What is Slideshare?
OK, allow me to say in advance: this tool has far more potential than you will even realize at first.
Give this one a chance: SLIDESHARE.net
Here is an example of what this can embed directly into your network, blog, wiki, etc…
Ewwww…. he said PowerPoint
Slideshow software almost has an “evil” connotation in the world of K-12 education right now… not to mention within many communities just beginning a study of constructivism. However, this is certainly a perfect case of where the TOOL isn’t a bad thing… but sloppy or lazy USE of the tool is a bad thing.
For some, PowerPoint became an easy way to slap one’s yellowed overhead “notes” into a digital media and call it “progress.” Careful use of presentation software to enhance and inspire discussion, debate and visualization is impressive. I believe it is something worth studying in much more depth. If PPT is boring… then it is because it is being used for little more than to lay a ton of text on sitting children who are being expected to receive information from a talking head.
With slideshare, you can also allow full-size downloads of .ppt or .pdf slideshows, you can publish to the planet, restrict access to a certain contact list, or restrict usage of a presentation to only yourself. With slideshare, you could potentially not even drag a laptop to a remote presentation (though I cannot imagine no backup strategy).
Flipping the classroom
Check out this example (from The Fischbowl) of how archiving lectures allows these chemistry teachers to turn their daily in-class sessions into chemistry workshops. There is a sample screencast from an Arapahoe HS chemistry class embedded within this blog post as well.
Chemistry workshops. That idea won’t sound bad to any science teacher. It sounds… natural. It sort of rolls off the tongue. It also sounds scary, because it means shifting the focus of the classroom environment from you- the teacher, to your students- the learners.
But Fear is Fun
The ideas presented in this blog post are so exciting to me. Think about it- flip your use of slideshow technology. Post your lectures, screencasts, podcasts… assign those for homework. Allow class time for exploration, extension, remediation, and correction of misconception. Think about how much more you would have to figure out formative assessment strategies. Think about how much more dynamic your classroom could be. Take a baby step. Try it once. Tell us about it. I dare you.