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Using PowerPoint

  • Ask yourself, do I need PowerPoint? Think about what it may add to the presentation. If you have difficulty coming up with specific reasons (for example: “it will be easier to show the change over time in the growth cycle”, “I can add the movie clip of how the engine works”), consider relying on tried-and-true presentation tools such as the whiteboard, blackboard, or overhead projector.
  • Animate the text so that only the text you are talking about appears or is emphasized.
  • Set up the presentation before class and go to the back of the class to see if it’s visible.
  • Think carefully about what information you want to put up on the screen. Avoid complete sentences, or lines of text with more than 6 words. Avoid having more than 6 points. Think of the key phrases that will help your audience understand the information.
  • Avoid distracting templates – your audience should leave wowed by the content, not the beauty of the slides.
  • Use sharp contrast of dark and light when choosing background and text colors. Keep in mind that color-blind students may have problems seeing some colors.
  • Watch the screen of the computer to see what’s being shown. Avoid turning and looking at the screen on the wall unless you’re pointing something out.
  • Make a handout for your presentation, then provide a link (or a paper copy) of your slideshow after the presentation. A carefully constructed handout can guide participants’ learning through the presentation, where giving them all of the information up-front may discourage listening.