Many teachers consider computers to be glorified calculators crossed with a typewriter - handy for doing number-crunching and for making projects with different fonts and nice clip-art (no more scissors and glue or taping photocopied bits of paper to the window so the lettering can be traced). While you may be one of many teachers who have managed to integrate technology in your classroom this way, the digital revolution offers well-equipped classrooms the potential for much more.
One way to integrate technology in your classroom that is often overlooked is to use Microsoft PowerPoint or a similar display/presentation software package. These software packages can be used in two main ways. First of all, with a data projector, you are able to present your lesson using PowerPoint - a method that can smoothly combine text, diagrams, graphs, photos, video clips and more.
But one of the main reasons why you need to integrate technology in your classroom is to give students the skills that they will need in the world outside school: the world of work. It would be unthinkable these days if a person gave a presentation at a meeting using just a poster or an overhead projector and transparencies. He or she would probably use a PowerPoint presentation. Your students need to learn how to use these and present these effectively. So they should have the opportunity to make presentations to the class using this software.
Advantages of using PowerPoint software
PowerPoint is a multimedia package, allowing you to use sound and animations.
PowerPoint means that you can stay facing the class, unlike a chalkboard/whiteboard presentation, which requires you turn your back on a potentially rowdy class.
PowerPoint allows you to jump from screen/slide to slide easily so you can repeat points. This is harder to do with overhead transparencies.
PowerPoint is more "fun" than traditional presentations using whiteboards or OHPs - at least to today's generation of students.
However, you can't just let your presentation be a variation on "chalk and talk" where the students can switch off. All too often, when presented with an LCD, CRT or plasma screen, your students can switch into "TV mode", where they become passive viewers rather than the active, involved thinkers that you want them to be. This can happen no matter how you try to integrate technology in your classroom, whether you choose PowerPoint presentations, videos, DVDs or internet-based media.
No matter what medium you use when you integrate technology in your classroom, you have to take care in your planning, as planning your lesson correctly can help change your students from passive to active, and can avoid the dreaded "TV mode". PowerPoint presentations are good. Videos are good. But teachers are liable to make mistakes if they're not used to using them. If you want to avoid "The 7 Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make Using Video in the Classroom" (the same mistakes you can make with PowerPoint) and start experiencing the benefits of using video and other channels when you integrate technology in your classroom, your next step is to download a free copy of Teachers' Seven Biggest Mistakes right now.