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Student Powered Powerpoint Parameters

Written by Michael Cain
November 12, 2010

Students are eager to begin working on Powerpoints and they love to give their presentations. They need clearly defined expectations, a tangible list of expectations with minimum guidelines, to view before they get started, and to review as they continue working. We use the Direct Explicit Instruction model to convey objectives and requirements for every Powerpoint. Here they are:

  • Eight slides, student created text on every slide
  • Design for readability, including headings and subheadings 
  • One graphical illustration directly related to the topic: a chart, a graph, a list, with caption(s)
  • Bibliography with three (or more) bibliographic resources, one or more not web-based
  • Five Minute Oral presentation

 We developed a standard rubric for oral presentations. Two grades are earned in this project: one each for Powerpoint and for presentation. In order to exceed basic expectations and create truly excellent work, we have found useful the following tips, tricks and pointers for educators of elementary students:

  • Keyboarding is a requisite skill
  • Emphasize the importance of the text over the graphics
  • Avoid misinformation and plagiarism at all costs 
  • Require easily readable fonts: size 12 or 14, Ariel and Times Standard  
  • Background pictures that interfere with readability are unacceptable
  • Use of headings and bulleted lists to create an easy visual cue for the oral presentation
  • Using the slide as a prompt to address the audience
  • Oral presentation is not reading to the class what is written on the slide
  • Require students to demonstrate learning on the topic through both writing and oral expression 

A good way to avoid blatant plagiarism from beginning Powerpointers is to require information to be written on 3×5 cards prior to building the Powerpoint. This is a formal presentation where the speaker is required to make eye contact with the audience, voice projection and varied intonation, and good posture. A good audience will also need to practice good listening skills and appropriate responses to the speaker.

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