Week 3 (Due Jun 11th)

Links from class:

PhotoStory – windows software – tutorials

VoiceThread – online collaborative, multimedia slideshow

Glogster – online multimedia poster

Animoto – online music video creation

Storybird – online storytelling

Pixlr –  free online software to edit photos/images


  • Storyboard, script, and photos for digital story uploaded it as a Google doc . See http://www.learndst.com for guidance/resources on digital storytelling. Please compared to work on 6/11.
  • Explore your classmates blogs and post a comment on at least two blogs.
  • Read “PowerPoint is Evil” by E. Tuften, listen to NPR story about PowerPoint in the classroom,  and post a response to the class blog (not your personal blog). Be sure to make specific references to the reading & radio program in your response.

***June 11th is our first Virtual class. Login here to participate. I will be at the Rowely Hall if you prefer to be in the lab with me (for extra tech support).


27 thoughts on “Week 3 (Due Jun 11th)

  1. Even though I found Tufte’s article interesting, I couldn’t be convinced that PPT is “evil” as I found the article to be biased. I think that every technology tool has pros and cons, but one can outweigh the cons by putting that tool into better use by applying it correctly and moderately.
    The opposing party argue that PPT cab be distracting because students “might get caught up in the special effects of colors exploding and things zooming in and out” as Sherry Turkle explains. But at the same time, it can help stimulate imagination, and that is exactly what happened with Gina Sisk’s use of PPT with her kindergarteners, as they were “stimulated” to come up with the idea of retelling any book they came across by using PPT which developed another idea to create new stories. Tufte also argues that PPT is “evil” for the audience as it does them “intellectual harm”. He and Turkle believe that compacting information in “three points” is not in the audience’s best interest.
    I don’t think that PPT deserved all that criticism from the opposing party since most of what they argued about (distracting + compacting info=intellectual harm) could be avoided. Honestly, I was seldom or never presented with a PPT presentation with the speaker merely reading the “three points” on their slides. The speakers would normally read the points, then either elaborate on them, ask for audience participation, make audience reflect or discuss what they heard or read with a small group or neighbor. I don’t believe that PPT was created to be read directly from it, otherwise it would be unprofessional on the speaker’s part. As for the argument that it helps the presenter alone without the audience, I think that this is not always the case, as PPT is only a “medium”, and thus depends very much on the speakers on what and how they want to deliver information to their audience.
    I think that the answer to whether PPT is “evil” or not pretty much depends on the use and execution of the presenter, and not the tool itself.

  2. I don’t think that I can agree that PowerPoint is not useful. I actually never really thought about any cons about it. But after reading the article and listening to the new clip, I can see their points. Thinking back to all the powerpoint presentations I have watched throughout school, they usually have very little information, or WAY too much. I remember listening to lectures and thinking…why did they put every word they are saying on this slide?! I can also see their point about the students learning more than just the bursts of color and graphics. Sometimes, that stuff is distracting!
    However, I don’t think powerpoint is detrimental to students learning. It may be overused though. I liked the quote at the end of the news clipping. They said a concern is that: will teachers encourage thrir students to think beyond the last bullet point”. I think that it the most important thing. How do you use your powerpoint presentation? I think the best way is to use it as a tool….like more of a guide to the students to keep them on track as to what you are talking about. I always liked it when I could print the slides before class and then use them to write notes on. The slides usually capture the main idea, then I could add my own notes to that.
    A powerpoint presentation can’t be used as the only means for teaching a topic. But I see nothing wrong with using it as a tool to guide the presenter.

  3. Professor Tufte’s play on words with “Power Corrupts.
    PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely” instead of saying “absolute power corrupts” is a little humorous. His article for Wired Magazine at http://bit.ly/1143jIm uses a lot of strong words to describe a Powerpoint presentation…seriously how can the words totalitarian and Stalin really be used in conjunction with powerpoint? The Wired article and the NPR news report were both presented in 2003. I do wonder if Tufte’s opinion has changed?

    My thoughts are somewhere in between Tufte’s belief that Powerpoint is making us all one sentence-point wonders and the spokesperson from Microsoft who says that it is a creative tool. Do I believe it is overused in presentations–absolutely. Do I think it has a place in classrooms-absolutely.

    Tufte’s comment that it is good for organizing the thoughts of the disorganized, lower 20% of presenters (harsh way of saying it) is true in my case. I like having an outline with major points that I can talk about during a presentation. It keeps me on track and lets the audience know what and in what order I will be discussing the topics.

