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Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Make Power Points Interactive

Whenever I hear that I’m going to have to sit through a PowerPoint presentation, my brain shuts down. What do you think happens to our students? They’re used to being able to interact with everything on their phones. If they read an article, they can comment, share, and discuss it. Why can’t we do the same thing for our lessons? The answer is, we can!

It has been scientifically proven that you cannot talk to someone for longer than half of their age in minutes if you want them to retain the information. So, the longest you can talk in front of a class full of 14 years old’s is seven minutes, before having them apply the knowledge you’ve just dropped on them. With this in mind, when you create a slideshow (PowerPoint), after every slide that teaches something to your students, add in a slide that asks a question, or requires students to perform a task or complete an activity. I can promise you they will retain much more of the information because they’re applying it- not just trying to memorize it for a test. This also eliminates students from having questions you never get to- they have to ask the questions to preform the task.

Additionally, why not add in videos into your slides and use those videos to create questions for students to answer on the following slide? If students know they are going to have a task, activity, or some sort of question coming their way, they’re much more likely to pay attention. ENGAGEMENT is key to learning. Let’s keep these kids ENGAGED! Then, let’s move on to the next step and EMPOWER our students. Have creative activities where students are choosing what they are writing about, researching, discussing with you and/or the class. There is a big difference between ENGAGEMENT versus EMPOWERMENT. The more often we can empower students, the more opportunities we’re giving them to be successful in the real world.

For instance, in this Three Day Imagery Lesson, day one is working with an Interactive PowerPoint where students must perform tasks after learning about each type of imagery. When you click the link in this article it will take you to the lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you click on “View Preview”, you can see a quick example of how you can be putting these interactive lessons together. It’s a simple, short way to do this, and we have more extensive ones with videos for Magical Realism and “The Metamorphosis”.

What’s awesome about turning your old PowerPoints into this type of Interactive lesson is that you can assign these on Google Classroom. students can make a copy, and type directly into the slideshow, then share it with you once they are finished for you to grade. This gives you the option of not having to do a whole class lesson, but instead, allow students to work at their own pace, independently and ask you questions as you walk around the room. This gives you more free time to work with students who aren’t understanding the concepts, and allows students who understand the lesson, to move on. This eliminates those students from being board and causing behavior disturbances in the class. Quick tip: if you do it this way, make sure you have another activity for students who finish early to get started on.

Another great thing about this, is you can turn your interactive PowerPoint lessons into a NearPod. For more information about NearPod creation, which takes these Interactive PowerPoint Lessons to another level, read Using Nearpod in the Classroom by Kate Kropp. For those adventurous souls, you’ll love this free online tool. Just be aware that Nearpod’s lessons in the free version is NOT student paced, and must be done at the whole class level. To create self paced lessons you have to purchase one of their upgraded versions- however, I do recommend these upgraded options!

Now, when I say “STOP LECTURING”, I DO NOT mean “STOP TEACHING”. You should definitely be explaining the content, talking with your students, and answering questions. But, teachers, while I know we love to hear ourselves talk, we need to talk less. We can’t talk at our students for an hour and think they’ve learned everything they need to learn for the unit because WE JUST OLD THEM. If we can’t learn that way, neither can they. If you are a super auditory person who loves lectures, that’s great, but I have yet to have a student who could handle long lectures. Neuroscience proves that we can’t keep teaching this way. So, let’s pay attention to how long we’re teaching, and allow students to apply what you’ve just said. Give them a chance to retain this information. I think that sounds like a great plan.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Follow me on Twitter @jessica_senesac.

#interactivelessons #21stcenturylearning #facilitatingteaching #classroomhacks #studentengagement #studentempowerment #digitallearning

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