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Presentations

Why would you need presentations for teaching a lesson?

Among various arguments proffered by educational technologists and users of these technologies are the following:

* It saves time:
Once made, loaded and projected on to the screen, it saves enormous time. You do not have to rub your board, spend time on writing or drawing, and can concentrate on what you want to say, or get the students to interact. You can go back and forth, reveal parts of the whole, zoom in or out, and even construct (for example, a geometrical figure) as you present. Also, once made, you can reuse it. If you are teaching the same or a similar lesson in another section, with a few modifications, you can use the same presentation again. Maybe, if you are happy with it you would like to use it next year too. You may even like to share it with other fellow teachers for use in their classrooms. Looked at from this perspective, it saves enormous time.

But anyone who has made an elaborate presentation will tell you, that making it takes enormous time too. And therefore, if you are not convinced of its use, you would think twice before venturing to make one.

* Supplements our skills:
Some of us have a great handwriting, some have a knack with colour chalks and some of us can draw quite well. Unfortunately, most of us called upon to do these things on the blackboard which we try valiantly, do not end up with a satisfying product each time. At times, we are called upon to use our voice, be it story telling, singing or theatrics. And not all of us are blessed with a gifted voice.

Educational Technologists believe that using presentations can supplement our talents and overcome some of our limitations. Text, tables, graphs, drawings, audio and even video can be inserted using appropriate software. They also go much beyond what is possible with a blackboard and chalk.

* Make it impressive:
The use of software for embellishing text, tables, graphs, inserting photographs, animations, or video and support it with music or audio can make the presentation very catchy and impress the audience. In the classroom, it can go a long way in retaining the attention of the students.

Presentation software give you a large variety of text effects, animation effects and slide transitions, commonly known as bells and whistles. They are called so because they are not necessarily related to enhancing your communication. Attention of the student may not be affected the first few times, because of the newness of the experience, but, if you overdo their use, it only helps in distracting the viewer from what you have to say.

The trick is to figure out which effect supports communication and how. The flip side is not knowing how much is too much.

* Help visualise:
Many concepts are visual. A picture is worth a thousand words. And getting photographs into a presentation is very easy too. Getting the right photograph could take some effort but there are thousands of photographs, up for grabs on web portals like Vidya Online . Still images are not adequate for concepts that involve processes. And such concepts can be best depicted by animations or video, something which is impossible with chalk and board. A good piece of animation or video can be a real good support to teaching.

Visualising and making a good animation can be an involved task. Developing a video could be even more involved, though digital cameras with video options or handycams have become more and more common. An ability to define the need and judge the utility of a selected photograph, drawing, animation or video would be very essential if we want our presentations to effectively communicate.

After these arguments, we appear to have come across at least some compelling reasons for making a presentation and using it for teaching.

 

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