    In a classroom setting, it can be a good tool for students to use to combine information from different sources in a creative manner (the Microsoft spokesperson also mentions this). Students can use their presentations to pull in artwork to illustrate their presentations. It is a lot more interesting listening to a presentation if you also have photographs or some other media tie all the information together.

    The Professor from MIT (NPR) stated that we need to learn to have complex conversations, not just extract points. In the business world, people are looking for facts, data, not complex conversations. Her point is valid though, we do need to be able to think and process past the bullet points that we are extracting from information.

    Are we losing the ability to think past short snippets of information and the ability to have a meaningful , thought-provoking discussion about events/information? Or has the format of having those discussions just changed due to technology?

    • Great point about a change of perspective 10 years later. I wonder what his new target would be? Do you think now that more and more teachers are sharing their PPTs with kids to view at home has changed how we use it?

      • It is rare that I leave a class that doesn’t include a handout or access to PPT’s. It helps us focus on key points, but I do wonder how much more information we are missing out on because we aren’t reading full texts anymore–too much info out there to read it all possibly. We can sum up a 30 page book in a few PPT’s. Do students go back and read the 30 pages or just focus on the PPT’s provided?

        I think Tufte would be all over cell-phones in the classroom. Find them too distracting or too much as a crutch for getting instant access to information.

        Do you think we are becoming a copy and paste nation?

  4. After reading Tufte’s article and hearing his comments on NPR’s Morning Edition, it seems to me that his position is quite extreme (Linda, I agree. His language is excessively harsh!). In spite of his tone, I do agree with Tufte in that PowerPoint too often serves as a substitution for an actual presentation rather than a supplement or visual aid that enhances what the speaker has to say. Making text bounce across the screen does more to trivialize the content rather than engage an already bored audience. Even our nation’s military leaders are getting fed up with the PowerPoint format (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/world/27powerpoint.html?_r=1&). Although Tufte’s position may be extreme, he is certainly not alone in his criticism of PowerPoint and this conversation is still relevant years after his 2003 article.

    In the NPR Morning Edition segment, one speaker noted that PowerPoint is only a medium – a medium that allows teachers and students to be authors and creators. I think this is important to keep in mind. It seems that PowerPoint itself is not necessarily the problem since a tool is really only as good as the person using it. If there truly is an “adoption of the PowerPoint cognitive style in our schools,” a way of thinking that expects students to simply extract a few bullet points from a complex reading rather than engage in higher order thought and intellectual discourse, then this may be a failure on the part of educators rather than an indication of the inherent evils of presentation software. Asking students to create a PowerPoint presentation is probably an inappropriate tool for responding to complex readings. Tufte says: “Rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials.” I am yet to observe this in an elementary classroom. I have seen teachers guide students through the process of writing clear, detailed, well-written reports much more often than I’ve observed lessons on how to create flashy presentations.

    I think PowerPoint has the potential to serve a meaningful role in the classroom when it is used as one of many potential options for students to synthesize information into a product that demonstrates their knowledge – whether that product takes the form of an oral report, written paper, dramatic presentation, video, or digital story. Tufte states that PowerPoint is very useful for the extremely disorganized, the bottom 20%. For the remaining 80%, Tufte argues that PowerPoint does serious intellectual harm. In education, we still look out for that “bottom 20%.” Even if the majority may not require the use of a digital slideshow to organize their thoughts, some students may benefit from using PowerPoint as an assistive tool. Educators must continually reflect on how they and their students are using technology to ensure it is enhancing learning experiences rather than serving as a distraction. Variety and options are key when we seek to provide meaningful learning experiences for classrooms full of diverse learners. Although PowerPoint can certainly be misused, I think it can be an appropriate tool in education – as long as educators approach it thoughtfully and critically.

  5. To be honest, I thought Tufte’s article and interview on NPR to be more painful than some of the PowerPoint presentations I’ve sat through in my lifetime! While I do agree that PowerPoint has the tendency to be boring and unimaginative, the first comment response (sorry, it is showing up as “Anonymous” so I’m not sure who it is) puts it perfectly: “I think that the answer to whether PPT is “evil” or not pretty much depends on the use and execution of the presenter, and not the tool itself.” PowerPoint is an excellent tool that can be molded and customized as much as the user would like; it is up to the user/designer to make it as a simple bullet point list or an exciting visual aide.

