Friday, May 22, 2009

The myth of using powerpoint

Microsoft Office's Powerpoint, ppt in brief, is a software widely used as a pedagogical tool to help teachers outline and present their teaching material. The sophisticated user friendly design of ppt saves teachers considerable time to write on the blackboard with chalks. However, like any new technology, excessive use of ppt may bring certain negative impacts to students.

For students, losing the chance to learn and practice notetaking skill may be the most serious collateral harm brought about by overuse of ppt. In the old days, college students needed to take notes about teachers' lecture. Do not look down upon this notetaking skill. In order to record the lecture, students must present in the classroom and listen carefully for what the professors had said and then absorbed whatever heard and tried hard to organize the contents of subject taught before writing down on their notebooks. In this process, students' ability to organize, summarize, and retrieve appropriate wording from their own vocabulary bank must be applied.
Imagine what kind of training that was!

Unfortunately, none of the above mentioned abilities are needed if the professors use ppt to give their lectures. All students have to do is sit and listen. They do not need to take notes, although some professors still encourage them to do so. If they need to review the contents of ppt, all they have to do is ask the professors to e-mail them the files or they can get ppt files from the school website. All they need to do is clikc their mouse.

Powerpoint does offer clearer and more colorful visual effect to present teaching materials, but such effect can't compensate the loss of basic learning skills.

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