EDTECH 541: Powerful Presentations

Powerful presentations can have a powerful impact.  I once saw Ben Zander, the conductor for the Boston Philharmonic, give the presentation of a lifetime with only a piano on the stage.  He had no presentation tool.  Conversely, I saw Alisson Rossett, a professor of instructional design, use PowerPoint in ways I didn’t think it could be used.  The presenter makes the presentation.

That being said, I think that presentation tools can greatly enhance today’s classroom.  Personal experience has shown me that students love visual aids.  I can show a black and white video of the 1950’s McCarthy trials or a Disney cartoon.  Of course, students like the color of Disney better, but they would rather see a black and white video than hear me lecture at them for 50 minutes.  They engage with media!

I use presentations daily.  I mainly use PowerPoint, and I confess that I don’t spend hours on them.  However, I have used Prezi and Animoto with great success as well.  Students like to see something visual.  It engages them in the conversation, which I feel is the most important part of any lesson.  The relative advantage of using presentations is that they give the students a point in which to focus their attention.  Properly created presentations that aren’t loaded with text, can give students thoughtful information to consider while I present relevant content verbally.  This approach helps to enhance students’ ability to multitask by giving them information to view on the screen and having them take notes on the auditory part of the presentation.  Students engage with class content more deeply when it’s presented to them using a presentation tool.  Additionally, I become a more creative person with presentations as I strive to add images, graphics, and videos that will spark the interest of my students.  The bottom line for teachers is that presentations are a great way to engage students with the content.

My interactive presentation can be found here.  I hope you like Chaucer!

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