    I thought a lot of what Tufte shared to be a bit dramatic. He argued that using PowerPoint is better than teaching children how to smoke. Really? Only that much better? Designing PowerPoints with bullets can be metaphorically described as being like Stalin? I wonder if the Russians would agree… Tufte also seems to believe that PowerPoint is always linked to commercialism and is only used to sell something. I would argue that I’ve made many PowerPoints in school and professionally, and not a single one was developed with the purpose of being a “sales pitch” but rather to make a more dynamic presentation with photos, art, statistics, and videos. He claims PowerPoint to be helpful only for the “disorganized inept presenter.” Ouch!

    The teacher from the Texas school was much more open-minded when it came to understanding that PowerPoint is only a tool, and can be used to spark creativity such as her students did when retelling stories. It definitely serves an important role in lesson planning and also project delivery. In my opinion, the use of visuals is always more exciting than listening to someone solely give an oral presentation…unless they are wearing something really fun that day. As a future teacher, I plan to incorporate PowerPoint or other visuals into lessons because that way I can share videos, links, pictures, and yes, even text, that will hopefully educate students more than if I just stood in the front of the room talking. Students should be encouraged to think outside of the box, and using such softwares as PowerPoint do just that. Sherry Turkle wonders if teachers will require students to think beyond the next bullet point. I think yes, absolutely, but it depends on the teacher. If a student is not able to think beyond the next bullet point, then as Meredith pointed out, it is not an indicator of the tool but rather the educator.

    • “…if teachers will require students to think beyond the next bullet point…” Often the PPT is the end of the discussion. How can we use technology to encourage that the conversations continue?

  6. I personally think Tufte’s article to be a little overboard about Powerpoint. I think Powerpoint can be a useful tool in the classroom. It just can’t be the only or main tool used.

    For presenting, it teaches students how to sift through the wealth of knowledge they can find on a topic and pull out the big ideas. I think this is really important. As we go through life we forgot most of what we learn, especially the little or useless details. By pulling out the big points students can focus on those fact which can be applied to their own lives or higher education. While its interesting to know that Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up in Atlanta, its more important for students to remember that he was a civil rights activist and his “I Have A Dream” Speech. Think about the SOLs students are given every year. They don’t ask which is the answer. They ask which is the BETTER answer! Powerpoint is a way for student to pull out those BETTER answers.

    If used correctly a student learns how to present better with Powerpoint. Its always suggested that presenters keep minimal words on a slide. This can really help students with oral presentations. Because there are so few words students can be taught to elaborate on the points on the slide. This get them away from staring at a piece of paper or hiding behind their notes. They have to face their audience and gain more oral skills.

    While I see many benefits for the presenter, I don’t see as many for the audience. At least not for elementary level, my focus. Even as a graduate student I can get bored and zone out during a powerpoint presentation. Only if a presenter brings in other resources and strategies do I really pay attention and remember the information. For students who need to be actively engage, powerpoints are not the way to go. They can be visually interesting and still not get the information across.

    I personally don’t want to use too many, or any at all if possible, powerpoints while teaching. I think they’re a good option for students to use to help develop their own learning, but when teaching a lesson that needs to be taught to the entire class I don’t think it that helpful.

  7. While I think that Edward Tufte made some points worth considering, I don’t think it is fair to apply those arguments to the use of powerpoint presentations in general. True, powerpoint presentations do have the potential to be extremely slow, extremely redundant, and, let’s face it, extremely boring. Who can forget those long, tedious power point presentations from high school where it was clear that the creator had put more time into the visual aesthetics than the core information? We cannot forget, however, how useful they can be. If used correctly, they help the audience to put the oral presentation into context and feel more involved. I am interested to hear the type of “serious harm” powerpoint creates for the audience that Edward Tufte is referring to.They offer organized formats to display various outlets of information. They allow for the incorporation of various forms of media.
    I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the use of power point presentations interfere with learning, as was discussed on the NPR story. Powerpoint is only as powerful as the user. A content rich powerpoint presentation is proof that the student has learned the information. A poorly made power point with sparse information, on the other hand, shows that the student has not fully learned the material. It is the responsibility of the educator to differentiate between the two during instruction, and recognize the difference when assessing presentations. It is also the educator’s responsibility to teach students that powerpoint is a tool for summarizing the presentation and not the core of the presentation.
    I don’t think it is fair to make such large generalizations about powerpoint. It is a tool, and it’s success is dependent on the user.

