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The last of Maria's four-part series on using PowerPoint to improve students' learning. In this episode, she suggests a number of ways to use Powerpoint to conclude a lesson effectively.
Hello. This is Dr. Maria Yon from the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Welcome to Teaching and Learning Matters. This is the last of a four-part series on using PowerPoint to improve learning. This episode offers suggestions for using PowerPoint to end a class session.
It’s somewhat typical that class just ends with no conclusion or transition. We sometimes run out of time, teaching until the last minute in our rush to get it all in. The result is that we don’t conclude a lesson effectively. Or perhaps, we think that a conclusion is not important.
The end of a lesson is valuable. It’s when we summarize, assess student learning, remind them of homework, or answer questions. The few minutes we take to do so impacts students’ learning. It also provides a smoother transition for the next class session.
So, how might PowerPoint assist us in ending a class session? First, as we plan our lecture, we consciously think about our PowerPoint slides. Besides planning for the content, we think about when and how to use the slides to impact learning at this point. As I mentioned in the earlier episodes, the slides help us to slow down and purposefully think about how we might involve students in learning rather than simply plowing through the content.
Here are a few ideas. Use the last slide as a note check. This is a strategy in which the students are asked to partner with someone nearby to compare their notes. They are to focus on key information or identify misconceptions. The slide contains the following directions: “Take a few minutes to compare notes with your partner. Identify anything you are unclear about.”
Students are not giving each other their notes in this exercise, but working to fill in their gaps in understanding. This exercise also helps them with note-taking skills. Alternatively, the slide might direct them to summarize the most important information from the day’s lecture. It could be done in a few sentences or in 140 characters like Twitter. This exercise teaches them to be clear, focused, and succinct.
Instead, the slide might contain a short answer question or a set of objective items like true-false, multiple choice or fill in the black. These might be answered using a student response system. Or you might prefer to take up these short assessments and grade them yourself.
Now, one final example. A strategy called “Questions and Answer Pairs” helps student to focus on content, identify relevant questions, and assess their partner’s answer. The slide reads, “Take a minute to come up with one question. See if you can stump your partner.”
They pair up for this exercise. Each student takes a minute to prepare a question then poses it to their partner. Then roles are reversed. You might ask for a sampling of the questions. Highlight some of the particularly good questions and work with them on phrasing questions. Students become very good at formulating questions over time.
You might see that each of these activities helps students to focus on what was most important in the lecture and identify where their understandings are weak. It helps you to assess their learning as well so that you can reteach if necessary.
A question that comes up is finding the time to do a good conclusion to a lesson. First, none of these activities take long. Most can be done in about 10 minutes. Secondly, they are powerful exercises for reinforcing learning. Third, they provide a quick overall assessment of student learning.
I hope that you have found these episodes on the use of Powerpoint to Improve Learning helpful. Try some of the ideas out. I like them because the slides are reminders to slow down and remember to engage the students before class, at the beginning of class, during the lecture, and at the end of class. Thanks for tuning in and remember -- Teaching and Learning Matters.
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