etc logo Queen's logo
 
 

How do I develop PowerPoint slides for teaching?

Here are 7 tips for creating PowerPoint slides that will help you teach effectively:

1.  Focus on your intent.

•    What goal or intent do you have in this teaching?
•    How will the slides help students learn?

2.  Create slides that are read easily.

We want students to be able to see and read our material easily.  This means following these conventions:

•    Focus on one main idea per slide
•    Use point form, where possible
•    Select approx. 3-6 lines per slide—leave room for “white space”
•    Use font size of at least 20 pt, of a popular font e.g. Verdana
•    Test for readability 
•    Don’t use all block capitals
•    Use graphics (appropriately) to illustrate key items
•    Use maximum of 3 colours, avoid vivid patterns in background,
•    Avoid using red or green fonts, (colour blindness)

•    Ensure that the text is in contrast to the background.
•    Some suggest that light print on a dark background draws the eyes to the light.
•    Use cartoons, animations, sound or transitions sparingly, where you are comfortable with them, and sparingly.  Often less is more.  
•    Limit boldface, italics and underlining
•    Use organizers such as titles, sub-titles or key questions to signal your audience where you are in your outline.  Be consistent with terminology from title to title, etc.
•    Ensure that diagrams are clear and easily read.  You may have to re-format or re-draw.
•    Some advise planning 2 minutes of talk, etc. per slide.
•    Check spelling and grammar. 

3.  Use PowerPoint slides to provide an outline.

•    Use slides to help organize the lecture, talk or discussion, and to help students follow the lecture.  
•    Provide an overview or outline on a slide at the beginning and consistently refer to it perhaps by replicating the slide every time you change concepts or topics or skills.  Show where you are in this new phase of the outline.
•    An outline is different from providing the objectives of your talk.

4.  Use slides for photos, diagrams, formulae, etc.

•    Use the slides to provide clear diagrams and accurate formulae or quotations.  
•    Avoid writing these on the board, and/or referring to them orally.  
•    Clearly drawn (or re-drawn) slides ensure that the students see them clearly and to have copies of them, and allow you to point to aspects of them.

5.  Reinforce oral points.

•    Use slides to reinforce the points that you are making orally.  
•    Provide visual pointers or cues to emphasize the learning, by matching the words and/or graphics on the screen to what participants are hearing.
•    Slides can help audience members to take notes.
•    Avoid putting all of your comments on slides.  

6.  Use slides to complement your talk.

•    Do not put everything you plan to say in your talk on the slides.
•    Use slides to pose questions and then move from PowerPoint presentation mode to discussion mode.

7.  Use slides suitable for work with larger groups.

•    Provide signals for discussion in the interactive parts of the lecture on PowerPoint slides
•    A slide could contain a provocative question for groups to consider
•    A slide could contain a statement that requires students to take a side
•    A slide could contain instructions for group work/partner activities
•    Blank the screen for discussions.