Comics

I love comics. They’re fun, to the point and a little sassy. This week, I found two that I’d like to share with you.

The first one is of a man in a confessional and the priest thinking, "Oh, This is SO going in my blog." This happened to me today when I was talking to this gentleman at the service station. My car started smoking, figured I better get it checked before it explodes. I was stuck there without a book or computer, which is not a good thing. Anyway, this older gentleman, a retired teacher from Orange County, and I were talking about the outsourcing of American jobs and it made me think of the book, "The World Is Flat" and all sorts of things I’d love to put into a blog post. The comic is "Off the Mark" and was posted on September 8, 2006. The book is an excellent read and may be more motivating than any other educational professional book you’ll read this year.

But before my car started smoking I was at a meeting with the Social Studies Leaders from the different districts. Ladies and gentlemen – find out if your rep was there and get the information from them quickly on the great projects involving We The People and more. Some fantastic professional development opportunities for teachers! Anyway, I shared unitedstreaming with them, bragged about how the teachers are using the videos in creating ways – including PowerPoint. Well one leader said that their district uses a lot of PowerPoint to the point where the point is lost. I was asked to come to the district and share ways of making PowerPoints that are interactive or just more interesting. Then I read FoxTrot where the father complained about all the presentations. Oh, just go read the comic from September 8. It’s much better than my explanation.

My point in sharing this with you is – well for the blogging, I just thought it was cute. The FoxTrot though had more of a point. Kids may think it’s cool to make a PowerPoint, but be careful that your PowerPoints have enough jazz to them so they don’t make the kids want to scream. Make sure you add some unitedstreaming video clips, images, sound effects (3,000 sound bytes and counting), and clipart to really jazz up your presentations. (Makes me think of Daniel and Jeff’s project from Regional.)

And then, don’t forget to share with the rest of us by uploading the document to the resource section of the Discovery Educator Network.

Comments

  1. Michele Futch

    The Powerpoint Comic is so true! Powerpoint has lost its pizazz, in my opinion. But, I guess I am fortunate enough to know there are other technological ways to present material! Thanks DEN and United Streaming!

  2. Nathan Guteras

    The more ways we can reach the learning styles of our diverse students the better. United Streaming helps us gain their attention as well as instruct them to develop their mind to explore new possibilities.A picture is still worth a thousand words to the ESE and ESOL students.

  3. Cheryl Woolwine

    Powerpoint is only one way to present information and how we use powerpoint is cruicial – just think of ourselves how many of us go to training and conferences where they present the information with a powerpoint and then procedue to read it to us – WOW BORING! I just think back to Jeff and Daniel’s presentation – never boring no matter how often I see it.

  4. Tom Turner

    To go along with your ‘comic’ theme Danielle. Kay T. showed us at Bartow last year some comic stripping software that she came across. I’ve not had the luxury of using it yet, but the examples that she showed off to us were quite cool.

    I’m not a big believer in the PowerPoint phenomena. Yes I will use it, but moreso in a different light. I recently uploaded a powerpoint that I used where the students had to give a caption to an images and clips based on the human/environment interaction theme.

  5. Danielle Abernethy

    Visions Technology has a great Comic Strip Creator for many themes. I use to have American History, a science one, and a few others. I left them behind for Cheryl and another teacher to make use of. Easy to use and fun. A great way to see if they really got it since Comics are so straight forward and concise and they are fun.
    I’ll see if I can get one to give away. And don’t forget, you can always use Bubblr’ (http://www.pimpampum.net/bubblr/)to create your own with images. I just wouldn’t take students on the site for searching. Some of those comics are not as innocent. :-)

  6. Michele Futch

    I totally agree with Cheryl. Powerpoint is just one way. It is great as a tool. But, if that is all you use then it gets boring, especially when they read it to you for part of the lecture too.

    I am 100% sure every Inservice I have attended over the past year or two has done exactly that, powerpoint and read it to the audience! I wish some of those presenters could/would read our Blog to see how bored we are with that concept. If you can bore me with that, I know my Middle School students would be bored to death with that in a hurry!!!

  7. Michele Futch

    Of course, the DEN Professional Devevlopment never does that. YEAH!!!

  8. Debra Gastelum

    The truth of the matter is, any form of technology use can and will be boring if used for the sake of using it. We’ve got to keep it fresh and new if we’re going to reach our students.

