PowerPoint: The ABC of Investigating

This spin-off from the burgeoning Sociological Detectives Universe™ is a vehicle by which you can simply and not-a-little-secretly introduce a soupcon of Study Skills into what we’re contractually obliged to call “The Student eXperience” (sic).

In other words this PowerPoint Presentation is a slightly different way to encourage your students to take information you provide (via lectures, handouts, books, video, audio or whatever else you use) and do something more with it than simply store it neatly away somewhere.

And the “more” in this instance involves three simple tasks (Attach, Broaden and Challenge (hence the “ABC” method) that will help your students master some simple – but hugely effective – study skills without really being aware this is what they’re doing).

study skills

Although the Presentation has been designed (yes, really) to be fairly self-explicable there’s a couple of things you might want to note before launching it upon unsuspecting students.

Firstly, you need to provide some sort of information they have to analyse / understand. This can take whatever form you want (lecture, book chapter, video, podcast…) so you could, if you want use the Presentation at the end of a lecture to push your students into extending their knowledge and understanding.

Secondly, you can use the Presentation in a couple of different ways, depending on your teaching style and the time available. You could, as I’ve said, introduce it as a whole class exercise. Alternatively you could take a flipped teaching approach whereby your students do the tasks in their own time and then you spend time in the classroom discussing their ideas. If you go down this route it will probably be easiest to run the Presentation past the whole class first so your students can understand what the three tasks involve.

Aside from these choices all you really need to do before you use the Presentation is familiarise yourself with its little foibles. As ever, while the basic mechanics are fairly simple I’ve added a few little twists you’d do well to understand before you let the Presentation loose in the wild.

As ever, for reasons I’ve previously explained and can’t be bothered to explain again (that’s what hyperlinks were invented for. Possibly), I’ve included two versions of the Presentation:

Choose PowerPoint Presentation if you want to have a look at how I’ve put it together (or if you want to alter any of the text. Each task currently requires students to identify one idea, you might want them to do more…). A word of warning here. Because the Presentation uses the Morph function that’s not available in earlier versions of PowerPoint you need to make sure you’ve got a reasonably up-to-date version available (such as PowerPoint 365) if you want to poke around changing stuff.

Choose PowerPoint Show for a standalone version that doesn’t require PowerPoint (but might mean you have to negotiate your browser’s over-efficient anti-virus protection).

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