Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, PowerPoint!

I have a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint. I think it's invaluable for enhancing a presentation through bullet point summaries; it can help an audience follow the train of a speaker's thought when used appropriately. However, I have sat through too many presentations which consisted of the speaker reading his or her PowerPoint slides to the audience--what's the point? In today's Wall Street Journal, Lee Gomes writes about PowerPoint's twentieth birthday and the attitude of its creators toward their brainchild. Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin freely admit that "people often make very bad use of PowerPoint," and assert that "complaints about PowerPoint are usually not about the software but about bad presentations." I was appalled to learn that some children are turning in their book reports via PowerPoint. It's no wonder that they can't write when they get to college and law school!

Having taken a few potshots at PowerPoint, it seems appropriate to note that I am taking an Advanced PowerPoint workshop this afternoon, and a session on how to use PowerPoint in the classroom next week. I'm particularly interested in how I could use it to enhance my teaching, but I don't want my class to be all about PowerPoint. The content has to come first.


Betsy McKenzie said...

Dear Marie,
After you get back from your Advanced PowerPoint seminar, compare what you learned to the wisdom of Don MacMillan, a stand-up comedian who makes some wonderful points about how not to use PowerPoint. View at YouTube,

Cheers, Betsy

Marie S. Newman said...

Thanks, Betsy. It's a hoot.