The overhead projector

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ohpIt’s a low-tech office dinosaur of the 20th century, but I still use the OHP for teaching. It’s really good for…

  • Warm-up: Students present themselves in pictures they’ve drawn on a slide
  • Images: Cartoons etc. to jump-start a topic; better than photcopies, saves paper, everyone is looking up.
  • Text work (email, correspondence, translation): Participants hand-write on slides and then present on the OHP, and we correct things together. It’s much faster than writing on a whiteboard/ flipchart. Slides can be collected and typed up. Or students mail me texts which I print out on OHPs – great when a class is big.
  • Guessing/ reconstructing content: Print out a text on an OHP and  cover it partly with paper that has holes in it. This is Mark Powell’s wonderful idea, which he calls the “holistic approach to teaching” 🙂 And of course: You uncover the content on your slide slowly…
  • An OHP and a roll of blank foil is a good backup tool when your laptop goes on strike (sigh), though working straight onto foil is positively blinding.

I do hate wasting material (those plastic slides) and energy (those hot lamps). Pictures can be drawn on recycled A3 paper, and handwritten work can go up on pinboards.  A small group can practice email on laptops with a data projector. (Hmm, I wonder: What’s the ecobalance on that?) And I could make a Powerpoint or Keynote template that simulates the “holistic approach”. But the OHP does it all so much more simply… So: long live the dinosaur!


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