Presentation Software Relative Advantage

It’s clear from this module that presentation software is only as good as the person doing the presenting. PowerPoint, amongst others, is an excellent tool if used well. It can clearly illustrate ideas through photos, video and graphs.  However, is there an advantage to using PowerPoint in the classroom? Do students benefit from its use? Research seems to show mixed results when determining the advantage over traditional delivery methods.

In many ways, PowerPoint is excellent. Students are able to clearly read the words presented on the slide. In an EFL classroom, board writing can sometimes confuse students if the teacher is sloppy or inconsistent. Instead of creating numerous flashcards by hand, pictures and corresponding words can be displayed interactively on an enormous screen or TV. Teachers can bring ideas to life through animation or embedded video. Interactive games and quizzes make reviewing material fun for students. And if a student misses class, the PowerPoint can be made available for download letting the student review the lesson at home. So with all these advantages, why does PowerPoint seem to get mixed results?

PowerPoint works best when ideas are expressed simply, concisely and comfortably. When presenters pack slides full of information, observers spend more time reading than listening to the lecture. “PowerPoint negatively affects the recall of auditory information delivered during lectures. Students retained 15% less information delivered verbally by the lecturer during PowerPoint presentations” (Sawoy, Proctor &Salvendy, 2009). Also, the choice of font, color and slide organization can greatly increase or decrease the effectiveness of the presentation. Above all, keep it simple, relevant and attractive, and students will continue to enjoy PowerPoint presentations. “Students prefer PowerPoint presentations over traditional lectures” (Sawoy, Proctor &Salvendy, 2009).

The presentation below was created to inform my sophomore classroom English students about their midterm micro-lesson. I could not get the youtube.com video to work within the Microsoft Web App presentation. So I’ve included the Midterm Micro-Lesson PPT for download. It works within PowerPoint. If anyone could offer a resolution to this, I would be very grateful.

Follow this link to see my PPT presentation.

Savoy, A., Proctor, R.W., Salvendy, G. (2009) Information Retention from PowerPoint and Traditional Lectures Computers &Education, 52 (4), 858-867 DOI:1031016/j.compedu.2008.12.005

Garr Reynolds/Presentations. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2012, Retrieved from http://www.garrreynolds.com/Presentation/slides.html