    There’s nothing I hate worse than sitting through a powerpoint that merely shows EXACTLY what the speaker is saying.

    I love powerpoint, but for me it’s used to enhance my instruction, not remind me of what I need to say.

  9. Debra Gastelum

    Maybe I need to share a “Aiming for a 6″ writing powerpoint. It has a ton of pizazz. (-:

  10. Dale Basler

    “I love powerpoint, but for me it’s used to enhance my instruction, not remind me of what I need to say.”

    Debra, this is so true.

    The book is a little dated now but Clifford Stoll writes about this in his book title, “High Tech Heretic.”

    Here is an excerpt from the chapter title The Plague of PowerPoint:

    “Want to make a splash at your next public talk? Know your material so well that you can speak off the cuff, without computer, laser pointer, or video projector. Scribble your important points on a chalkboard and emphasize them with your voice. Face your audience, not that computer monitor.
    Throw out that tired clipart and the cliches about the explosion of technology, the challenge of the future, and the crisis in education. Let me hear your voice, not a pre-programmed sound effect. Show me your ideas, not someone else’s template.”

    Link to the whole chapter:
    http://tinyurl.com/z4n4a

    Link to the whole book:
    http://tinyurl.com/egb8a

  11. Alex Gastelum

    Hi Danielle,

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to begin posting but I have an aversion to blogs and forums because I run both on our school web site and I don’t very well tolerate trolls, spammers, and rank junkies that plague such online communities.

    As far as people using PowerPoint as a teleprompter, that’s not going to end anytime soon. It’s kinda sad, but many people who use PowerPoint know enough to make it function but don’t know enough to add video or time the presentation properly to accommodate any extras that they might put into it.

    This year we had one of the biggest turnovers at our school with sixteen new people replacing all of the people that left. Many of those sixteen new people are, what I would call, computer illiterate. How do I know this? Well, I teach Applied Technology but I also the happen to be the Technology Coordinator for our school. I get to install their computers because apparently it’s too difficult to plug in the color coordinated cords into the back of the computer, never mind plugging it into the wall. God forbid the computer may wake up and attack them if they did it wrong. While I’m doing this I also get to hear references to how the students know more about computers than they do. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve had a teacher confess to me that they don’t know a thing about computers, I would no longer be a teacher! Those people will usually want to learn how to use their computers, but they are only interested in knowing how to use their grade program and use their email. If they take a workshop to learn PowerPoint because they need the in-service points or because it was strongly recommended, they will only learn enough to… Dun, Dun, Dunnnnnn! make cue cards for whatever they are going to be discussing in class.

    I say all this to say that there are many different kinds of people in the education system. Some of those will never do much on the computer frankly because they simply are not interested. Computers just don’t do it for them. Me, however, and many of the people posting on this blog probably can no longer live without a computer. (At least not for very long. LOL!) Until there’s something better, we’re going to have to put up with the PowerPoint Teleprompters, but let that be our incentive to do better. We’re the ones who put the pizzazz in PowerPoint. We have to hit these kids where they live. We have to dazzle them with what we know. United Streaming is another tool that we add to our repertoire of teaching tools that we keep in our bag of tricks. We can’t change those that don’t want to improve upon their skills, but we can hone our own so that we’ll be the ones with the parental requests for their children to be in our classrooms.

  12. Danielle Abernethy

    So true Alex. One of the things DEN does is teaches you how to add some pizazz or power back in your PowerPoints with video, interaction and more. It’s not just a cue card, but a true springboard for your lesson.

    Think back everyone. How many of you had teachers that used the old filmstrip projector or slides? I have a great project to share with anyone who’d like to see it when I’m in town. But it’s a great reminder of what NOT to make your presentations.

    Dale – interesting comments. You’re new here. Can you give us some feedback/insight as to who you are?

  13. Debra Gastelum

    Dale,

    Thanks for the wonderful comments. It’s nice to know there are others who see it the same way I do.

    The links are great! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Cheryl Woolwine

    Even with all these negative comments on powerpoint it is an easy program to get our computer illiterate teachers on board with technology, and maybe just one of them will take off with it. It is still better than nothing, and a good starting point.

  15. Cheryl Woolwine

    I am using Ovation to help enhance my powerpoints alittle. When you set ovation up it has an area for what you want to say different from the screen (cue cards) that no one else sees. This encourages the use of the slides for things other than what you are going to say. It also has more active screens.

