Thu | Nov 23, 2017

Techno-tools for the classroom | Mentimeter presentations in a new perspective

Published:Sunday | October 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMGen Clacken

It is not an uncommon experience the slow death of droning words that accompany a million slides of content of a presentation, which was commonly referred to as "death by PowerPoint", a tool that is often used for content delivery today. To address this, Mentimeter was created.

A resurrection of PowerPointMentimeter, launched in 2014, is software that allows the facilitator to make presentations more interactive. This online application lets

presenters ask various types of questions of their audience and allows the audience to respond via their Internet, enabled hand-held or mobile devices.

Responses then instantly appear in the presentation itself for all to see. The result is lively interactive sessions that provide participants with opportunities to share ideas and opinions, vote on issues, and see what others are thinking.

The facilitator is also enabled to capture these thoughts and ideas right there in the presentation and has the opportunity to revisit those contributions long after the presentation has been made.

The implications here are significant. It means that teachers, speakers, and presenters no longer have an excuse to bore students and participants to death. Face-to-face presentations can be reflective, interactive and fun.

 

Not a comparison

 

While Mentimeter allows the user the same kind of graphic options as PowerPoint, the

ability of the software to capture live and real-time responses in the actual presentation while it is being delivered is definitely a game changer.

Participants can be polled, quizzed, questioned, given points, and declared winners during presentations.

Responses can be shared anonymously, or participants can be identified and linked to responses. Responses can be exported and stored in other formats such as Microsoft Excel and used to inform other presentations.

Questions placed on the Mentimeter platform can be reused in other presentations, and data collected can be added to responses given in previous sessions.

Mentimeter can analyse the data collected to identify trends and patterns, and data collected against a question can be erased to facilitate the use of selected questions.

Mentimeter is not limited to an online platform. It has has a plug-in that can be downloaded and integrated into PowerPoint. Users can enjoy the graphics and animation elements of PowerPoint while at the same time utilising the interactive elements of Mentimeter.

The software requires no downloads or installations.

It can be accessed by creating an account at www.mentimeter.com. Participants and students are given a specific URL and a code to access the portal, and from there, submit their responses to questions posed.

 

Paradigm shift

 

There is no denying that tools like Mentimeter are redefining the way presentations are made today, just like the PowerPoint did in 1987.

It represents the next phase in the continuous move away from a "banking approach to education" as explained by Paulo Freire, to an approach that recognises the value of the experience of the students.

Mentimeter enhances communication, collaboration, and feedback in the delivery process. It also rekindles active reflection, competition, and gamification in the learning process while reversing boredom and predictability.

There is strong doubt that any tool will ever make the PowerPoint obsolete, but Mentimeter surely infuses new life into mundane presentations.

- Gen Clacken is an educational technologist with 15 years' experience in online education. She can be found at www.genclacken.com.