I am a geek, I am excited about technology and I love to use it. Teaching ICT even drives me to use technology more. I always tell myself I can’t teach technology without using technology. Apart from being passionate about technology, I am more interested in using technology to impact on the lifes of people I meet everyday.
As a matter of fact, after your undergraduate program in Nigeria, there is the compulsory national youth service. Under this scheme, I was posted as an ICT instructor to Jetters Montessori College, Jalingo, one of the best schools in Nigeria and one of the leading schools in ICT in the country. Wow, I was impressed with the level of technology infrastructure available in the school. However, the infrastructure were going into ruins because there were no capable hands to use the school e-learning facilities to teach the student.
I started out by impressing my bosses when I created my scheme of work using Microsoft Word. It was not a big deal to me but my director made it an example for others. As a faithful servant, I continued by creating my lesson plan and note with Microsoft word. I couldn’t wait to start my first class with PowerPoint slides.
As a naive teacher, I had quickly forgotten that while in the University I would switch to playing either 2048 or candy crush in a boring PowerPoint class. I had powerful pictures, my PowerPoint was not wordy but something was wrong in the class. I noticed a number of students were distracted, even tried sleeping.
I guess I failed at using technology in my first class. I was tempted to quickly give up as I was advised by a fellow ICT teacher. I told myself No, technology is meant to help and it can work.
Thank God for Google, I did what I usually call counter search on “10 mistakes you could be doing with PowerPoint in class”. Then, I stumbled on the phrase “Death by PowerPoint”. Powerpoint is meant to power a class but it can kill a class. After the I did my online research, I went offline and did the most important research with my clients, my students of course.
I noticed the following:
- PowerPoint was killing the interactiveness of the class.
- The students were straining their eyes because of poor lightning in the classroom environment and the choice of background colour.
- Some students have eye defects.
- When you think your powerpoint is not wordy but is is actually wordy.
- Too much information on one slide: more than one equation or table.
I worked with my student in proferring these solutions to avoid death by PowerPoint and also resurrect.
- Enhance active learning by using a picture to start off a discussion in class.
- Follow the 6 by 6 principle strictly: not more than 6 words in a bulletpoint and not more than 6 bulletpoint in a slide.
- Use one word slide to start off a discussion
- Use animation to delay how much information the students get at once.
- Introduce varieties: try videos to start off a discussion or group discussion.
- I am looking at the Takashi method as well. Using only one word per slide.
Now my class has fully resurrected from death by PowerPoint. I also now appreciate why people spend 4 years in school studying education by the day. I can’t imagine how much of educational methods I will learn while trying to teach my students. I hope to conduct a research where I will compare my student performance in my course – where I use technology – to other courses – where traditional method is being used. I can’t shy away from the fact that I love teaching. What about you?
And please feel free to share your own teaching method. You can also tweet at me @tosinamuda.