Since I am teaching my very own trigonometry class this year, I get full access to a projector/whiteboard setup and will be using slides. I didn’t encounter slide-based classes until college, where I learned at first to dread them. Clearly, skilled professors knew how to engage and lead a class without the slide-show crutch, while slide-show users were boring and afraid of lecturing on their own.

I’m trying out slide-based teaching now for two reasons. First, I did later have professors who regularly used slide shows without putting anyone to sleep. Second, it takes a lot of class time to write everything on the board by hand and a lot of paper and ink to print everything out.

I’ve only prepared slides for the first two units, but it has taken a lot of time and several revisions. Here are my current guiding principals:

  • Minimize text.
  • Use the technology to animate, illustrate, represent whenever possible. That means photos, videos, and graphics — if they’re actually helpful.
  • Spreading information over several slides is usually better than putting it all on one slide, even if you can fit it all on one slide.
  • Put the starting point on the slide, then plan for live development and exploration on the white board, paper, etc.
  • Plan to be mobile and interactive during the lesson, not a human-shaped mouse button-pusher.
  • Plan to sometimes turn the projector off.

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