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The PowerPoint Free Classroom: Passivity, Engagement, and Student Perceptions

Author Paul Donovan, Christina O'Connor
Abstract Student passivity has become a problem in higher education classrooms and much of it may be caused by lecture and presentation style. PowerPoint has become ubiquitous as a presentation tool and is used in millions of lectures and presentations daily. There is, however, controversy regarding its use and criticisms range from charges that it reduces the analytical quality of presentations to a claim that it inhibits presenter - audience interaction. The paper discusses both criticism and support for PowerPoint and concludes that the conflict emanates from the paradox of its use as a presentation medium within a social constructivist milieu. Accordingly, research was conducted into the effect of the removal of PowerPoint as a transmission medium and its replacement by a constructivist and performative mode of teaching in two undergraduate modules at an Irish university. 136 students were involved in the sample over a 12 week period they participated enthusiastically in a flipped classroom approach including peer and collaborative evaluation and the eschewal of PowerPoint as stated. Data following the exercise were collected using focus group and the survey method. Results showed a preference for the revised approach including perceived increased engagement on the part of students.
Keywords PowerPoint, Engagement, Students, Higher Education, Passivity
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2016
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