An Overabundance of Technology: Strategies for PowerPoint, Film, and Moodle

Saturday, January 8, 2011: 2:30 PM
New Hampshire Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Danielle Swiontek , Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, CA
Instructors today can choose among a host of tools, including PowerPoint, film, and online course management tools, to incorporate multimedia into their classrooms.  Rather than a lack of technology or inadequate capabilities, instructors today confront an overabundance of tools.  This paper will provide a number of technology management strategies to enable instructors to employ multimedia tools in targeted ways in the classroom.            PowerPoint has been blamed for boring presentations, space shuttle accidents, and students' lack of notetaking skills.  Nevertheless, research has shown that properly constructed PowerPoint slides can significantly aid student retention of information.[1]  This paper will review these techniques, particularly assertion headlines.  This paper will also recommend PowerPoint as a means of organizing classroom resources, including written and oral documents, film, and visual images.  By using PowerPoint as an organizational tool, instructors can avoid the limitations of sequential presentations--where slide order can constrain lectures, often limiting discussion, questions, and open-ended learning.            Similarly, film can be incorporated into lectures as a means of illustrating key points and prompting discussion.  This paper will recommend using film as the starting point, rather than as "filler" or as stand-alone classroom events.  By centering lectures around film clips, instructors can prompt student engagement and comprehension, especially for visual learners.            Lastly, this paper will consider Moodle's place as a supplement to the face-to-face classroom experience, particularly as a resource management tool.  As a supplement, Moodle can connect with students who prefer the online experience without losing those students who are less technology oriented.  In this capacity, Moodle can also help to bridge the "digital divide" by providing members of under-represented student populations with hands-on technology experience in a controlled environment.

[1] Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Writing, 3rd Edition (New York: Springer, 1996).

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