Friday, February 27, 2009

PowerPoint in Education

Most educators would agree with the constructivism theory. Thus we have in our minds a model to explain what we have experienced and every time we have a new experience, we modify the model.

Educators believe in "active learning" where the process of acquiring and assimilating the information is an active process that helps with the process of modifying the model.

The phrase "PowerPoint presentation" conjures up images of a dark room with a speaker hidden behind a podium droning away at a large audience that is nodding off. The exact opposite of what we would want education to be. Still PowerPoint is one of the most popular tools of teachers and lecturers.

But it is quite possible to use PowerPoint to make fun and interactive presentations. Some examples are:

  1. Audience Response systems
  2. Using a tablet PC to annotate the slides during the presentation
  3. Imaginative use of Action buttons and hyperlinks to customize the presentation to the learning needs of the audience
  4. Making invisible hot spots on images
  5. Use of templates like the Jeopardy Templates.
You can see a tutorial that I have put together on using PowerPoint in education here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Faculty development on Using Technology in Education

One of the challenges we face is helping faculty get comfortable using technology. We can try and do hands on workshops to train faculty on certain techniques. The problem is that faculty can have varying levels of expertise in the use of the Web and computers.

One way to solve this problem is to get all workshop participants to review a computer and Web skills checklist prior to the actual session. In addition we can provide links to some good tutorials if they need to brush up on specific skills.

I have put together a skills checklist and links to some tutorials that cover basic Windows skills here.