Should teachers use Powerpoint in elementary school?

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nathanshields's profile pic

nathanshields | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Powerpoint can serve to make content more accessible to all students, maintain interest, incorporate relevant media, and improve engagement - if used properly.  We've all seen many more examples of dry and tedious lectures made actually worse by the distracting animations and transitions that some presenters include.  So the medium is there, students are ready to benefit, and the real question you should ask is, "What is the best way to engage young students in meaningful learning using Powerpoint?"

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trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Powerpoints are simply a tool in a teacher's toolbox. I wouldn't do it as a substitute for a great lesson, but, I would use it to review a topic, or to help students visualize a concept I am teaching. Students learn best by doing, and watching powerpoints is a passive activity unless there are some type of questions at the end for students to work on or if notes are being taken during the presentation.

dmcgillem's profile pic

dmcgillem | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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I agree with post number 11 - I was waiting for "the catch," whatever it may have been, that led to this question.  Powerpoint has been such a standard and works so well with multiple contents, that I definitely feel it has a purpose.  A good alternative for student creations, though (if that's where your question was heading?) is a glog.  You can go to www.glogster.com and create free teacher/student accounts.  It is less over-whelming, I think, than creating a powerpoint presentation from scratch.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I am surprised this is even being asked - of course they should! PowerPoint and other visual technologies such as those suggested by other posters here are powerful teaching tools when they are used correctly. Students learn through a variety of different modalities (visual, auditory, hands-on, etc.), so a good teacher should be teaching in a way that reaches as many of those modes as possible.

 

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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PowerPoint is a powerful tool when used correctly; I used it in college for presentations, and I barely scratched the surface of what it could do. For me, the most useful thing about it was essentially having my speaking notes right there on the screen; I could refer to them and expand on them without constantly looking down (I had to look back, of course, but I had to do that anyway to point!).

Teachers should use every tool at their disposal to educate children, especially today when children are more distracted than ever. It is a useful tool and one that makes presentations very efficient once you are used to the function. It is also easier to look professional vs. copied handouts or straight lectures.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Absolutely. Per the curriculum requirements, teachers need to be aware of many different technologies usable in the classroom. Outside of that, the use of PowerPoint is a different method by which teachers can use to break up the monotony of simply lectures. Visual learners benefit from teaching of this kind.

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I can't think of any valid reason to not use Power Point or any other means of technology that is being appropriately applied to the subject matter and created in an age-appropriate manner. Students of any age in today's culture are very visually oriented and are accustomed to rapidly changing imagery - the result of too much time in front of television and video games, in my opinion, but that's the reality we have to deal with. Any tool that will enhance a teacher's efforts to capture and utilize those tendencies for the purpose of furthering student engagement, acquisition, application and retention of knowledge should be used!

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Absolutely use Power Point. As a previous poster mentioned, as long as this is not the sole means of instruction, why not use available technology? Online presentation formats such as Prezi, offer teachers more options for working, saving, and sharing their presentations. Online programs, make it possible to access teacher work from almost anywhere.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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You would have to gear the powerpoints towards elementary skills and vocabulary, but absolutely.  Kids learn visually more now than ever before, and teaching them computer skills at a young age is critical.  Kids learn it as easily as they learn a new language, soaking it up like a sponge.  And it takes very little motor skills to operate a mouse or a keyboard.  It has to be structured correctly, with guided practice, but powerpoints are fine for elementary kids.

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I cannot think of any good reason not to use available technology in any age classroom as long as there is a solid, pedagogical reason for it. PowerPoint and Smartboard presentations which can be saved and modified from year to year are a valuable tool for teachers AND students. PowerPoint in particular is good for creating visuals and saving downloads in a logical place for use during various units. I love to have my video links embedded into the PowerPoint so I don't have to try and recreate them each year!

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I agree with the two above points. As long as the content is good powerpoint could be a great tool. To show images make great sense to younger students who might learn better through visual aids. The key point is to keep in mind is that powerpoint is a tool. So, if the tool is used well, it can be great. If a tool is used not well, then it can be harmful.

Also it might be important to keep in mind that certain subjects lend themselves better to powerpoint, such as history.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Absolutely! However, keep in mind that PowerPoint, as a program, has been replaced in the elementary school level by the Smart Software, which offers a much more interactive and advanced package with activities quite similar to the ones used with PowerPoint. The Smart software is used with Smartboards, whose use is considered to be a best practice for 21st century teaching and learning. This being said, it basically means that the PowerPoint software is slowly becoming old-fashioned, so to speak. It clearly will be replaced in its entirety in a very near future.

However, if the use of Powerpoint has just been implemented in a school district (which would be a shocking thing to do in times when technology should be way more advanced), then it can be a great help for both teachers and students.

For teachers, PowerPoint provides the best way to enrich and enhance instruction because it is more visual and organized, as well as concrete, than mere teacher-made materials and posters.

PowerPoint presentations made by children encourage them to organize their thoughts and ideas. They can also use the slide layouts to create or format graphic organizers that can help them retain information.

So, there is definitely an advantage in the use of PowerPoint and it is definitely meant to benefit students and teachers alike.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As long as they're not simply using PowerPoint to provide slides of lecture notes, then it does make sense for them to use it.  Powerpoint can be very helpful since you can do things like showing pictures to illustrate what you are talking about.  This might make even more sense in elementary school since such students have shorter attention spans and might need the diversions and variety of ways of conveying information even more than older students.

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crystaltu001 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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They should because for kids at a young age, they like being entertained. So teachers should use power points in elementary schools to keep the kids from getting bored because kids at that age like being entertained.

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melissa1106 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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I believe power points would be effective for elementary school as long as they are used correctly. They should not be crowded with words or be in a confusing format for lectures. They should have basic words and pictures. They can be a great supplement to learning from the traditional textbook.

arrellbelle's profile pic

arrellbelle | Student, College Sophomore | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Powerpoint should be used for any age group because it helps engage the student's minds regardless. I've mentioned this before, but students come in different learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. So if you teach students at a younger age with powerpoint, it'll help students who fall into those 3 categories because you have to talk out loud when presenting the material, there are pictures or words readily available at your disposal, and by changing the slides or making powerpoint a learning game, you'll be helping those who are learning kinesthetically. 

ilovemusic1225's profile pic

ilovemusic1225 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

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I believe that young children are very visual so using powerpoint helps them to envision the topic. Also, you can add cute pictures and cool effects to keep the kids interested. Powerpoint gives teachers an opportunity to use graphics, videos, sound effects, ect to keep the lessons going and interesting. When I was in elementary school, I used to love when teachers would assign powerpoint assignments because I could show my creative side and use all sorts of effects. In conclusion, I believe that using powerpoint in elementary schools is beneficial and logical.

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loraaa | Student | (Level 2) Valedictorian

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I support this is>>>>there is definitely an advantage in the use of PowerPoint and it is definitely meant to benefit students and teachers alike.

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teacherlady | eNotes Newbie

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The resources used in your classroom are up to you as a teacher, but it is prudent to consider all of the learning styles represented in your classroom. PowerPoint presentations can be very helpful to visual learners, as well as a great tool to help keep teachers on track as they progress through their lessons. As with any other resource, using it exclusively will not reach as many of your students, but it can be a very valuable addition to your lessons. 

ik9744's profile pic

ik9744 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Yes, It's better to have then not. They love to see pictures that help them memorize. Put in a cartoon and they be enjoyed.

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zerokloppy | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

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Kids like visuals, so I think Powerpoints can work well for them.  However, presentations should be kept short, as children also tend to have short attention spans.

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