PowerPoint Design Guidelines

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Introduction Language teachers make use of images because they find them effective (Stevick, 1986). Research shows that the visual is the strongest of the senses (Medina, 2008) and supports the use of visual support for instruction. Research further indicates the visual element can contribute considerably to retention and transfer in learning (Mayer, 2005). PowerPoint or other similar programs like Endnote and Impact, is a software application for making slide shows that offers teachers the capability to make lessons visually powerful. Since one key to a good lesson is gaining and maintaining learner attention, we must use PowerPoint effectively. In making lessons more visual, PowerPoint provides us with several capabilities; we can use photos, clip art, fonts, font art, charts, graphs, and we can animate these features along with inserting videos. Teachers may hesitate to use the software because they think mastery will involve making use of many of the application's sophisticated features. With all these possibilities available, the challenge lies in how best to use them. A bare bones approach (Morgan, 2008), however, seems to be more effective for learning and retention (Kosslyn, 2007). In order to design more effective lessons, four basic guidelines should be considered: size, contrast, relevance, and predictability. Simplicity directs the choices we make in following these guidelines. However, we should not confuse simplicity with simple. Very complex ideas may be presented through carefully thought out simple designs. We use these simple designs creatively to maintain attention through PowerPoint slide shows that help us teach more effectively. Size The first guideline, size, guides the construction... ... middle of paper ... ... Heath, C. & Heath, D. (2007). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York: Random House. Kosslyn, Stephen M. (2007). Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mayer, Richard E. (2005) "Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning". p. 31-48, In The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning. (ed. Richard E. Meyer). New York: Cambridge University Press. Morgan, M. (2008). ESL Students See the Point of PowerPoint. Essential Teacher: Compleat Links. 5 (1). Retrieved July 15, 2009 from http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=319&DID=10652 Stevick, E. (1986). Images and Options in the Language Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Williams, R. (2008). The Non-Designer's Design Book. 3rd edition. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press.

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