Resurrected from the dead         

I am a geek, I am excited about technology and I love to use it. Teaching ICT even drives me to use technology more. I always tell myself I can’t teach technology without using technology. Apart from being passionate about technology, I am more interested in using technology to impact on the lifes of people I meet everyday.

As a matter of fact, after your undergraduate program in Nigeria, there is the compulsory national youth service. Under this scheme, I was posted as an ICT instructor to Jetters Montessori College, Jalingo, one of the best schools in Nigeria and one of the leading schools in ICT in the country. Wow, I was impressed with the level of technology infrastructure available in the school. However, the infrastructure were going into ruins because there were no capable hands to use the school e-learning facilities to teach the student.  

 Consequently, the current situation of the school, and my passion for change and technology sets in the temptation to avoid the traditional classroom teaching for an edtech classroom.

I started out by impressing my bosses when I created my scheme of work using Microsoft Word. It was not a big deal to me but my director made it an example for others. As a faithful servant, I continued by creating my lesson plan and note with Microsoft word. I couldn’t wait to start my first class with PowerPoint slides.

As a naive teacher, I had quickly forgotten that while in the University I would switch to playing either 2048 or candy crush in a boring PowerPoint class. I had powerful pictures, my PowerPoint was not wordy but something was wrong in the class. I noticed a number of students were distracted, even tried sleeping.

I guess I failed at using technology in my first class. I was tempted to quickly give up as I was advised by a fellow ICT teacher. I told myself No, technology is meant to help and it can work.

Thank God for Google, I did what I usually call counter search on “10 mistakes you could be doing with PowerPoint in class”. Then, I stumbled on the phrase “Death by PowerPoint”. Powerpoint is meant to power a class but it can kill a class. After the I did my online research, I went offline and did the most important research with my clients, my students of course.

I noticed the following:

  1. PowerPoint was killing the interactiveness of the class.
  2. The students were straining their eyes because of poor lightning in the classroom environment and the choice of background colour.
  3. Some students have eye defects.
  4. When you think your powerpoint is not wordy but is is actually wordy.
  5. Too much information on one slide: more than one equation or table.

I worked with my student in proferring these solutions to avoid death by PowerPoint and also resurrect.

  1. Enhance active learning by using a picture to start off a discussion in class.
  2. Follow the 6 by 6 principle strictly: not more than 6 words in a bulletpoint and not more than 6 bulletpoint in a slide.
  3. Use one word slide to start off a discussion
  4. Use animation to delay how much information the students get at once.
  5. Introduce varieties: try videos to start off a discussion or group discussion.
  6. I am looking at the Takashi method as well. Using only one word per slide.

Now my class has fully resurrected from death by PowerPoint. I also now appreciate why people spend 4 years in school studying education by the day. I can’t imagine how much of educational methods I will learn while trying to teach my students. I hope to conduct a research where I will compare my student performance in my course – where I use technology – to other courses – where traditional method is being used. I can’t shy away from the fact that I love teaching. What about you?

And please feel free to share your own teaching method. You can also tweet at me @tosinamuda.

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