01 February 2012

The technology of teaching

Written by Peter McKay

In the 1970s I qualified and worked as a school teacher. I was in the English Department and the basic style of teaching was “show & tell” and there was precious little adaptation to the learning styles of the pupils. The essential technology tools of teaching were, in no particular order: the textbook, the chalkboard, duplicated handouts and worksheets, occasionally TV/VCR, an overhead projector and the epidiascope.

After a good few years as a sales representative and manager I developed a sideline of being a sales trainer. The basic teaching style was interactive, still with a heavy diet of “explaining”, but always followed up by “demonstrating” and then group work to “do”. The essential technology tools were: the overhead projector, video (programmes and recordings) and handouts.

Thirty six years on and I am reviewing the provision of training of publishing skills and development for people working in the publishing industry. Part of that review is to look at the basic teaching styles and the essential technology deployed. I find that the dominant teaching style is “explain-demonstrate-do” and the dominant tool is MS PowerPoint (occasionally non-MS versions of the same).

The next question is to ask how effective PowerPoint is as an aid to learning. More on this in the next piece – why not let me know your view of PowerPoint by taking the poll on our homepage or commenting below.

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