Slide presentations are the new 5-paragraph essay

John Robinson said:

In some ways, PowerPoint presentations have become the “five paragraph essay” [of] yesterday. Most of us who’ve taught English for more than fifteen years remember that monstrosity. The five-paragraph essay was an attempt to standardize writing in order help students mold their writing to fit standardized test scoring. Needless to say, as a teaching strategy, it was more about getting high scores on state writing tests than about students expressing original ideas and thoughts. It certainly wasn’t about creativity and innovation. PowerPoint presentations as projects in many ways have replaced those five-paragraphs essays; they are simply a standardized way for students to present information.


See also The unholy trinities of classroom technology usage. (And, again, I’m not knocking basic usage as a foundation or a step along the way. I’m knocking it when it’s our ceiling or end goal or the upper limit of our vision…)

One Response to “Slide presentations are the new 5-paragraph essay”

  1. I think that the challenge is what you do with the PowerPoint. What leaves me feeling despondent is when classes have to sit through hours of presentations which involve students standing at the front delivering a poor presentation. I have taken to using Google Slides and getting students to share their work with the rest of the class. They then go through the presentations at their own pace and engage with it as they do. Adding comments and posing questions about those points that stand out.

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