Power Point gets a bad rap, I think.
True, there are other tools out there that can make cooler, more visually interesting and stimulating presentations. In fact, I’m using (Prezi for an upocoming one on using video). And true, it is overused and overdone far to regularly. (Watch this if you don’t know what I mean.)
But it is an amazing tool for classroom management.
Put vocab up so you can flip through the words quickly. Put instructions up so you can go to the next step quickly. Have reading samples to go with guided questions up in a snap.
In middle school (and in other grades, I hear), students are distracted easily. With directions posted on the projector-directions without a cool picture taking up the whole screen or a dancing clip art man-directions that are stated simply and plainly and with key words bolded are invaluable. When the distracted kid loses his place, there is a cue right in front of him to remind him what to do.
Plus, it’s easy to edit on the fly. Step 2 not written clearly enough for period 2, hit escape and retype it. You realize kids may need a visual to understand the text, put one in and it’s ready for not just that period, but every period after it.
I know there’s nothing new here, but I think we get stuck thinking of tools only in their intended use and not how they can be adapted to the need. I rarely use PowerPoint for presentations, but I use if often to guide people through a demonstration. Sometimes it’s just the right tool for the job.
PS. If you don’t have office, check out Open Office. Not as cool, but free and effective!