PowerPoint in the Classroom.
Voss D, Keefe DD, Willett JD, Lanius C, McDonald K
Cell Biology Education (2004)
Category: teaching ¤ Added: Oct 12, 2004 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
Points of View (POV) addresses issues faced within life science education. Cell Biology Education has launched the POV feature to present two or more opinions published in tandem on a common topic. We consider POVs to be "Op-Ed" pieces designed to stimulate thought and dialog on significant educational issues. Each author has the opportunity to revise a POV after reading drafts of the other POVs. In this issue, we ask the question, "Is PowerPoint the best instructional medium to use in your class?" Everyone seems to have an opinion on Microsoft, but the intellectual merits of using PowerPoint (or similar software) is a growing question as states and institutions put more and more money into information technology and distance learning. Four POVs are presented: 1) David Keefe and James Willett provide their case why PowerPoint is an ideal teaching software. Keefe is an educational researcher at the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International. Willett is a professor at George Mason University in the Departments of Microbial and Molecular Bioscience; as well as Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. 2) Kim McDonald highlights the causes of PowerPointlessness, a term which indicates the frequent use of PowerPoint as a crutch rather than a tool. She is a Bioscience Educator at the Shodor Education Foundation, Inc. 3) Diana Voss asks readers if PowerPoint is really necessary to present the material effectively or not. Voss is a Instructional Computing Support Specialist at SUNY Stony Brook. 4) Cynthia Lanius takes a light-hearted approach to ask whether PowerPoint is a technological improvement or just a change of pace for teacher and student presentations. Lanius is a Technology Integration Specialist in the Sinton (Texas) Independent School District. The authors span the range of teaching experiences and settings from which they bring different points of view to the debate. Readers are encouraged to participate in the online discussion forum hosted by CBE at www.cellbioed. org/discussion/public/main.cfm and/or contact the authors directly.