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Powerpoint And Its Effectiveness In Teaching Education Essay

2473 words (10 pages) Essay in Education

5/12/16 Education Reference this

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Microsoft Powerpoint Program is one of the presentation software programs used effectively in academic sector. This way of teeaching provides the information of the project from a computer onto a projector screen (Bartsch and Cobern, 2003). Due to its inherent features of the PowerPoint, it is developed as business software tool and was adopted by researchers and in education. For making the presentation in a visual mode, dynamic, and engaging way, PowerPoint presentation is an easy-to-use software application (Holzl, 1997). In order to highlight the key points, and to show the assignment information, some of the features of the PowerPoint are helpful for the lectures. In addition to that, it brings the audience interest by enabling some of the additional features such as clipart and cartoons in the presentation (Sammons, 1997). In the literature review of previous studies, several researchers have anlaysed the effects of PowerPoint on student performance and perferences towards Power Point. This has been analysed by the methodology and empirical results of the studies. As per the author’s views about the merits and demerits of using Power Point are presented followed by dissections and conclusions. By using different methods (the control variables, which is incorporated in the analysis) the variation in results for different disciplines have been explained.

Nowadays, in developed countries, the use of PowerPoint in education has become widespread. Howover in some schools in Saudi Arabia, it has restricted usage such as not continuous, rather than some important lessons and topics.This case may be due to teacher’s limited knowledge of Power Point usage. Broadening thier knowledge would give benefit and make the students ease learning. In most schools, the classrooms are not equipped for PowerPoint presentations. For the whole school, the one classroom may be dedicated for the PowerPoint presentations. In addition to that, there may be resistance by some teachers to alter, while others are still hesitate to give the debate over the extent of its influence on improving the educational performance of students for wider adoption. Still, the past studies are inconclusive abut the PowerPoint and gives the contradictory and opposing views. However in Saudi Arabia, some studies supported the usage of such technology in Saudi schools for the benefit of learners (Al-Sharhan, 2006). In general, the discussion about the use of PowerPoint in teaching practice has brought two important problematic issues. The first issue tells ” how effectively the technology reflects on the quality of teaching given to the learners”. This issue can be manifested in the level of satisfication that may be encounted by the technology. From the point of researchers about this issue, the simplicity of the technology remove more of the teaching professional load and leads to a non-stimulating delivery of content (Pauw, 2002). The second issue tells about the inconsistency within the educational setting due to absence of suitable training and opposition in implementing the technology by someone. This may have a negative effects on learners, who were given the different modes of approach in delivering the PowerPoint presentations within the same discipline. Therefore, it is more important in selecting the technology to ensure that it is compatible with the aims of training in order to bring the successful implementation.

Literature review

There has been a lot more discussion over different methods to deliver lecture to the students. In particular, many lecturers use written material stuff delivered on a chalkboard, whiteboard, or by transparent sheet on an overhead projector. In last decade, the method of presenting the visual information directly from a computer onto a screen. These types of computers and projection technology devices can be seen in the classrooms. This gives the facility to engage the learners through graphics and multimedia presentations. Many faculty members, administrators, felt that the PowerPoint was initially considered as a cutting edge technology for use in the classroom. Latter students felt that the PowerPoint should not be used more often because it is too passive. For example, Creed (1997) argues that the use of computer-based presentations makes the teacher to be focussed. Kask (n.d.) and Parks (1999) suggested that the computer-based presentations makes the students to take a nap in larger auditoriums where the some of the lights in the auditorium have to be dimmed. In prior to lecture, if the lecture notes are provided to the students, students may be shown less interest to attend the the class. Others feel that the PowerPoint offers the ability to provide more concentration to the students. For example, Stone (1999) argues that the discussion in the classroom is improved by the use of computer-based presentations. In the part of the presentation, the discussed questions can be displayed on the screen. Based on the students interaction and respond the students’ names and comments can also be projected in the presentation. Finally, these interactions and responses can then be printed or given to all students. He also discusses about the exercise and experiments given to the students that can be facilitated by incorporating them in the presentations. It can also be argued that the students take less time for taking their notes, whereas the PowerPoint allows more time for interactive activities. Based on the controversy about PowerPoint and its usage, some studies have attempted to measure the impact of computer generated presentations on student performance. Overall, the results have been combined. Very few said that the PowerPoint presentations did not have effect on the student performance. While others said that it the way of the PowerPoint presentations enchances the student performance.


