Death by PowerPoint

I got to thinking about my own project for this course, having read Zlatka Dyankova's final project report. She teaches English at Tryana Private High School of Languages and IT in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria and her goal was to plan and conduct action research, which involves a change related to technology use in your classroom.

One of her basic aims was to use new technological tools (a sports WebQuest) to activate the students in reading and writing, make them more active in communicating and sharing opinions and to promoting motivation.

Dyankova's WebQuest was colorful, creative and full of engaging ideas, but in the end students were required to produce a PowerPoint presentation of their discoveries. At this point, I started thinking about my own history class WebQuests and how much more fun it was to involve the students in the process of creating a blog, taking photographs to illustrate posts and publishing blog posts for OUR blog. They also published prezis (Prezi.com) of their own "lectures," commented teachers' blog posts which were based on lectures in class, commented each others' blog posts and gave feedback online: History in English: Freedom Struggles Around the World.

PowerPoints are still very popular in schools and taught by many teachers. I fail to see why. PowerPoint is so old school. Let me explain why.

Student autonomy is the first incentive to any successful project and that can only be achieved by actively involving and encouraging students to create new content for the web. In the process they learn to censor themselves, think about copyrights and netiquette, practice constructive criticism and produce something they can call their own and be proud of for the world to enjoy.

Our course goes by the name interactive webskills. Interaction is the key element of social media. If a teacher merely creates something that has already been chewed up and processed FOR the students, they have no emotional ties to the web project and are therefore less motivated. Interaction on the web is achieved by commenting tools which are available when using blogs, Facebook, discussion forums, prezis, YouTube, collaborative mind maps etc. PowerPoint is not a webtool, unless it is published in a blog post, and is therefore far from interactive.

For my final project, I promise to involve my students in the entire process and give them the chance to show me the full scale of their skills on the interactive world wide web. Every teacher should do the same. You might be amazed!

I often show this video to my students before they start making their presentations and just for laughs:

And here is a sweded version of Harry Potter that my students created for Drama in English. We had so much fun and the video is amazing. You can read the feedback for the course on our blog, Sweet sweded!:

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