Visivae Auxiliis

In which Steven attempts to write a blog post about PowerPoint. I think. I’ll be honest – he hasn’t written it yet and already the idea bores me.

Is it better to die by PowerPoint or get motion sickness from Prezi?

It’s said that teaching can be one-fifth teaching and four-fifths theatre.

I’d like to consider it – for the purpose of this blog at least – as an opportunity for show-and-tell between you and the students, and this should be two-way.

What can we learn from TED Talks, the mixture of lecture, performance and visuals.

TED Talks are often inspiring, but can we use them to improve our own performance?

A picture can say a thousand words but these are only aids. They are there to aid you telling a thousand words.

The ppt or Prezi isn’t there to do the job and it isn’t there to be a badly laid out textbook for you to reiterate word-for-word what is on the screen.

It should be a visual guide for you – a map for the lesson and something to be looked at while you speak.

So make the pictures interesting, relevant and fun. (I think the BBC puts it a different way – Ed)


If you intend to have the presentation available (e.g. for a hand-out), have any relevant information in your notes – not as a block of impenetrable text in a slide.

Next, video clips. The Rt Honourable Mr Gove and I have a difference of opinion here (and that bombshell I am sure will keep him awake at night – Ed)He has stated he won’t spend a penny (wasn’t it a pound? – Ed) that leads to videos in class.

I believe that video in the classroom can be a great tool. (You mean aid. The tool blog was before – Ed)

I believe that video in the classroom can be a great visual aid – to highlight a point or theme. To introduce a topic. As part of plenary, whatever that is.

As part of the current educational focus on employability, I believe visual aids, as part of a planned scheme of screening and analysis, can through cultural literacy improve basic oral communication skills.

Exposure to art, TV and film, to clips relevant to equality and diversity issues and the latest meme. The opportunity to know what this stuff is, and then to discuss it, if not through embedded lessons but integrated into the schemes of work, will not only improve communication in the classroom but in the workplace as well.

When the cultural conversation moves on it’s good to know what people are talking about and to have an opinion on it, whether that be subjective or objective.


This is not a pipe.

(Then what is it? – Ed)

It is a picture of a pipe.

(Oh, ok – Ed)

Actually it is a digital reproduction of a picture of a pipe.

(Right. I see – Ed)

Finally, how are the visual aids in your classroom? Not just in terms of student work on the walls, but in terms of the department or faculty in the room?

Are there visuals to aid the atmosphere and environment of learning?

Be seeing you.


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