In this day in age, various methods are followed or chosen to teach. The age of technology has allowed an expansion of choices. The use of Windows Power Point has become infectious in every college classroom in the nation. I cannot say for sure if this has taken place in high school classrooms or not, but being in the last quarter of my second associates degree, I have witnessed a tremendous growth in the use of this tool. Obviously, there are classes that cannot use Power Point presentations because the class focuses on a hands-on skill. Basic courses, however, are a breading ground for this type of teaching. When we look at it closer, is using Power Point presentations more beneficial to the students? Is it more beneficial to the professor? What has been the effect of these on the quality of the information given and retained?
As I am sitting in class, I should obviously be listening to the professor. I, however, cannot follow anything being talked about. Why is this? I am thinking that what is being done is the same thing I could do in the comfort of my own home. It honestly wouldn’t be any different. I’m editing my blog instead of placing my attention on the subject at hand. People are in so many ways like dogs…labs especially. “Ooooh..shiny bubble!” Better yet, “Squirrel!” We sit down with the full intention of learning something. Anything! What about that news story I heard something about this morning? What happened to the people? What about that new kitchen gadget I saw at Williams-Sonoma the other day? What new movie has Colton Ford been in? The last question would be more likely on my computer. I’m guilty.
By saying that, people naturally become preoccupied if their brains aren’t intrigued. Give my brain something to think about. This solely has to do with the individual professor. I am definitely not saying this pertains to every teacher or professor out there. Some are the best teachers in creation and teach hundreds of people things a year. Those I tip my hat to. This pertains to those professors who have their names on a class because they have to teach something or not get paid. These generally don’t have the slightest interest or concern that anyone takes a shred of information from their instruction. You might be asking where I am going with this. I’m getting there as I run around, chasing my squirrel.
I judge my professors on their knowledge of the course. This doesn’t mean that the night before class, they sat down and read the chapter they are teaching the next day. This means that when they stand before the class, they aren’t stumbling over their feet. They aren’t reading word for word from a presentation on the screen. These professors engage the students in meaningful conversation in the subject at hand. They want to know what the students have understood on their own, filling in the blanks when a question arises. I’ve had the pleasure of having many of these teachers through my education. From personal experience, the professors I have had for core courses were very knowledgeable in their fields. I’ve had department heads and adjuncts who worked in the field for years and have an extensive amount of experience. I’ve also had professors who have relied on Power Point presentations to fill in their gaps of understanding.
Once again, before I get a mob running after me, there are teachers/professors that use Power Point to relay information from their personal notes. That is wonderful! The tools are placed before you to use. Take full advantage of the tools you are provided or have access. I commend people that do this. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, along with their programmers, came up with these programs to make our lives a bit easier. What I don’t like for professors to do is use the presentations provided by the publishers of the books used for that subject. I want to see what the individual professor knows about their subject and the students who pay to take that class deserve to know their instructor is confident in their skill.
I could go on and on with this, but in some way, I am using this to vent. As you can tell, I am sitting in one of those classes where I feel my time is being wasted. More importantly, I feel that my money was wasted on a class I have to complete. My main point in this…present yourself in class as a knowledgeable person in the subject you are teaching. If you rely totally on information given to you, you’re going to appear like a kindergarten teacher reading to his/her class. Use your own experience. Bring in notes you have created through the years. Talk about experiences you have been a part of that would get a point across to the students.
Man, I should have become a teacher after high school instead of thinking I wanted to be a computer technician!