Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PowerPoint + Classroom = Student Boredom?

This morning, a colleague sent me an article titled, "When Computers Leave the Classroom, So Does Boredom". This article made me think about my own approach to teaching the content to students in the classroom. I use PowerPoint, but I also make the lecture interactive by using the following:

a. Discussion Prompts on the PowerPoint
b. Interactive Surveys (students select an answer by raising their hands)
c. Using Youtube videos

I am married to a high school teacher and we commonly have discussions about students' learning styles (kinestic, auditory, visual, reading/writing). The article listed above begs me to question, "What happens when most of the students in the classroom do not have an auditory learning style (which the article primarily advocates)?"

What do you think?

Millennial Professor


  1. Great question! I personally do not have any equipment in my classroom now, though I used to rely heavily on video clips, commercials, print ads, etc. I have had to change my style for my new environment (post-katrina new orleans fema building) and found it made me grow as a professor. I have always believed in a collaborative classroom, but this new environment challenged me to engage the class without the aid of tech items--I've created a lot of new activities that the students love and find them engaged. The one time I broke out the Powerpoint (lugging a laptop and projector to class), the students groaned until they saw the discussion prompts and "time out" built in for activities...the groan made me think, though, are we too tech-oriented for our students (particularly millennials')? Eager to hear what others think....

  2. Jennifer,

    The dean in the video has an extremely great point of view of having an online lecture before class and using class time for discussions. As you are aware, each student learns differently. The classes that I've enjoyed in the past, truthfully speaking, have been those without power points. They are distracting. I prefer having a professor that engages me in the subject without relying on clicking a button for the next slide. Also, I have a hard time when a professor assigns a presentation and asks to include a power point (and add or subtract points based on the “creativeness” of the slides). Sometimes, they are simply pointless and do not add to the presentation. Overall, I could be just a huge anti-power pointer! ;)
    Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. There are good and poor uses of PowerPoint. If you just post lecture notes - the students will become very bored and do nothing but copy the slides. A much better method is to use the PPT to illustrate (literally, visually) the lecture or discussion. Although the video makes some very interesting points, the assumptions that the best lecturers are at places like Stanford, Harvard and other very very research intensive institutions is absurd. Also absurd is the notion that students will learn well (or listen to) "boring parts" podcasts.

  4. The real irony about the article is that while the Technology has left their classrooms, it has NOT left the learning. Read carefully and you will see that the instructors ARE using technology to post lectures and interact with students outside the classroom.

    The title should be, "When you LEVERAGE technology, boredom leaves the classroom"

    or "When LECTURE leaves the classroom ..."


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