PowerPoint in the Classroom

Being a child of a different generation, I have no experience with PowerPoint in the classroom. High tech for us was blackboard and chalk. However, I recently read a book called Beyond Bullet Points which gave me some vision of how interesting and powerful PowerPoint can be. The author’s argument was that a presentation should be structured from the elements of story: heroes, desires, and obstacles. Each slide, according to this book, should have just one sentence with one idea and a simple graphic related to all the other graphics to locate the idea in the arc of the story. That kind of PowerPoint might well be amazing in the classroom! I can imagine each lesson having a ‘story’ with the students eager to overcome obstacles to resolve the tension. They might be asked to put themselves in John Adam’s shoes or Charles Darwin’s or Odysseus’ or to solve a complex math-based real world problem working in groups. There is a fascinating story behind every lesson and PowerPoint might well be a fantastic tool to not only tell the story but to do so in a memorable, multi-media, multi-learning-style format.

Atkinson, C. (2008). Beyond Bullet Points. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press.

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