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 2018, 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 by both the professor and the students.

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 they are   explaining.

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

A student isn’t benefiting from a PowerPoint if all they do is re-type out the slide points as their notes. Students must make side notes, listen to the professor and pick the important points from the slides.

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. 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 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 start a career.

PowerPoints and laptops don’t need to be banned from university, but 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.

As a student I don’t think any technology should be banned from classrooms. If a student chooses to be on their phone or the Internet all throughout class, that’s their choice and eventually the cause of a poor mark.

If you’re in university, you probably should be more of an adult and use technology during class if it’s beneficial to you.

We are in a new age, at least from a student perspective, and technology is needed in lectures more than we think. Let’s not ban PowerPoint, a visual learning tool, but rather try to better make use of how it teaches students. The rest is on the students themselves to build positive learning habits.

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