First encounter with PowerPoint

The learners in our Computer Class on Sunday had their first encounter with PowerPoint last week. Rather than telling them what to do, which button to press and giving them an assignment, we gave them the task to open PowerPoint and just try out any of the buttons on the screen. 

It was interesting to see that each of them was trying different things. Some were a bit confused though, they managed to open PowerPoint and then asked me “What should I do now?”. Some were happily clicking and trying different things.

The majority started off with typing some text in the Title page. A few of them didn’t want the title to be centre aligned and asked me how to get it left aligned. I showed them the align buttons and their function. Others were adventurous and found out how to insert ClipArt pictures, or WordArt. Some were applying slide designs. Upon seeing their peers having interesting colours and pictures, they started asking them how they did that. 

Last Sunday was their second session with PowerPoint. This time we did a short instruction on what they can find on the interface, how to view the different toolbars, and going through some basic functions. For the practical session we asked them to try out the viewing of toolbars and applying a slide layout with title, text & clipart by using the task pane. We reinforced the saving of file to be important. Everyone is doing is very well in both of the groups.

There is one lady whoever who is only able to come alternate weeks and she also has a problem with understanding English. We are not sure what to do with her, she is lagging behind and we have now asked her to come for both group sessions on the days that she is able to come. At least we can give her more time to practice and individual attention that way.

I’m also installing LAMS on the server, hope to finish it by this week, so that we can start trying it out! That way we can monitor individual student’s progress and give extra assignments to those who are faster. Some students really pick up very fast and they need extra attention as well – otherwise they’ll get bored. The group dynamics are quite good this year, students are willing to help each other and even the cleaning of the room at the end of the class is being arranged without us needing to interfere.

The decision to split the class in 2 groups has worked out well too. Although that way we need to conduct instruction sessions twice, we are already cutting down on instruction time and giving more practical time. The practical time is now about 45 – 60 mins per lesson and gives each student a 1-to-1 time on the computer.  Previous years we always had a few people sharing computers and then we had to monitor that each of them had equal chance of trying out the exercises.

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