GradPSYCH - January 2012 - (Page 38)
“PowerPoint can help you make the organization of your thoughts more transparent and introduce some bells and whistles that make the lesson more interesting. But if you are not a good teacher, it can be a crutch and short circuit any chance you have of learning how to connect with your students.”
JuDy PriMaVEra Fairfield University
to shrink the text to make it fit, he points out, you probably have too many words on the slide. Pandiscio also recommends using sans serif fonts, such as Arial, Calibri and Verdana. “They’re easier to read and look better on computer screens or projectors than Times New Roman or Garamond,” he says. • Use graphs, not tables. To better engage your audience, convert words or numbers into diagrams and figures whenever possible, advises Moin Syed, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota. “Tables are not amenable to quickly gleaning information, especially the big picture,” he says. • Summarize. Be concise. For example, if you want to discuss the clinical diagnosis guidelines for Prader-Willi syndrome, don’t list all the criteria in a single slide — either select a few symptoms as examples or break the major and minor criteria into separate charts. “Too many words on a slide ... makes the audience members unable to hear what you are saying because they are too busy reading the text,” Morton says. Also, stay away from animation or too much use of multimedia. However, photos or videos can be a plus, especially if they illustrate a procedure that is easier to show than explain, she says. • Keep the human touch. Dimmed lights and bright slides tend to diminish the personal connection between the speaker and
the audience. That may seem desirable for shy scientists, but you’ll be more effective if you make eye contact with your audience. “Don’t be afraid to come out from behind your presentation and interact,” says Erinn Leary Green, PhD, an educator assistant psychology professor at the University of Cincinnati. After all, you — not the software — need to bring your subject to life. Too much dependence on slideshows can severely limiting, says Judy Primavera, PhD, a psychology professor at Fairfield University. “If you are a good teacher, PowerPoint can help you make the organization of your thoughts more transparent and introduce some bells and whistles that make the lesson more interesting,” she says. “But if you are not a good teacher, it can be a crutch and short circuit any chance you have of learning how to connect with your students.” n Slideshow: The worst PowerPoint presentation ever made. Mark Rowh is a writer in Dublin, Va.
• Bozarth, J. (2008). Better than bullet points: Creating engaging e-learning with PowerPoint®. San Francisco: Pfeiffer/ John Wiley. • Daniel, D.B. (2011). Practical PowerPoint: Promising principles for developing individual practice. In D. S. Dunn, J. H. Wilson, J.E. Freeman, & J.R. Stowell (Eds.), Best practices for technology-enhanced teaching and learning: Connecting to psychology and the social sciences (pp. 87–104). New York: Oxford University Press. • Fedisson, M., & Braidic, S. (2007). PowerPoint presentations increase achievement and student attitudes towards technology. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education, 3(4), 64–75. • Kosslyn, S.M. (2011). Better PowerPoint®: Quick fixes based on how your audience thinks. New York: Oxford University Press. • Tufte, E.R. (2003). The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press
Video: Comedian Don McMillan’s PowerPoint pet peeves.
38 • gradPSYCH • January 2012
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