  8. I thought Tufte’s article as well as the NPR story to be interesting but a little harsh almost. I think powerpoint has its time and its place and that it can be used in the classroom. I agree that a lot of powerpoint presenters misuse it, putting way too many words on a slide when just the main points will do, like Theresa said. When this happens, especially in upper level courses, I feel student don’t pat attention to what the teacher is saying they are just hastily trying to scribble down whatever content is on that slide into their notes in case it will later be in a test or quiz. I also think that presenters tend to get a little carried away with all of the neat tricks that can be done using powerpoint, such as having text fly in, or bounce across the screen, etc. On the flip side of too much text, I think presenters are starting to get more and more cautious of how much text they put on their slides and are starting to put too little text. Instead of using complete sentences, presenters will use broken of fragmented sentences, leaving out words or shortening them. When used correctly however, I think powerpoint can be very useful. In undergrad I took a course where we had to do 2 group oral presentations that semester using powerpoint. We could not put any words on the slide other than maybe a title and couldn’t use notes, our presentation had to be memorized. In this context powerpoint was very useful because we could use it to put pictures up that would supplement our presentation.

    Further, with this new age of SMARTboards in classrooms I think powerpoint presentations and presentations similar to that are actually kinda cool because so much more can be done with them. For instance you can make a jeopardy game for the kids to play to help them learn or review for a test or quiz. Students can be more engaged in the learning where teachers can put up questions in a powerpoint presentation and the students can answer them, students can write stories and illustrate them in powerpoint and then show them to the entire class.

    As a future teacher I think I will use powerpoints in the classroom, as an instructional tool though. I will not stand up in front of the class and solely lecture to the students through the use of powerpoint. I will use it to share pictures, videos, and other such content with maybe adding some text here and there but there will not be big blocks of nothing but text.

  9. I would say I fall somewhere in the “middle of the road” category on my view of PowerPoint. I do agree with the kindergarten teacher and the Microsoft rep on the NPR podcast that it can be a useful tool in learning and helping children to develop and bring together their thoughts as well as stimulate their learning process. I’ve never actually thought too much about the cons of PowerPoint, but after reading Tufte’s article I would have to agree with some of his points however I think he may have been a bit harsh on it. I know we’ve all heard the saying “death by PowerPoint” and I know I’ve certainly sat through many presentations that just didn’t grab my attention and with the first 3 bullet points and I checked out subsequently missing out on information I needed – if presented in a different format the presentations had the chance to quite informative and attention grabbing. All in all I think PowerPoint does to some degree limit the content to a few points and doesn’t urge students further look into the topic but I do think it can be a great tool given the right circumstances and setting.

  10. I have always had a love/hate relationship with powerpoint. Although I don’t deem is as “evil,” I do think there may be other means to better educate a classroom. I think it’s a great tool to get students to individually participate in a lesson, but I am not sure I know anyone who genuinely enjoys watching a wordy powerpoint presentation.

    Edward Tufte’s article was an interesting read, although he was a little dramatic at parts. I do agree that Powerpoint is geared towards presentations that involve a “sales pitch,” but it’s not the best tool to engage children. Powerpoint works with little writing, more visual aids and a very lively speaker. It fails if the powerpoint consists of lots of words, no pictures and a very boring presenter. I think that if a teacher wants to implement this tool in his or her classroom, they should be prepared to work extra hard to engage their students. Instead of creating a slideshow with simply bullet points, why not teach your lessons through images or videos. I have even seen interactive powerpoints that are very useful in classrooms through SmartBoards.

    I am still not sure whether I will constantly use powerpoint in my classroom, but never say never, right? I don’t plan on using it as my only tool, just because I am not sure if I can keep a kids attention through a bunch of words written on a slide. Plus, I have never seen powerpoint being utilized in the lower elementary level. It just seems like more of a benefit for the teacher, than the students. However, if I am lucky enough to have a smartboard in my future classroom, I would love to make interactive presentations for my various lessons.

    Although Tufte made valid points on powerpoint, I didn’t agree with this one: “Thus PowerPoint presentations too often resemble a school play -very loud, very slow, and very simple.” —- WRONG, I love school plays! 🙂

  11. After reading Edward Tufte’s article, Power Point is Evil and listening to the NPR podcast discussing Power Point, it seems that what Tufte and others who oppose the use of Power Point are really against is the syndrome, Death by Power Point. It usually afflicts those ho do not understand the best application of Power Point and use it for including every word stated in a presentation or try to force it to be useful in a presentation that does not require it.

