Monday, August 10, 2009

Power Point

Every time I go on Power Point (PP) I learn something new. There are so many animations and special effects available that it can sometimes be a little over whelming. Which do I choose? Which one will look good? What is the difference between fade in and dissolve in? I learnt about all of these little things that make Power Points presentations so interesting as I played around with PP. Normally when there is something I am unsure of in PP and other similar tools I can work it out by trial and error. For example, finding out how to set a picture I took as a backgroud on PP.

In education opinions as to whether Power Point is a supportive or a negative tool in the classroom ranges significantly (A, Jones 2003). Jones goes on to describe some of the pros and cons of a PowerPoint presentation. He believes while PowerPoint has considerable potential to enhance both teaching and learning there are some pitfalls and disadvantages associated with this. A, Jones (2003) states that "one of the major problems is that its current use is frequently limited to an information transmission mode, often with excessive content, a usage that obscures the wider potential for diverse professional and pedagogically-sound presentations."

I use Powerpoint in some of my lessons and always try to add some animations to keep the students engaged. I try not to have too many animations as the learners may get wound up in the special effects and loose focus on the learning journey or the pedagogy. Below is a set of tips for those creating a Power Point created by G. C. Clark, University of Notre Dame, February 2002 cited on

Design tips for effective use of PowerPoint in the classroom
1. The goal is improved learning
2. Be conservative – keep it simple
3. Use lots of white space
4. Use contrast (dark-on-light or light-on-dark, for example)
5. Design from top left to bottom right
6. People see graphics first, then text
7. Use large font size – minimum of 18 or 24 points
8. Limit use of boldface, italics, and underlining
9. Don’t write in all upper case letters
10. Use common fonts (Times New Roman, Arial, etc,)
11. No more than two fonts on a screen
12. Be concise with text
13. One concept per slide
14. Plan on spending two minutes per slide
15. Limit use of special effects (animation, sound, transitions)
16. Background patterns usually make screens harder to read
17. When creating original media, use the best equipment you can find
18. Edit files to a minimum meaningful length and size

Clark, G., (2002), Design tips for effective use of PowerPoint in the classroom, cited on the 08/08/09 at

Jones, A., (2003), The use and abuse of Powerpoint in Teaching and Learning in the Life Sciences, cited on the 07/08/09 at

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