powerpoint in the classroom
i have become a bit of a crusader against the abuse of powerpoint, esp. in the classroom.
what started me off was edward tufte's article in wired magazine. at the time it resonated with me, yet still, i took the stand that it is just a tool - which could be used well or used poorly. i even wrote a letter to wired, which was published.
since talking with students in my classes, esp. the multimedia class i teach, in which we touch on powerpoint, discussing it in my own master's classes and reflecting on my own experiences, esp. as an audience member at powerpoint presentations, i have come to the conclusion that - for the most part, powerpoint presentations are not effective. after reading tufte's complete essay and a recent article in the chronicle of higher education entitled, when good technology means bad teaching, i have become more convinced than ever...
i even bought tufte's hilarious, though spot on, poster for my office.
why? well, i claim few original ideas here, but to summarize...
- turns students into passive observers rather than active participants
- powerpoint is speaker oriented not audience oriented
- the teleprompter syndrome where each slide is read
- gratuitous effects which annoy and distract
- the material doesn't unfold - it is just "presented" and the slides are either very thin or very wordy - either way boring or overwhelming
- students don't like it. i recognize this is not always the criteria, but one of the main reasons given for the use of ed tech is that it engages the student more...
to be sure, i have seen some good presentations using powerpoint. however, most of the time it is not the right tool. as tufte points out - some tools are simply better than others. and this is not to say that used sparingly, they can't be effective for presenting some visual aids.
like any recent convert, i am quite zealous and am seeking converts both in my classes and among other faculty. in fact, i am giving a couple of presentations in january on this very topic.
do you have any thoughts on this? love to hear them...