As teachers, we should realize that everything we do in front of a classroom is a type of presentation. Whether we have an intricate powerpoint slideshow happening behind us or are reading an excerpt from a book we are essentially presenting. The purpose of this blog, however, is to discuss the use of visual presentations in teaching - what makes them effective and when we should go down another road!
Visual presentations are a great way to stimulate interest from our students. It helps those learners who need to see things to learn feel like they are being included and still getting everything out of the lesson. It helps generate attention to the teacher and the material being presented. Good, effective presentations are those that are aesthetically pleasing, not too complex, and with no unnecessary distractions. Often as we learn to make presentations we get excited about what our computer programs can do and go overboard! The use of special effects and visuals is effective when used to emphasize points should be somehow related to the material being presented.
Too much dialogue on each slide is a distractor for students, especially when the teacher chooses to read the material aloud while the students are trying to read it silently. This creates a conflict of modalities and students will end up not being able to "get" the message at all, since their brains are too busy trying to focus on reading while being spoken to or vice versa. Chunking information into shorter sentences or key words is an effective way to emphasize your point without providing and overwhelming information of written information.
The overall theme for visual presentations is to be effective they mus