The Balance of PowerPoint

Posted on May 31, 2011


The Balance of PowerPoint

This post suggests using an application called to make video recordings of students giving PowerPoint presentations (Step Three), see an example here. The lead-in conversation activity in Step One and the video in Step Two are designed to get students in the mood and encourage discussion as to what makes a good or bad PP-assisted talk. The activities are best suited to upper-intermediate and advanced students, and may be particularly appropriate in Academic and Business English contexts.

Step One : Conversation

Introduce the topic of giving presentations / speaking in public and ask your students to discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups.

Step Two : The Video (Life after death by PP)

  1. Tell your students that they are going to see a popular video which shows six examples of how not to use PowerPoint (Don McMillan’s video has been doing the rounds for quite a while now, but I’m always surprised how many students have never seen it).
  2. Ask them to predict the six examples of bad PowerPoint usage, then show them the video. If they need prodding, give them some key words: colour, font, slides, animation, text, amount/number of, graphs, images etc

Step Three : Recording a talk with

  1. Having discussed public speaking and seen how not to use PowerPoint, your students should now be in the mood to have a go at giving a PowerPoint presentation themselves.
  2. is an application which allows you to upload a PowerPoint presentation and then video yourself as you give your talk. See an example presentation here, then have a look at the video tutorial (volume’s a bit low, sorry!).
  3. As homework or longer term project work, ask your students to record themselves giving a PowerPoint presentation on a subject of their choice.

Feedback can be given on language and pronunciation as well as on non-verbal communicative factors such as body language, gesture and facial expression.

Recordings are limited to 15 mins.
You can make a maximum of 10 recordings a month.
There are no privacy settings with the free version.
There is an upload limit of 50mb.
: Important information about the free account of

Hope you find these activities useful!