Knowing what kinds of slides to make in education is just as important as knowing how to make them. In this video, walk through the basic principles of slide design and the implications for teachers.
- [Narrator] While most of this course is an in-application demo of PowerPoint 365, it's worth a few moments at the beginning to cover fundamental ideas about engaging learners with PowerPoint. So, let's start with tip number one. When teaching with PowerPoint, don't overuse text on your slides. Many of the teachers I coach overload their text with slides, or else rely too heavily on prebuilt bulleted lists. Essentially, they use PowerPoint as a modified word-processing program, resulting in slides that look like this one, but in the end, that's not how PowerPoint is designed to work.
PowerPoint ultimately is not a text-based medium, it is a visual medium that uses text-based elements. And that's a critical distinction. Yes, there are rare times when bulleted lists are fine. Setting a class agenda, for example, or defining and delineating a term, using list-based structures like this one, or isolating key items to review. Those are exceptions, however. In the worst-case scenarios, an abundance of text turns PowerPoint into a teleprompter, a visible speaking script.
And if all you're doing is reading your lecture notes, why do your students need you there? That brings us to our second PowerPoint teaching tip. Pair visuals and phrase-level text. Sometimes, in the interest of not using too much text, instructors will veer too far into the other direction, using PowerPoint only for visuals. But PowerPoint is not a stage backdrop. Thinking of it as one may add atmosphere, but doesn't usually contribute to teaching. A more successful strategy is to pair visuals with either labels or short phrases to isolate key insights.
There are a lot of options for using visuals in PowerPoint. You can draw from icon sets, photographs or videos, charts or tables, SmartArt, and 3D models. Whatever strategy you pick, though, choose elements that enhance your teaching goals as opposed to just filling the space or looking pretty. Finally, always remember that you are the star, not your slides, so your slides shouldn't draw undue attention to themselves. I mention this because certain aspects of PowerPoint can be tempting to overuse, like eye-popping animations or fancy transitions, or the newest devices of PowerPoint, like Morph and Zoom.
The bottom line is this. Whenever you're adding elements, text or visual, to your PowerPoint presentation, ask yourself am I making this decision to help me as a presenter, or to help my students as learners? If the answer is that they'd help you as a teacher, it might be worth pumping the brakes. If the choice would help your students as learners, though, then consider it full speed ahead.
- Working with images, animation, links, and media
- Using PowerPoint Designer
- Incorporating 3D objects
- Adding interactivity with Morph and Zoom
- Installing and using add-ins for educators