Editorial: PowerPoints can be an effective learning tool

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Imagine walking into a lecture where students are forbidden from being on their cell phones, using their laptops and the professor is standing at the front of the room giving a lesson without a PowerPoint. In the year 2017, such a thing is a rarity. It’s common these days to see students taking notes on their laptops and the professor using a PowerPoint.

Some people, however, are making the case that the usage of PowerPoints in school make students ‘stupid’. I would argue that PowerPoints are an effective learning tool in school if used the right way.

Nobody benefits from PowerPoints if the slides are word-for-word from what is being said or the presenter is just reading off the slides. Students can succeed if the professor is using bullet points to build off what he or she is explaining.

PowerPoints being a successful tool isn’t just on the professors. Students need to learn how to effectively take notes by using the points on a slide and combining it with what the professor is saying, and having the ability to expand on the points through their own knowledge.

Students can become too reliant on slide shows, especially if they are posted online before or after class. This then leads to students skipping class and being satisfied with whatever is on the slide. But if you are starting a conversation of banning slide shows from university lectures, shouldn’t the case be made to ban laptops and cell phones?

The biggest distractions in university lectures is social media and the Internet. Students are busy texting, checking Instagram and Snapchatting their friends rather than focusing on what is being taught and said. Laptops can often be a distraction as well because rather than taking notes, students are playing around on the Internet.

An article about PowerPoints on the Business Insider, mentions that universities are more focused on measuring their success through student satisfaction instead of student success. Although this does seem to be the case, we can’t avoid the fact that most students are at the post-secondary level just to get their degree so they can get a career.

PowerPoints and laptops don’t need to be banned from university, but rather used for their proper reason. This can only happen if professors use PowerPoints effectively and students learn to take notes beyond whatever is on the slide.

We are in a new age, at least from a student perspective, and technology is needed in lectures more than we think.

 

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