PowerPoint is a program that creates a presentation that consist of one or more slides that can contain text, graphics, animation or video. Slides can then be viewed individually or as part of a slide show.
It has been suggested the use of relevant diagrams, animation and video clips have all shown to be useful to students with recall and retention as well as to problem solve more effectively. It also helps students that are strong visual learners. (Armitage, ND.) It is, however, important to note that Bartsch (2003) studies showed that when a teacher uses irrelevant images, students can become confused and unable to listen to what is being taught. This, in turn, can affect their learning in a negative way. For this reason it is important that teachers are careful in choosing the correct visual material to correlate with the rest of the presentation and to incorporate explicit teacher talk to assist students understanding.
In my experience, I have found PowerPoint to be a very useful tool for assessment. Last year my grade 3/4 class had to research and partake in a science experiment of their choice. They had to document their journey through the use of photos, posters and a science journal. As a class they then had to create a PowerPoint presentation to present to the parents and teachers at their science fair. Students had to work collaboratively to decided what information and photos would best showcase their learning. Each student was allocated time to design two PowerPoint slides and were involved in the drafting and editing of another students slides. Students were engaged throughout the whole process and enjoyed experimenting with the many tools available to design their own unique PowerPoint slides.
It was amazing to see what the students were capable of and the learning that took place!
Armitage, S. (n.d.). Lancaster University PowerPoint & Student’ Learning: Briefing Paper. Retrieved August 18, 2009, From: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/celt/celtweb/files/Powerpoint%20and%20student%20learning%20final.pdf
Bartsch, R. C., K. (2003). Effectiveness of PowerPoint presentations in lectures. Computers & Education(41): 77-86.