PowerPoint has been one of the greatest educational presentation tools since the lightbulb overhead machine. I want to start by saying that: PowerPoint is great. It’s a slick, beautiful way to deliver instruction to classrooms. It beats a laundry list of notes or outlines any day. And it’s a great assessment tool as well. Having students use PowerPoints to demonstrate their understanding of a concept can be much more concise that reading a standard paragraph report. Plus there are themes, designs, transitions and bells and whistles to keep even the apathetic viewer interested.
PowerPoint is great.
But it can be overdone.
Just as with any classroom instructional practice, students and teachers can fall into a rut and fall victim to overexposure and overuse. I’ve heard one of the downfalls of 1:1 classroom environments is that students end up attending PowerPoint University–constantly exposed to PowerPoint instruction and PowerPoint assessments.
So for a recent classroom project, I banned PowerPoint. The students have to create a visual informational presentation of some kind, but they are not allowed to use PowerPoint. I created the project standards for them and it is up to them to figure out how they are going to execute it and with which tool.
To help the process, I started investigating some alternatives to PowerPoint and gave them the following page of bookmarks. These tools range from fancy animated presentation tools to simple Google Presentations (to which the students said is the same thing as a PowerPoint. To which I said, but it isn’t A POWERPOINT).
I’m interested to see what they come up with. And even better, I’m interested to not see a PowerPoint.