In recent years, many classrooms have been outfitted with computers and other high-tech equipment to assist in learning. PowerPoint presentations can be successfully used as a teaching aid for students of any age. They are especially helpful for middle school, high school, and college.
PowerPoint has become very popular in education as well as the business world because it's easy to learn and widely available. It provides the ability to show different types of media, including images, sounds, and animations. This enhances students' abilities to retain what they're taught, especially those who are visual learners. The teacher can focus on the classroom rather than spending time writing on a board, because the text is already there. It also helps students take accurate notes. TeacherTechToolkit explains some ways that PowerPoint can be a great convenience and time saver for educators. Dr. Alice Christie's Using PowerPoint in the Classroom is a good resource for learning how and why to use it.
When used incorrectly, PowerPoint presentations can actually be a disadvantage. Common mistakes include simply reading the slides to students word-for-word, which is terribly boring to watch, and including so many bells and whistles that the lesson is obscured. Some tips for avoiding what is often called PowerPointlessness can be found at How to Create Effective PowerPoint Lectures.
Many curriculum packages come with ready-made PowerPoint presentations. They cover each chapter and topic in order, providing an outline of the textbook. This can save a lot of time for the teacher. The quality of these presentations varies, though, and many educators don't like them.
Another way to use PowerPoint in an educational setting is to have the students create their own presentations. This is a great way to teach them how to use visual aids for speeches they give to the rest of the class. It provides an opportunity for a lot of creativity while becoming comfortable with computers and a popular software program. The site PowerPoint in the Classroom has a wonderful free tutorial that can guide students through learning how to use PowerPoint. It's set up in a very fun way to hold kids' attention, and it goes over everything from adding images to rehearsing for a presentation.
Other resources and ideas for student-created PowerPoint projects:
Multimedia Storytelling by Microsoft Includes a full, detailed lesson plan
Scoring PowerPoints An in-depth guide to grading student presentations and encouraging quality, including a rubric.
PowerPoint Project for Creating a New Business A full lesson plan for use with high school students.
ProTeacher PowerPoint Ideas Great list of projects written by teachers.
Free PowerPoint Templates and Pre-Made Presentations
PowerPoint Presentations An incredible resource for complete ready-made presentations for elementary to high school levels.
Lexington School District Another list of presentations focused on specific topics.
Brainy Betty Download free videos, fonts, templates, and more.
Template Ready Free templates and backgrounds organized by theme.
TechTrekers Sound, videos, and templates, with some helpful tips at the bottom.<-->