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EMPOWERING FACULTY WITH INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY OF
THE LEARNER-CENTERED KIND

by Scott A. Sinex, Physical Sciences

Technology offers a vast spectrum of opportunities for improvement and enhancement of instruction. With the dynamic and interactive features of many software applications and the Internet, the learner-centered classroom is aided by the learner-centered technology. For many faculty the commitment to learning and using technology places a high demand on time. How do we address this quandary? Three solutions come to mind. First, ignore technology and maybe it will go away or retirement will come. Second, create a technology center on campus with all the time and money to support faculty in every way possible. Or third, learn how to use PowerPoint, the poor manís multimedia package that can take the static and make it dynamic with video clips and animations; and can be interactive with student tutorials. PowerPoint, it isnít just for lecture anymore.

Now PowerPoint lectures can be deadly (but they never yellow) and these are products of the teacher-centered classroom. The dynamic and interactive capabilities of PowerPoint can be used to change the classroom from teacher-centered to learner-centered. The dynamic aspects of video clips (movies), Flash and gif animations, cartoons, or the crafty new animation capabilities of PowerPoint 2002, are easy to add to presentations. What can you discover from a video or animation? This is the power of active learningĖdraw it out of your students. Make them observe and interpret and then have a discussion. Pose questions, a very natural scientific process, and foster discussion. Additionally, the multimedia approach addresses multiple intelligences or learning styles. Plus, many publishers are supplying movies and Flash animations with textbook adoptions.


Dr. David Marcovitz presents Interactive PowerPoint workshop

  Another learner-centered approach with PowerPoint uses the interactive capabilities of action buttons and Visual Basic for Applications, which comes as part of PowerPoint, to design tutorial activities. Twenty-four faculty from the Sciences, Mathematics, and Health Technology Division, along with two of our instructional technologists from the Technology Resource Center, participated in a three-hour workshop on Interactive PowerPoint.
       
The workshop was presented by Dr. David Marcovitz, the education technology coordinator in the Education Department at Loyola College in Maryland. The participants learned an easy way to produce tutorials using action buttons to control navigation. Instant feedback and scoring capabilities are possible through the use of scripting (writing macros) in Visual Basic for Applications. Once you have the scripts, they can be copied and easily reused. With a microphone, adding narration can be done with ease. Think of the uses in online courses!


Workshop participants Ray Gross, 
Cynthia Gossage, and Bob Osinski

How do we infuse this technology? To start, the Physical Sciences Department created a booklet, Producing a Dynamic Presentation Using Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, which will get you into PowerPoint and the dynamic multimedia aspects. To view the dynamics capabilities, see Discovering It Come Alive: Animations, Cartoons, and Video Clips, a PowerPoint 2002 presentation. Next, look for workshops on dynamic and interactive PowerPoint (prerequisite: basic knowledge of PowerPoint) on the Instructional Technology Services Web page. PowerPoint, with its dynamic and interactive capabilities, offers a very vital visualization tool for discovery learning and higher-order thinking, which is within the grasp of faculty. The power of this single application also comes in the cadre of empowered faculty users we can create. PowerPoint, it really isnít just for lecture anymore.

 

The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 18, No. 3

Spring 2003