I hate using powerpoint, though it is convenient, for these reasons.
1. The students concentrate on writing down everything on the slide. That means they are not exercising note-taking skills, nor are they listening to what I am saying.
2. Because they are not listening, they also avoid making connections and inferences about the topic. That means I have already failed them in two ways.
3. They assume that whatever is on the powerpoint provides the sum of what they need to know for assessment. WRONG!
4. They make lousy powerpoints for presentations, which was what first clued me into its weaknesses. If they could watch my well-constructed and designed powerpoints, and come up with the ones I was seeing, then something was not happening during the learning experience.
I teach juniors and seniors in high school. Practice using college skills is a major focus of each day, and since I started by teaching college, I know what students are missing when they arrive on campus. The lack of critical thinking inherent in the high school experience is terrifying for me, and I try to minimize the problem in my classes. I initially liked powerpoint, since I could cover a lot of material quickly, especially at the beginning of a unit (like "The Elizabethan Era"), but the reason to sit 30 16-year-olds in a dark room to learn escapes me. Perhaps the only accomplishment will be the large number of cellphones I acquire, since they do not realize that I can see the phones better in the dark. I am certain they are not texting about the Virgin Queen!
So thank you, Langwitches, for the following link. I feel vindicated. Now I will have to work on some of these suggestions:
UPDATE 4/28/09: My solution arrives! We will all learn to make an iMovie over the next two weeks. My Phase 5 class will be disrupted for the next two weeks, as many of the students will be waltzing in and out for AP tests. Apparently, this happens every year and somehow we just assume that they can absorb the chaos (and that I can too). So the iMovie is perfect--we will spend time on them this week all together and then they will punt next week....since this is assessing their magic realism "bottom line," I am going to let them work in pairs so that the tech part of this goes more smoothly.
UPDATE: To feed or to lead......
Even the British know!!!
This is very funny: http://teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=6102&title=How_NOT_To_Use_PowerPoint
Just in case I am stuck: http://sharpjacqui.blogspot.com/2009/09/print-out-in-powerpoint.html