Thoughts on PowerPointing

My friend Joe Sangillo wrote a great post for Discovery Education about how he uses PowerPoint presentations in the class. It got me thinking a lot about the struggle that I am currently having with “PowerPoints.”

My thoughts.

I love writing a skeletal outline on the board with drawings! But my students have requested that I do “PowerPoints” – we tested it one day when we had similar information on my board (with my drawings) and overwhelmingly they said that the slides were easier to follow as they could focus on one thing at a time.

While normally this would be spread out over a larger board, to attempt our experiment this was written on my 8 foot vertical board.

While normally this would be spread out over a larger board, to attempt our experiment this was written on my 8 foot vertical board.

My “PowerPoints” typically have images paired with words, occasionally with fake tweets from people, have questions and activities associated with them. Students have access to them prior to the class and a few parents have thanked me for them.

This is an example of a “PowerPoint” Slide.

But I hate them. I feel a bit stifled. Like a square peg being forced into a round hole – or vice versa. I’ve never been a peg so I’m not sure which feels a bit forced. But whichever one it is, that’s how I feel.

I’m attempting to find a balance between me and the “PowerPoint.” Some way that I can still feel creative.

I guess in the end it is only one of my teacher tools. Batman probably, at one point, hated his cape but everyone was like “Hey Batman, you totally have to wear your cape. You’re a superhero and all! Superheroes wear capes.” And he probably went to his Batcave and thought a bit – looked at the cape and attempted to figure if or how it could work for him. Then he was like, “Right, since I can’t fly like the others, I can rig this cape to make me glide in the air – it’ll be my Batglide.”

I’ll eventually find a way that feels comfortable for me and my students. I’m just not quite there yet.

*Note: I use quotations with PowerPoints as as my school is a “Google” school, we use “GoogleSlides” which is like PowerPoint Lite.

About Michael K. Milton

I teach students Social Studies at Burlington High School. When I became a teacher, I believed that students would frequently give me apples. This has not happened (not even a Red Delicious ~ a name which is a misnomer). However, my school has given me a MacBook Pro and an iPad in an effort to right this wrong (I assume). I'm very lucky to work in a 1:1 school.
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2 Responses to Thoughts on PowerPointing

  1. I understand your reluctance with “PowerPoint,” as it seems somewhat stilted and formulaic. However, that may be one of the attractions for students, in that they know how to “read” them and find them organized. I also teach at a 1:1 school and use PowerPoint sometimes, sometimes write notes on my whiteboard and sometimes on the SmartBoard, in addition to other strategies. It often seems to me that I appreciate the technology more than my students do! Have you tried Prezi? It’s more dynamic, more artistic, and is just as organized as a traditional slide show.

  2. Steven Lucey says:

    I would suggest using the Powerpoints pen tools. In present mode you can right click on the slide and pen tool options become available. You can annotate live and then chosse to save the annotations to you slide show.

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