Wednesday, May 19, 2010



There are diverse teaching and learning contexts in which PowerPoint can be used for presentations.


· Plan your presentation structure carefully and according to the general rules of presentations. The key to a successful presentation/lecture is to have a clear structure and generally not more than five key topic areas.

· Know the level at which the presentation is aimed and develop the content for this level


· Do not present too much textual material on each slide and avoid simply reading out what is on the slide: provide mainly structural headings and sub-headings around which the bulk of the verbal presentation takes place so that students still require to be active and take notes of detail, etc

· Make sure that you speak at a normal pace and do not allow the use of PowerPoint to deliver material too quickly: this is one of the most commonly encountered problems when converting to using PowerPoint.

· Utilise the visual and other media opportunities offered to enhance your presentation whenever possible but be careful to avoid excessive use of colour effects, animation effects, transition effects, sound effects, etc.

There are many and varied sources of information on the do’s and don’ts of constructing and delivering PowerPoint presentations but one of the most useful is that found at Sebastian Kolowa College of Tumaini University where you can also acquire a collection of free templates suitable for many different forms of presentations, including educational. Some key points relating to designing PowerPoint presentations are given below:

· Try to avoid having more than 6 lines of text per slide and make them primarily headings or subheadings.

· Remember that a picture can be worth a thousand words – use graphics to enhance your presentation. Consider how you will make such diagrams available to the students (time to copy during presentation, handouts, files, etc) but be aware of copyright limitations on non-original material.

· Try to avoid using red and green combinations for emphasis – the most common form of colour blindness prevents separation of reds and greens.

· Consider introducing lines of text one at a time, dimming the previous lines as the new line is introduced: this facilitates concentration on the current item. Putting the full slide up can result in the audience reading ahead and not listening to what is being currently discussed. This facility is accessed within the custom animation option.

· Standardise on a form of animated text entry that is straightforward: I use ‘wipe right’ since I consider that it mimics the normal entry of text in a wordprocessor and feels natural, at least for those from most western countries.

· Use a Sans Serif font such as Arial rather than a Serif font such as Times New Roman: typographical texts recommend this as being easier to read on a poster or presentation slide. If you want a more casual font, Comic Sans is a popular alternative. For reading from paper handouts, etc, a Serif font is recommended.

· Do not use more than two text colours in a presentation unless there are particular reasons for doing so.

· Consider whether to use a dark or a light background for the presentation. Dark backgrounds may not work well if the room is not fairly dark. Remember too that the darker the room has to be, the more likely the audience are to find it hard to stay awake!

So guys, these are tips for a good PowerPoint presentation. I am waiting for your comments.

Yours Kheri Mtani.

Building Teaching Skills through the interactive Web.

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