my Photography classes. It is very rare to find a student who has developed film and enlarged prints, therefore their frame of reference coming into this process is very limited. I demonstrate the process to students, but through the following presentation students will be able to access a complete step by step visual presentation of the entire process on our class website, view two external videos, visit external sites that give tips for setting up home darkrooms, and take a short quiz to check for understanding. I created this presentation using photographs I have taken of the equipment, supplies and process, and assembled the presentation using Powerpoint. The original intent was to upload the presentation to Google Presentations, however, even after reducing the file size, I was unable to upload. In order to make it accessible online I also tried to upload to Skydive, but again was unsuccessful due to file size. In the end I was finally able to upload the presentation and all associated media files to Sliderocket. I was able to embed the presentation on my Edtech 541 website but the code does not seem to work in WordPress.



Shank, P. (2011) Using Power Point Effectively in your Courses. Faculty Focus. Retrieved 02 18, 2012 from:http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/using-powerpoint-effectively-in-your-courses/

Powerpoint in the Classroom. Teachnology. Retreived 02 18, 2012 from: http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/powerpoint/

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1 Comment

  1. I think your presentation was a perfect example of of how multimedia presentations can be used for good. Because of the nature of dark rooms, the limited space, supplies, sensitivity of materials, etc., it is difficult to demonstrate the details. Through your slideshow, viewers get very visual, step-by-step instructions, complemented by linked outside resources, audio instructions, and images. After viewing this presentation, if and when the students go into a real dark room, they will be much more familiar with the process. This same approach could well be applied to many content areas, especially those that are difficult to demonstrate for a variety of reasons.

    I also empathize with your embedding issues. I, too, tried several routes and eventually settled on iWork.com, which is not an ideal format but fine for now. I wish WordPress would be more flexible with embedding.

    I would only suggest correcting a few grammar/wording typos and APA citation oversights. Well done!


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