Multimedia Presentations: The Good, the Bad, and the . . . AWESOME!

Thursday, January 29, 2015
I have rarely used PowerPoint in my second grade classroom. We use SmartNotebook more often because it is interactive. I have used PowerPoint to present to my colleagues, though, and I have sat through a number of PowerPoint presentations. The best of these used minimal text, interesting or sometimes amusing pictures, and/or a brief video. The presenter should elaborate on the text and not read directly from the slide. Of the bad PowerPoint presentations that I have had to suffer through, the ones where the presenter read each text-dense slide aloud were the worst!

I believe that a good PowerPoint presentation, like any presentation, begins with a “hook”, something to get the audience’s attention. And while multimedia tools, like pictures and videos, are a good addition, pictures should not detract from the message and videos should be brief. Further, the text on the screen should be concise, but also minimal to not detract from what the presenter is saying. Regarding aesthetics, I prefer a darker background with lighter text.

I am excited to share that my second grade students just completed multimedia presentations. My grade level was planning a science unit surrounding animals and their habitats. We wanted our culminating assignment to be collaborative and concrete, yet fun and creative. Our plan was to have students research an animal with a partner and record the research. Then, with the help of the art teacher create clay representations of their animals and pose them in dioramas representing the animals’ habitats. We also wanted to integrate technology, so we considered PowerPoint presentations. However, the computers in the computer labs are not loaded with PowerPoint.

I shared an app on my iPad that my son had recently used for a social studies presentation called Haiku Deck. I really like it because it is simple to navigate and use. There are preloaded images that are easy to search. It is the perfect alternative to PowerPoint for younger students. Here are a few of their presentations:

Panthers - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Octopuses Habitat - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Didn't they do an AWESOME job? They created these themselves with little interruption from me. I helped mostly with technology issues and some spelling, but the rest was all them. I am one proud second grade teacher!


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