Abstract 15- Volume 1, Number 3, Summer 2006

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 1, Number 3, Winter 2006



Reinventing PowerPoint: A New Look at an Old Tool

Mark Hofer
College of William & Mary

Robb Ponton
Williamsburg James City County Schools

Kathleen Swan
University of Kentucky


Microsoft PowerPoint is a powerful, yet often underutilized, orchestration tool for learning. While its most common use may be no more powerful or effective than an overhead projector, the multimedia capabilities of the software open up powerful means to connect with diverse learners in the classroom. In this piece, we explore how PowerPoint can be used in ways that connect with Universal Design for Learning principles and make teacher and student presentations more engaging and effective. We offer several concrete examples of “thinking outside the slide” to leverage the unique potential of PowerPoint in the classroom.

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About the Author(s)…

Kathleen Owings Swan is an assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Kentucky in the School of Education and a former high school social studies teacher. Dr. Swan’s research includes examining strategies for training pre-service and in-service social studies teachers to effectively use educational technology in social studies instruction. She regularly presents her work at national and state conferences and in a variety of education journals including International Journal of Social Education, Social Studies and the Young Learner, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education and Learning and Leading with Technology. Contact information: kswan@uky.edu, the University of Kentucky.

Mark Hofer, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in Educational Technology at the College of William & Mary in the School of Education and a former high school social studies teacher. He focuses on innovative ways to prepare pre-service teachers to transform teaching and learning with the appropriate use of technology and on exploring K-12 classroom applications of technology. He regularly shares his work at national and state conferences and in journals including Social Studies and the Young Learner, Learning and Leading with Technology, the Journal of Computing in Teacher Education and Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education. Contact information: mjhofe@wm.edu, the College of William and Mary.

Robb Ponton
has been teaching for over a quarter of a century, before there were personal computers, e-mail, and online dating services. He is currently an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools and enjoys the challenge of helping teachers integrate technology into their instructional practices. Mr. Ponton has taught in many foreign locations including: Tonga, Saipan, Liberia, and Los Angeles. This diverse background hardly explains his penchant for Film Noir and Broadway Musicals. He strongly believes that teachers can assess their teaching by asking themselves if they would enroll in their own class! Contact information: PontonR@wjcc.k12.va.us