Give Slideshare a Chance to Transform

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…

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: symbiosis commensalism)

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.

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Sean Nash

District Online Learning Coordinator (eCampus) in a large public district of over thirty individual schools. Most recently, a district instruction coordinator. Biology instructor since 1993. Find more about my passions and my work at http://nashworld.me

2 Comments

  1. I like slideshare and have been using it awhile (www.slideshare.net/missbaker). Have you noticed that they now have a SUPER COOL feature where you can insert Youtube videos or audio into your slides? Here’s my one Youtube slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/missbaker/biologyof-love-2nd-version

    Ppt isn’t the enemy. It will always be the designer of the ppt that determines its usefulness. The scary thing I’ve noticed is that our students are picking up the boring use of ppt that their teachers are showing them. I’ve had to sit through too many painful student ppts. Makes me want to have a ppt tutorial day for all my students. Not that I’m an expert, but I’m better than many.

    Have you tried out Prezi? It makes ppt a lot neater, especially if you have a Smartboard.

  2. Oh I know- love that presentation. The YouTube version is perfecto. I did see that a ways back. I am also excited about the fact that you can slidecast from there as well with the upload of an .mp3.

    I have really only added presentations there as a test… or on a needs-basis only to this point. I have so many I’d love to share… but feel a bit creepy about copyright on SO many of the images on them. (many were started back when I had no inkling I’d be able to share them one day so easily) I know, me = worried about educational applications of CR. Weird, huh?

    A “presentation skills” day would actually be an interesting thing if you could do if for a half day or so. Since we have no oral communications requirement at the current time, this would actually be a solid way to infuse a bit of input that would help ground all teachers onto a certain level to help with students in each of their classes. You think?

    PPT has never been the enemy. Tools never are. Uses certainly can be though. Uses and general instructional practices while using such tools… namely questioning strategies. This one skill can help turn a lame set of goofy slides into a relevant, dynamic session of discourse.

    And yes… I did get the Prezi code. Funny thing is that when I asked… I was begging, and got it much slower than some I know. And now that I got the nod, it will be a while now until the fires die down. Wow. Looks very fun though!

    As always, thanks so much,

    Sean

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