‘It’s PowerPoint, Jim, but not as we know it’

An alternative approach to using PowerPoint by Robert Griffin, PGCE Programme Leader for Art & Design

It is estimated that over 30 million PowerPoint presentations are delivered daily. Microsoft’s PowerPoint software is still the number 1 presentation programme across the globe. Within the domain of education, the teaching profession relies heavily on its ‘presentation’ capability and pupils readily use PowerPoint to showcase a classroom project etc. Invariably, these presentations follow a very linear approach with text and photos appearing in a formulaic manner to reveal the author’s message. If there’s one subject area that’s likely to break the rule of convention, then it’s art. Last year I was juggling three problems at the same time – I was seeking a creative solution to these questions:

  • How can I get student teachers to use ICT in school art departments?
  • How can this be achieved without a cost implication?
  • How can I help student teachers meet the challenges of the new curriculum e.g. DCF

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With a degree of experimentation, it dawned upon me that PowerPoint could be used to address these issues by creatively exploiting its ‘art’ tools and custom animation facility at little or no cost.

The Adobe software product offering is expensive and many schools cannot afford such investment. Tablets, particularly iPads are available for use in schools but the landscape remains patchy in terms of those schools that have and those that don’t.

So, when looking at the questions I posed earlier, the plan was to create an approach that would cater for the worst-case scenario – an art department without any bespoke ICT facilities but bookable access to a room with PCs.

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It is often the simple ideas that work best. It struck me that PowerPoint has a range of mark making free-hand drawing tools, prescribed ‘shape’ tools with editing ‘points’ capability , flexible colour tools, and a range of effects covering, for example, shadows and transparencies. Added to this mix is an animation capability with numerous effects for showing time based ‘movement’.

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Top tips for your interview!

Here are some top tips from three PGCE Secondary student teachers who have managed to secure teaching posts recently:

  • Don’t try to teach too much content in your interview lesson. The purpose of the lesson is to check that 1) you know your stuff, 2) you can be engaging the classroom and 3) you understand how to structure a lesson.
  • If you get a chance, have a wander around the school and/or chat to staff. Find out about the school/department’s approach to teaching and organisation in general. Who is responsible for what? You can tell a lot about a school’s priorities by how its staff are organised.
  • One question I didn’t prepare an answer for was: Aside from your classroom work, what else can you bring to the school. I should have because my answer was a lot of waffle!
  • Try to learn at least a few names during your interview lesson.
  • They will ask you to reflect on your lesson. I was veryblunt and didn’t try to sugar coat the parts of my lesson that could be improved. They seemed to appreciate this.
  • Try to enjoy it and be yourself! Smile, be enthusiastic and be yourself! There is no point pretending to be someone you are not! Therefore teach the lesson to your style as that will make you feel more comfortable. It is all about being natural.
  • Engage with the pupils and staff at all times… even if on a school tour or in the canteen etc… I had a tour with other interviewees by two pupils whose opinions of us were sought afterwards.

Continue reading “Top tips for your interview!”