For over 30 years, Microsoft PowerPoint has been the dominant tool of choice for lecturers and teachers wishing to engage their students and impart their knowledge. In recent years, however, this dynamic has started to change. The booming field of educational technology has opened up new possibilities for teachers to narrow the current disconnect between ideas and the expression of those ideas.
One such software that addresses this problem is SlideBot.io.
SlideBot brings the types of presentations that you see at global conferences, such as TED and SXSW, into the classroom. If you look at the slides used in these types of presentations, they tend to have the same characteristics: they are simple, predominantly image-based, and contain minimal text. The simplicity of these presentations means that the students are not falling into the age-old trap of reading the slides instead of focusing on what the teacher/lecturer is saying. The most significant aspect of SlideBot as a teaching aid is that it creates these presentations for you automatically – and in seconds (not hours!)
Watch a video of it in action here.
But, why should we, as teachers, use imagery instead of text? Well, the answer is two-fold…
Firstly, studies have shown that the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than words – so by using image-based slides (as opposed to text-based slides) to convey your message, your students will already begin processing your content before you’ve even started to talk about it. This is a great way of creating deeper neural connections within those student brains.
Secondly, student retention of information is drastically increased if the student can find an emotional connection with your idea. A common misconception is that an emotional connection has to be an intensely positive or negative experience; but this misses the point. An emotional connection can be elicited simply through an image that makes the students laugh, or even a cartoon; it’s simply about striking some chord with them.
All this is to say that whilst visual-based learning is a tried-and-tested approach that is the foundation of a lot of teaching, the enhancements in technology now afford teachers a much greater ability to engage their students in new and exciting ways.
So, whether you enjoy creating presentations yourself or not, it is worth trying out some of these new tools (particularly if they are free to try, such as SlideBot), to see if they can help add a bit of spice to your next lesson.
Try it! Let me know what you think, by leaving a comment below.