In some studies, it was mentioned that the powerpoint presentation increases the students motivation and achievements in their lessons (Mantei 2000). In addition to that, most of the students mentioned that it helped them in taking notes and study for exam , only after the instruction provided in the powerpoint presentations (Noppe, 2007), and they like to have powerpoint lectures to traditional lecture (Frey and Birnbaum, 2002). Researchers explored that the end-result of preparing powerpoint presentations by the students are very limited. Gunel et al. (2006) compared the effectiveness of the students in writing summary report and preparing powerpoint presentation about two units in physics lesson. It was observed that the students prepared the powerpoint presentation scored significantly better than the students prepared summary report format. In another studies, Marmiené (2006) investigated the ability of the students in choosing the material and the content of powerpoint presentations on professional topics via the internet and also he investigated the students ability to prepare and deliver the presentation in front of the audience. As a result, it was mentioned and reported that the preparing and delivering the material through powerpoint presentation improved the students grasping skills in addition to listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. That is the use of such technologies is more time-efficient compared to traditional way of delivering the presentation i.e. using whiteboard or overhead transparency projector. Hence, more time can be given on interaction and instruction rather than using the traditional way (Mantei, 2000).

Susskind (2005) taught two courses on “Introduction to Psychology”. In these courses, half of the courses, he taught with the help of PowerPoint and other half without PowerPoint presentations in a counterbalanced order across classes. Gradewise, there was no significant difference in student performance. However, the students performance have not increased in many courses that used multimedia presentations (Susskind & Gurien, 1999; Szaba & Hastings, 2000). In one of the studies, it was demonstrated that there was a decrease in student performance when the instructor switched from transparencies to PowerPoint (Bartlett, Cheng, & Strough, 2000).-2. Ahmed (1998) compared the two methods(overhead projector and PowerPoint) of information presentation. He observed very little difference in the performance on exams resulting from the use of these two methods. It was also indicated that that the difficulty of the lectures had a greater impact on the performance of the student than the use of PowerPoint itself. -17 by the study of Szabo and Hastings. Szabo and Hastings (2000) presented three different lectures; first lecture with overhead transparencies; second lecture with PowerPoint; and third lecture with power point and handouts of the Power Point slides. All these lectures were tested for the the same group of students in a physical education course. One week latter, mock tests were conducted to the students. It was observed that there was no significant difference in grades between two tests on lectures delivered with PowerPoint. The grades from the two PowerPoint lectures were higher than the grades scored with the lecture provided with overhead transparencies-16. In 995, Lowery (1999), taught Environment Science course through overhead transparencies. Again in the year of 1996 and 1997 , the same lecture was provided to the students with the help of Power Point. He found statistically significant difference on comparing the average test scores. The material taught in the year of 1996 and 1997 with the help of PowerPoint have higher average test scores than the course taught with overheads in the year of 1995- 16.

In the survey of Sazbo and Hasting (2000), 80% of the students felt that PowerPoint lectures were highly beneficial and that visual emphasis to recall the lecture material during the exam time. The presenters often highlits the main ideas and points with bullets. Based on this information, the audience members and students aware of the tips included in the presentation. In the latter stage, they may specially focus on the points presented in the slides and ignore the elaboration talk given by the speaker (Savoy, Proctor and Salvendy 2009). According to Savoy (2009), the uses of PowerPoint, web cast, and pod cast have tremendoulsy increased in university lectures to focus the student’s attendance and make the student to expose to the lecture material effectively. However, the easy way of preparation and distribution of information digitally does not always mapped to the enhanced student performance. In one of the interesting parallels with Susskind (2004), a traditional lecture format to a PowerPoint multimedia format have been compared. By doing this, they observed that students thought themselves to be equal and capable if they had learned from the format similar to the E-lectures in this study, as they were learned through traditional lectures. Paradoxically, these awes not reflected their performance during exmas. It is also not linked seemed to the presence or absence of multimedia delivery -13.

