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CASLL-L  November 2003

CASLL-L November 2003

Subject:

Re: Recommended reading

From:

Russ Hunt <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CASLL/Inkshed <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 18 Nov 2003 16:12:37 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

This was posted on the Teaching of Psychology list serve, and
then reposted to the POD list. I thought it was sort of neat,
and was reminded of it by Jamie's recommendation.

-- Russ


From: Monte Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: [PSYTEACH] power point is evil?
To: [log in to unmask]

Because of my personal interest in effect of using PowerPoint
slides in the college classroom and my interest in the impact of
adding clip art to these slides, I choose this topic for my
dissertation research (Clip Art or No Clip Art: A Lesson from
Cognitive Science for Social Work Educators, by Monte Butler,
University of Utah, 2003). I was also interested in the effect
of using electronic slides in the classroom on student
evaluations of their professor, the lecture topic, and their
personal learning, so I included measures on these variables as
well.

My study used 142 General Psychology students attending a 4-year
liberal arts college in northern California. Students were
randomly assigned one of three instructional lecture groups: (a)
a standard lecture that did not incorporate electronic slides
(control), (b) a lecture that incorporated the use of slides
that contained only text, or (c) a lecture that contained both
text and clip-art pictures that were cosmetic in relation to the
text in the slides. All lectures, including lectures not showing
slides to the students, were delivered using the slides, viewed
on a computer monitor, as a lecture guide. Student learning was
measured using five questions on a scheduled 2-day
postinstruction quiz and five new questions included on a final
examination.

Students in the three groups had statistically equal scores on 2-
day postinstruction questions, but they had statistically
different scores on 4-week postinstruction questions. Standard-
lecture group participants scored higher on 4-week questions
than participants in the lecture with text slides group, and
they scored higher than participants in the lecture with text
and clip-art slides group. The 4-week postinstruction scores for
the two groups that received slide-based lectures were
statistically equal.

Students in the three groups were statistically equal in their
evaluations of the professor, their personal interest in the
lecture topic, and how helpful the lecture was in helping them
understand the lecture topic.

What I think happened with PowerPoint is that many educators and
researchers assumed that the visual impact of PowerPoint would
help students learn -- I have to admit that this is what my
intuition told me. No matter what the reason was, slides made
their way into the classroom and decorative clip art made its
way onto many of these slides. This was, and I think still is,
the dominant, un-tested, state of the slide-enhanced classroom.
Researchers, perhaps due to their greater than average
technological sophistication, bypassed this common use of slides
and conducted research on more sophisticated applications of
slides in the classroom (e.g., the use of custom animated
graphics on slides), leaving the more common use of slides
untested.

My research reminded me that newer is not necessarily better,
even if it looks better. My finding was that PowerPoint slides
were an impediment to student knowledge retention. Not such a
great impediment that there couldn't be other enhancements or
consideration that might override or overrule this limitation,
but an impediment just the same. Personally, I am cutting back
on my use of slides in the classroom. I still use them, but in a
more selective manor.

For a more complete discussion of my findings, and plenty of
grist for the criticism mill, see my dissertation on
Dissertation Abstracts Online.

Monte Butler
Pacific Union College
Associate Professor of Social Work
(707) 965-6546
[log in to unmask]

St. Thomas University
http://www.StThomasU.ca/~hunt/

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