Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blame the User and Not the Tool

The Powerpoint backlash continues.  But I have an ally in the argument that the problem is not the software but the people who use it.

See, even bland powerpoint with the lamest stuff (as put together by Slate's

  • "You can become a better presenter."  Indeed.  Again, the challenge for a prof is how to do a lot of presentations, rather than just a big one, that can help get the concepts across.  I could do the one or two lines per slide strategy (maybe when I teach this new revised version of Intro to International Relations), but I tend to prefer the presentation software mostly serving the purpose of keeping the students aware of where I am in the lecture and the major concepts and ideas that I am trying to explain.  I have, I think, improved over time.  I tended to use too many tricks after my Pentagon experience, but reduced them.  I tended to use too much youtube once that became widely available, but I am more strategic in using it now.
  • "Slide software can make impenetrable subjects mesmerizing"  Well, I don't have to worry about that--International Relations is far from impenetrable.  It is inherently interesting. 


Steve Greene said...

I clicked on the article, but put it aside to read later. Sounds like you and I use ppt in pretty much the same way. Therefore, we must be doing it right.

Vincent said...

I watched a video from a Guy Kawasaki (sp?) at google a while ago. Someone in the audience asked him how much time we should budget to prepare a presentation. He said something like "of course, if you only have about 50 hours to put on your powerpoint, you can't expect it to be..."

I say don't blame the users either. They just don't have time to make cool Jobs-like visual supports (or enough money to hire his consultants).