Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Power Point

I've never been a fan of Power Point presentations; as an undergraduate in English I never had a professor make use of the program. A number of my video/ feedback students in ASE 1 are giving almost all of their presentations in Power Point. In general, I'm unimpressed. It's too easy to put a bunch of text up on the board and then just read it. Some students have made use of the program to put up visual aids; some of these have been successful. But there are dozens of other ways of using visual aids without plugging them into expensive slideshow software.

Today Gordon had me deliver a short talk on the effective use of Power Point in a lecture. He provided me with a very good, well-organized PowerPoint slideshow which was a useful tool for what I think was a pretty good lecture. However, it was still very limiting.

There was a great deal of interaction with the students, but that interaction was pretty much limited to prompting them to say whatever was next on the slideshow. I was eliciting information-- not any relevant information, but rather the precise information that had already been prepared, in the exact order it had been prepared in. One of the students, in our earlier discussion about PowerPoint, had compared the program to a movie. It's already scripted, nothing about it is flexible, the student's job is simply to sit back and watch the show. There's no room for variation, no room for response to questions.

The best thing about the PowerPoint slideshow is that it had a structure and an outline. My talk today was one of the best things I've taught, mostly because it was well-planned and organized (and I'm not the one who put it together). Once I had the outline and the structure, though, the actual slideshow wasn't that much of a boon. I could have written my outline on the blackboard just as easily, with the advantage of being able to adapt the outline to what was elicited from the students.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I don't like PowerPoint and don't ever want to use it. I believe I could have given a better, more flexible talk, without being tied to the slideshow. On the other hand, my students are using PowerPoint in their lectures and will be expected to use it hin future academic presentations. It's my responsibility to help them use it well.


Blogger Tamara said...

I like Power Point, but I agree that the content should always outshine the graphics.

6:49 AM  
Blogger lovephileo said...

I am using power point presentation for so many years and I found it useful and effective but also there is disadvantage of using it like what James has said.

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8:08 AM  

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