  16. Alex Gastelum

    I hope nobody misinterpreted my post. I’m not down on PowerPoint. I love PowerPoint, in fact I teach it to my students. Their favorite part is adding music to their presentation. They love to search for midi files to put into their presentations and get a kick out of listening to their favorites songs played by what sounds like a Casio tone keyboard. I’m just agreeing with the fact that so many people misuse it. Here’s a link to a comic that I think everyone will get a kick out of because I think we’ve all been in this situation.

    http://vanrees.org/research/papers/presentations/powerpoint_poisoning.gif/image_view_fullscreen

  17. Danielle Abernethy

    Oh Alex,
    I don’t think we misunderstood. I think we all feel the same way. It’s very easy to abuse PowerPoint, but yet it can be a very powerful tool in the classroom – especially if the students are creating one. Check out unitedstreaming’s new audio files. I did just a blank search for all audio files out of curiosity. There are LOTS of sound effects!
    Debra, have you uploaded the presentation you were talking about to the DEN resources? These are the types of things we need!
    Hey other DEN Superstars – guess what? In case you missed thier common last name – Alex and Debra are a husband and wife team from Putnam County. Welcome to DEN!

  18. Mary Z. Cox

    I love Powerpoint. So do the teachers and kids–but I admit that I spent a great deal of time searching and asking how to set up things like automatic timing and how to add music files that won’t cut off after the first slide etc. These features are not located in a very intuitive spot on the menus and every year I kind of have to review to remember where everything is on the Powerpoint. :)
    One thing that I have found that is easy and fun to do and captures teacher’s interest in how to use Powerpoint is to use it like a photo slide show of a school event (maybe a pep rally or open house) and add music while it automatically runs.
    For some reason, folks starting out on Powerpoint tend to put on lots of text–but the visual mediums with very limited text have a more lasting impact.
    Best wishes,
    Mary Z. Cox
    ps. How do you post images and sound to this comment blog–I don’t see any icons to embed them–but I see them on the blog! Help! help! I need visuals–not just text!

  19. Danielle Abernethy

    I’m the only one who can post images. Sorry. But if you want to send me images and they relate to a blog post, I’ll be glad to use them.

  20. Bethany Rosenhack

    I love power point. I actually teach my kids to use it as well and present 1 group project. Lucky for me I had a teacher who was a techno guru and she taught us how to use power point and digital stories and started my love for technology.

  21. Debbie Bohanan

    There is a great book on Visual Literacy by Lynell Burmark. Check out the link below for more information. She talks about the use of images in presentations and not just reading from your slides. If you are attending FETC this year, she is one of the concurrent sessions. There is a CD that comes with the book too.
    http://www.lynellburmark.org/p_visualliteracyebook.asp

  22. Debbie Bohanan

    The World is Flat is a great book! The author tells you that most of the phone calls you receive in the evening have been outsourced to India. They are trained to try and speak with an accent that is similar to the area they are calling. The book also says they are required to tell you where they are located if you ask. I received a call at school the other day and it was obvious they were from India. I asked where he was calling from and he told me the name of the company. I told him, I knew who he was calling for but I wanted to know where he was sitting at that moment in time. He was in the capital of India. Then I asked him what accent he was trying to use. He didn’t tell me it was an American accent, instead he said “I am trying to talk like you.” It’s fun to turn the tables and ask them questions.

  23. Debbie Bohanan

    If you are using Powerpoint presentations in your classrooms or workshops, you need to get a Keystone presenter that allows you to remotely control your slides. They are wonderful.

  24. Danielle Abernethy

    I have a video of Lynell Burmark and met her at T+L2 last year at a DEN Dinner. Fascinating woman! If anyone wants to borrow the video, let me know.
    I believe the presenter is one that Karen’s giving away with this contest. However —- everyone notice how Michele and Debbie respond, read more comments, respond again? Maximum of 3 comments to a post to gain the #1 in comments area. :-)

  25. Angel Spurling

    I have to agree with Michele power point can be boring if it usead as speaker notes instead of a presentation enforcer! However I have taught several of my learning challenged students how to use power point and it is a real winner in this area! The kids love it and it holds their attention while they learn !

  26. Ana McMoran

    Students love PwPt though here is ANother great source for students to use “COMIC BOOK”, great way to help students express their ideas and knowledge through other kinds of media. Check the site at PlanetWidegames. they have a free download, if purchased is $20= great tool.

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