Using PowerPoint effectively

Due to the presence of mixed reults among the studies investigated relate to the beneficial effects of PowerPoint on performance, a new perspective fine-grained analysis is needed to assess the impact of delivery style on student performance (Susskind, 2005). All the above studies, did not investigate and concentrate the complexity of the presentations which is also one of the factor directly impacts the performance. For example, PowerPoint presentations can be written with simple text in single coloured screen. Presentations can also be made complex with tables, pictures, graphs, animational effects such as sound effects,visual effects, video clips. The effectiveness of PowerPoint and other multimedia presentations directly depends on the complexity of the presentation. However, several researchers have demonstrated that in few lectures material irrelevant sounds (Moreno & Mayer, 2000), cluster of text (Schraw, 1998), and irrelevant and unwanted pictures (Mayer, 2001, p. 113) have been included. However, this things can reduce overall performance of the PowerPoint presentations 2.

In the detail PowerPoint presentations, the items which are relevant (e.g. most of the pictures), and not relevant (e.g. most of the sound effects) to the context were presented. The level of the performance is diminished because of the irrelevant items presented in the presentation. These irrelevant items detract the student’s concentration. It was also found that the graphics related to the context may be beneficial, and the graphics not related to the context not at all helpful in learning. Also, for a simple presentation, the graphics items are not necessary. But graphics items will be helpful for tedious , complex and difficult lectures. If the graphics items are desired, then the PowerPoint presentations should have the special features to accommodate them in an easy manner.

It is also worth to mention that some of the flexible features of PowerPoint such as colour, variation in font, image, dynamic model building, or multimedia capabilities brings the student attention close to the context. For digital lecturing, the student enthusiasm depends on the structured pattern of the PowerPoint presentation. Hence , the presenter or the instructor should follow a well – organsied and structured pattern of the presentation. Susskind (2005) also indicated that there is no significant difference among delivery styles. In his experiment, a mixed participant design and counterbalanced lecture format order were involved. This eliminated any confound between delivery style and order. Apart from that, it reduced the potential cohort effects via within the subject comparisons. However, methodological issue regarding student assignment have n’t been carried out. Susskind observed that the students were not assigned randomly. The results of his experiments could be reflected the pre-existing conditions of academic ability, preparation and motivation -10.


Besides evaluating the student performance based on the impact of computer-generated slides, several studies concentrated the perceptions of PowerPoint. For example, Daniels (1999) found that the ¾ th of the students in her analysis perferred PowerPoint presentation rather than chalkboard. Similarly Szabo and Hastings (2000) reported that 90% of the students thought that the “PowerPoint lectures grabs more attention than the traditional lecture”. Furthermore, 65% of the students in the study perferred PowerPoint and said that the PowerPoint lecture motivate the students to attend the class and 72 % of the students said that they perfer to see PowerPoint used in all courses.

In the survey, there was an exception found in students of economics majors (612 students) at Radford University (Hashemzadeh and Wilson, 2007). In their study, students were asked to compare the course lecture provided with and without PowerPoint (not taught by the same professors). It was found that the majority of the students felt that they could able to understand lecture better because they felt more involvement and better interaction with the instructor in the sections taught without PowerPoint. The majority of students preferred courses taught with PowerPoint rather than courses taught without PowerPoint .16

Frey and Birnbaun (2002) found that the students preferred lectures using PowerPoint than those using chalkboard or whiteboard. They also perceived that the lecture is to be more structured and organised

Students appreciated the advantages of PowerPoint, such as easy to read the slides, keeping the lecture on-track, enlivening the lecture by providing the combinations of pictures and more concise text. They also often criticised on badly prepared and presented lectures. In common, too much of the information provided on the single slide and slide were fully composed of similar words leading to boring rather than interesting. Students were less engaged for chalkboard or overhead transparencies techniques were used in delivering the lecture.-17.

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