Class members demonstrate best practices in creating and using PowerPoint

Before our class discussion on PowerPoint, I asked class members to email me a slides (or slides) that they had created for teaching class that they would be willing to share with the class when we discussed PowerPoint.

I had two volunteers.

After the class had discussed the pros and cons of using PowerPoint, I asked each volunteer to talk about the slide(s) — a little background on the course and how the slide was used.

Here’s the slide Chris Wilson shared from Public Relations Strategies and how he used the slide:

One of the theories that students learn about in the public relations strategy course is systems theory. This theory explains why public relations is necessary and how public relations can help organizations manage relationships with external publics.

This slide allows me to use the analogy of something that students are familiar with — a thermostat — to explain how organizational systems work.

1) A goal is established when someone sets the temperature they desire on the thermostat.

2) The thermostat triggers an output (e.g., either cold or hot air) based on the goal that has an effect on the temperature of the room.

3) The thermostat has a feedback mechanism (i.e., a thermometer) to tell the system when to start or stop its output (i.e., cold or hot air).

4) The thermostat makes the decision to start or stop based on a comparison between with the actual room temperature and the goal temperature.

5) Once a goal has been set, the thermostat continually monitors the environment to see when additional changes are necessary.

After thinking about these steps, students are able to see that organizations set goals that they cannot achieve without cooperation from external publics. Public relations become like the thermostat providing feedback and outputs that allow organizations to adapt to or influence their environments.

Chris led the class through part of this discussion as he shared the slide with them. Afterwards, we talked about how many minutes Chris spent on this one slide — probably 10 to 15 minutes of discussion. That helped illustrate why teachers need to realize that often one slide can promote a great deal of discussion.

Next was Kevin Hull, who created his PowerPoint presentation when he was teaching media at Topsail High School in Hampstead, N.C.

Here’s how Kevin explained his presentation and two of the slides:

One of the requirements of the first day of school at my high school was to review all the class rules.  Since this was done in each class, I wanted to make mine a little different and hopefully more fun.  

I used the Sherlock Holmes finger puppet to “demonstrate” the various rules.  While it was incredibly time consuming to make this PowerPoint (took almost half a day), it was worth it in the end.  

I now had a fun way to introduce the “Class Rules” in all my classes, and it was re-usable each semester.  

It also introduced the class to Sherlock, who would become an important “member” of the class.

The class was full of smiles as Kevin and Sherlock explained the school rules. At the end of his presentation, several in the class told Kevin that Sherlock must be a part of his teaching presentation in class. One student said that his presentation was more like a movie rather than PowerPoint.

Kevin said he’s found the newspaper template online and had spent part of a day shooting Sherlock in action. The result made reviewing the rules a fun activity — and everyone was paying attention.

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