Non-linear PowerPoint

PowerPoint: you can make it interactive!

As language teachers, you probably aren't big users of Microsoft PowerPoint. It might well be a tool you use for giving a talk or workshop at a conference or if, like me, you teach technology. But, as language teachers, using it is probably rapidly going to produce Death by PowerPoint and, in any case, you're not supposed to be lecturing your learners, are you?

As a workshop presenter, you certainly want to avoid inducing Death by PowerPoint, which is caused by — among other things — using too much text and too many bullet points per slide and then simply reading monotonously through it all, which your audience could have done at home on their own.

If you can make it an interactive presentation in some way, in which you respond to and dialogue with your audience, PowerPoint can nevertheless be a powerful tool. If, on the other hand, your audience has gone terribly quiet, best call the doctor quick — for yourself.

Creating a non-linear presentation is one way to ensure that you respond not lecture. The following links came from the February 2009 issue of the Office Insider for Microsoft Office newsletter:

If you're not that expert with PowerPoint, and want an easy way to allow yourself a non-linear PowerPoint presentation, you do have a "Go to" function which allows you to jump to whichever slide you want — and not necessarily the next one:

Right-clicking in "Slide Show view" allows you to jump to whichever slide you want…

Make the learners make the PowerPoints
With learners, PowerPoint can be fun too — for making presentations (eg. of the results of webquests), as well as for creative writing exercises.

With the latter, young learners love making multimedia stories with PowerPoint, including sound and images as well as text.

See also: Using PowerPoint Interactively in the Classroom

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