Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week 6: Can Interactive PowerPoint Be a Solution for Large Classes Challenges?


In this week, we’re introduced to a very problematic issue that many teachers around the world face when teaching. It is how to teach large classes. I think it is not impossible job, but it is a little bit challenging. Teaching large classes needs a creative teacher that can vary his/her ways of teaching, treatment and even pitch of voice to address all students’ personalities, interests, intelligences and learning styles. Actually, my dear instructor Deborah provided us with a very valuable array of resources from which we can select any techniques that are suitable for our students, e.g., http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/earlycareer/teaching/largeclasses.html, http://www.thiagi.com/interactive-lectures.html, & http://www.linguist.org.cn/doc/su200605/su20060516.pdf. Among the solutions that I and my colleagues suggested to solve large classes’ problems and engage students are creating websites for courses, online-tests for assessment, online discussion boards, WebQuests, ConcepTest, Concept Maps, scripted cooperative learning, pair & group work, clicker technology, mobile learning (especially cell phones), and task personalization. Thanks my dear colleagues for these wonderful ideas. I can’t use all of them, but I’m going to select putting in mind my students needs, the setting of my classrooms, and technological tools available in my school.

Another task that we are asked to do through this week is to find ways to turn lectures or lessons into an interactive experience for students. I used to create attractive PowerPoint presentations either for my students or trainees. However, reading the article “Best Practices in Presenting with PowerPoint”: http://tep.uoregon.edu/technology/powerpoint/docs/presenting.pdf and the interactive PowerPoint sample: http://umbc.uoregon.edu/eteacher/webskills/material/interactive_powerpoint.ppt provided by my dear instructor Deborah, I’ve found many techniques and tools that can make my presentations more interactive. Among these techniques are Blank Slide, ConcepTest, Think-Pair-Share, Interpreted Lecture, Rapid Reflection, and QuickWrite. 

My colleagues also suggested many ideas for using interactive PowerPoint with their students. Liliya, for example, liked the idea of presenting a short quiz at the middle of the presentation. Sometimes, we want to check our students’ understanding, so it is a wonderful idea to give a short quiz. Victoria used crosswords in the PowerPoint presentation. She thinks that it is advantageous for students. Also, she suggested the use of games like Luiza as a way for creating interactivity during the lesson. Luiza thinks that her students may consider games as a waste of time. Yes, she is right, but if these games have a clear objective and reinforce the items learned, they will be interesting and valuable for students. Cami also suggested a very valuable way for interactivity. It is “Typing on a Slide during the Presentation”. I think it is the most interactive way for using PowerPoint. Again, thanks my dear colleagues for all these ideas and thoughts. They are of great value for me.

The question now is “Can Interactive PowerPoint be A Solution for the Large Classes Challenges?”


Through reading the resources provided by Deborah and the posts written by my colleagues on Nicenet, I think the Interactive PowerPoint presentation can be an impressive solution for the problems and challenges of large classes and engaging students. If the PP presentation has a clear objective and includes a variety of media, e.g., pictures, audio sounds, video clips, hyperlinks with some techniques of interactivity such as the Blank Slide, QuickWrite, ConcepTest, … etc, it will be beneficial as it uses more than one sense. This means that it deals with more than one learning style, intelligence and interest.

I think discussing both topics "Large Classes" and "Interactive PowerPoint" in one post will help me find a link between a problem and a possible solution introduced in this week.
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