This semester I decided to try something different in my writing class. After giving them a pre-assessment (writing an in-class essay), I determined that this class was at the same level as last semester’s students. My change for this semester was that I taught the whole semester without using a single PowerPoint.
In all the previous semesters, I have had a PowerPoint presentation each night that had illustrations, certain words in different colors, many visuals, etc. I had noticed that my night class often went to sleep when I turned down the lights and used the PowerPoint. Even though I asked them many questions and did interactive things, the class seemed lulled. This semester it was just me and the whiteboard with the lights on. I did have different colored markers. I did full up the board and erase it several times during the class. I felt that I had more eye contact (could see their reactions better) and more interactivity with the students (could show other strategies when they encountered a problem) rather than being the button-pusher for the next PowerPoint Slide.
The informal results based on this semester’s last in-class essay compared to the previous semester’s was that this semester’s students did just as well (really slightly better) than last semester’s students. The lack of PowerPoint did not negatively impact the students; in fact, they did better without it. Teacher methodology (focusing on students’ present learning status) matters more than technology!
How do you know if technology is a truly effective tool in your class?
My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.