For Teachers

Teachers: 5 Tips for Creating Great PowerPoint Presentations

By The Room 241 Team February 11, 2013

A teacher’s PowerPoint presentation is one way to share content with students that’s different from lecturing or teaching from the textbook.

And if a PowerPoint is put together correctly, it can be an effective way of reinforcing certain content to students so that they’re better able to retain it. What’s more is that teachers can print and distribute the PowerPoint presentation or post it online so students can go back and access it as reference material. However, if it’s not put together correctly, a PowerPoint presentation can disengage and make students bored.

So how should teachers go about putting together an effective PowerPoint presentation? For starters, it should be simple. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun. Here’s a look at five tips that teachers can use to spruce up their PowerPoint presentations and make them an effective teaching tool.

Highlight a take home message

A PowerPoint presentation should be basic, simple and not distracting. It should also focus on keywords and a take home message. For example, always be sure to include a summary slide of what the presentation is intending to accomplish as well as a table of contents on the different topics that will be covered in the program. The summary slide serves as the main topic and what students should learn after viewing the presentation. Then, at the end of the PowerPoint presentation, teachers should include another summary slide, going over everything that was just covered and, again, highlighting the main point. Bottom line: keep PowerPoint presentations simple, but make sure they have a purpose and make sure that the purpose is made clear.

Add pictures

We’ve already gone over how a good PowerPoint presentation should always have a focus on what it intends to accomplish and it should always contain a take home message. Teachers can reinforce this take home message with pictures, charts, symbols and other images. In fact, sometimes it’s better to have more pictures than text in a PowerPoint presentation. Images work to reinforce a main point or message. Teachers typically will just share this content with their class, so they can pull images straight from the Internet. However, for teachers who are making more public and widespread presentations, copyright law will need to be considered.

Add video

Just as how pictures can help reinforce a main point or support content, so can videos. And studies say that students enjoy watching videos and retain information from them well, especially if the video is engaging, interesting and informative. Teachers can embed videos right from YouTube or from their desktops to complement a PowerPoint presentation.

Practice

Nothing turns off a class like a poorly put together PowerPoint presentation, so teachers should always be sure to do a quick rehearsal before they present it to the class. While testing it, make sure that all the images load up on the slides, that videos load up properly and that audio works, too. Also, it’s important for teachers to make sure that there’s a way to connect their computer, or upload anything that’s storing the PowerPoint presentation, to a larger TV monitor or projector screen so the whole class doesn’t have to huddle around a computer screen to view it. Teachers should also make sure that any text can be read clearly and that the color scheme is good.

Make it fun

A PowerPoint presentation can be an innovative way of teaching. Generally speaking, it’s a more interesting and engaging way for students to learn than the typical lecture is. Teachers should embrace this method of teaching and have fun with it. Throw in some jokes, possibly some funny pictures and be sure to get creative with presentations. The more fun that teachers have in putting together a presentation, the more fun students will get out of it. And as we previously noted, the more students enjoy a lecture, presentation or activity, the more likely they are to retain the information.

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