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Author Topic: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures  (Read 1405 times)

Calach Pfeffer

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Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« on: June 27, 2015, 01:11:17 AM »
– it makes students more stupid and professors more boring

[T]o be interesting and relevant in a lecture, teachers need to ask questions and experiment, not provide solutions and results. Unfortunately, PowerPoint is designed to provide just that. Originally for Macintosh, the company that designed it was bought by Microsoft. After its launch the software was increasingly targeted at business professionals, especially consultants and busy salespeople.

But during the 1990s it was adopted more generally by corporations as it became part of the Microsoft Office package, which explains the executive summaries, one-liners, ubiquitous “deliverables” and action plans. Its way into academia was then helped by the increased pressure on faculties to deliver more teaching and the increased demand from a more diverse student population to be more concretely guided through the jungle of knowledge.

As it turns out, PowerPoint has not empowered academia. The basic problem is that a lecturer isn’t intended to be selling bullet point knowledge to students, rather they should be making the students encounter problems. Such a learning process is slow and arduous, and cannot be summed up neatly. PowerPoint produces stupidity, which is why some, such as American statistician Edward Tufte have said it is “evil”.

Of course, new presentation technologies like Prezi, SlideRocket or Impress add a lot of new features and 3D animation, yet I’d argue they only make things worse. A moot point doesn’t become relevant by moving in mysterious ways. The truth is that PowerPoints actually are hard to follow and if you miss one point you are often lost....



I, unfortunately, think this might be true.
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 04:13:51 AM »
Could you please prepare a PowerPoint presentation to summarize the main points of your argument?  uuuuuuuuuu
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EmJay

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2015, 10:52:55 PM »
I never use PowerPoint presentations.

It's not so long ago that I was a student myself and I remember how dull and formulaic some teachers were. They didn't even need to be there really, just play the slideshow and leave, I'd barely have noticed.

I got a bit self conscious when my classes were covered by a teacher who went armed to every class with a 20 slide PP but I got the impression that the students didn't like it which was a relief  ababababab

A lot of teachers just write what is already in the book instead of asking the students what they think the important points were and discussing them, they'll just list the important points.

Another downside, in my classroom at least, is that we don't have a projector. Every student has a monitor on their desk. So if I were to use PowerPoint, it's not like I'd be at the front pointing at things with a meter ruler, I'd be mousing a cursor around and no one would be looking at anyone.

Plus, they're a pain in the arse to make. So yeah, I agree. Let's ban them.

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 07:47:31 AM »
I use them. Mostly to introduce information from the textbook. But, aside from straight up lecturing, I think, in my humble estimation of what I'm teaching, I perform a lot of the analytical reading the students are supposed to do. Textbooks being what they are, are full of stuff, and, particularly if you're answering textbook questions, there's a lot of filtering to do. What part of the text applies when answering a given question, how is it to be used, what should be quoted, how does it fit together with the rest of the lesson... in other words, the process of synthesizing knowledge. I perform that. I wish students would pick up the skills for themselves too. I'm not entirely sure they do. Just as I'm not entirely sure what I'd do without the ppt to play to.

It works better with a blackboard, by the way. Any time I've had to do all this with chalk instead of photons, it seems to me it works better. It's also harder to prepare.
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ericthered

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2015, 12:26:33 PM »
I disagree completely. I teach history. It is a dashed sight easier to teach stuff like Roman army formations, the geographical location of Byzantium, the symbols and architecture of the Catholic Church and the horrors of WWI with Pictures on a ppt. So no, no, no and ever so much no to banning ppts.
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tinkerscuss

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2015, 09:43:50 PM »
So professors should dust off those thirty year old hand-written slides written in black grease pencil instead?

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kitano

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2015, 04:34:19 PM »
It's a great tool, you can present text, images and video much more efficiently than anything else that we have.

It's important to remember that you are presenting text though. Same as with reading, audio, video or anything, if you are just showing them the material then they'd be better off doing it at home

eggcluck

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 02:56:28 AM »
After having gone the last week with no computer or internet, I can say it has certainly forced me to be more creative but at the same time powerpoint proves useful for dumping facts that I simply do not remember and it also helps the students that can read well but do not listen so well.

That said I do not often use power point as many a time the students see it as an excuse to snooze, so these days if I use it is is a few simple and basic slides where I use the blackboard to elaborate. Thought I usually use pictures and videos.
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2015, 05:28:26 AM »
A lot of what I do in powerpoints these days, infodumps aside, is media cues. Given that the classes all have similar structures, I can use some given image or sound to announce that we're all moving on to this or that familiar activity. (I like to mix it up - replacing, say, the Tarzan yell with an operatic warmup.) You don't need a ppt to do this, of course. But there's some fun to be had mixing various media elements other than just your voice.

I'd still like to move on from the infodumps. Right now they're easy. But classes are more interesting when the infodumps get shorter but the activity sections go, somehow, deeper.
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2015, 11:19:09 AM »
Today, one minute into class everyone went woooooo because the electricity failed. We lost the lights, the aircon, and, of course, the powerpoint. Normally, losing the powerpoint leaves me whiny and anxious in front of the class. But today, I'd literally minutes earlier just finished giving the same pair of lessons to two other classes and the whole of it was right there in my mind so I thought what the hell, got out my paper notes and started the class like normal albeit submerged in winter afternoon darkness. There is, I discovered, a palpably different quality to the attention the students focus on you when the ppt is off. They're present, I'm present, we're communicating with words. It was invigorating. About ten minutes later the lights came back on, someone launched himself at the on button for the aircon, and I started up the computers. There's nothing really notable in the students, nothing obvious that shows their locus of attention has changed, but it happens like switching on a light. Just like that, I was standing next to their attention rather than inside it.
There is little in history to support the proposition that China was indeed the centre of the Asian universe commanding deference among less civilised states around its periphery...

Phillis

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Re: Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2016, 01:25:23 AM »
I think it depends on what you're teaching and/or learning. At times they're great, the perfect tool, at other times they're a total distraction.

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