    One argument Tufte gave against Power Points was against how they displayed statistical information. The example he gave was that for cancer survival rates the information is distorted when put into a Power Point. Honestly, I think that this is a great example of only using Power Point when it makes sense, and that is exactly what supporters of using Power Point in the classroom argue. In the NPR podcast, the educators they spoke with explained how Power Point is a medium, and I completely agree with it. As having been survivor of being in the audience of someone with Death by Power Point syndrome, I can attest that while those presentations are painful, there are ways to use it effectively.

    In the NPR podcast, it was suggested that Power Point helps students formulate sequenced ideas. Tufte rather argues that instead it is for people who cannot lead a presentation. Students, especially younger ones are not expert presenters. If it helps them to organize their thoughts and think and present sequentially, then I think it is a good tool.

    Tufte concludes his article with this:

    “The practical conclusions are clear. PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it. Such misuse ignores the most important rule of speaking: Respect your audience.”

    I completely agree, but before throwing out the idea of Power Point all together we need to look at ways in which it can be appropriately used.

  12. I’ve always felt that powerpoint should just be used for pictures. The whole point of a slideshow is to show pictures. A good elementary teacher shouldn’t have to rely on a slideshow for teaching.

  13. I listened to the NPR news story first. I found it to be fairly accurate. I was certainly guilty of over indulging in the ppt effects, rather than worrying about content when I was in High School. I since moved to the rule of 7 x 7 and finally at the end of my undergrad, tried to make it only a tool of displaying important figures or numbers. I do think people were excessively reliant on notecards for presentation before the birth of ppt, so it should not take all the blame. I did find the comment about how it is not always in the students best option to summarize a complex writing into 3 points as a little strange. I as a student have always found summarizing for teachers difficult and think summarizing is a very important note taking skill. By the end of the news story, I began to wonder if the process of making a power point isn’t the actual learning tool and not the presentation or finished product.

    Tuften is a little over the top. He reminds me of a sports analyst who doesn’t necessarily believe what they mean but wants to make a splash. I found one of the most interesting quotes of the article to be: “Attitude of commercialism that turns everything into a sales pitch.” As I mentioned in NPR portion, I do think ppt can take on the fashion over function mindset, but aren’t teachers supposed to be a degree of salesperson. If you are not engaging and convincing, you will lose your students. Just as a salesperson who lacks those qualities would lose their sale. I also disagree that the process of making a ppt is useless. I do agree with his point of them replacing the written report being a detrimental replacement. I did not see any facts to that being the case though. I do not see the problem with a teacher employing both methods, either for the same project or alternating between them. While using both is additional work, you now have the student gaining the ability to use in-depth research, professional writing, summarizing, using creativity, and public speaking.

    I have always felt somewhere in between not a big supporter to indifferent on ppt, but I did find myself defending it in my head while reading and listening to these reports.

  14. I also listened to the NPR news story before reading Professor Tufte’s article. I found myself agreeing with the NPR news story, and mostly disagreeing with Tufte. I liked how the NPR news story mentioned high school students looking like big executives due to their fancy presentations. I related to this as I also used to embellish my presentations in hopes of getting extra credit for my creativity. While this is not the point of PowerPoint, I do see value in creating PowerPoints: it forces the presenter to determine what information is most important, and the order of the presentation. As Tufte said, it organizes the thoughts of the disorganized.

    In order to have an effective presentation, it is important that the presenter utilize PowerPoint well. Although I think Tufte was a bit extreme, I have to agree with his statement that PowerPoint is good for organizing. Keeping an outline is helpful during presentations, for both the presenter and the audience. However, I can easily see there being major problems with presenters relying on PowerPoints too heavily. For example, if the slides are too full of information, and the presenter is actually reading instead of presenting; and this can be extremely dull. This makes the presentation boring, and, if I am your student, I will zone out.

    However, if the slides are kept basic and perhaps full of pictures, then I can see it being a great tool in a classroom setting. As the Microsoft spokesperson mentioned, PowerPoint can be a great tool for students to use to combine information from different sources in a creative manner. Students can bring in images and art to illustrate their points and enhance their presentations. As many people are visual learners, these artistic qualities can help students stay focused and engaged during presentations.

    Despite this, I do not think the slides can be too basic. I have to agree with the Professor from MIT on the NPR news story who stated that we need to learn to have complex conversations, not just extract points. I think that this is an important point for the classroom. In high school, I was guilty of copying down what the teacher had deemed important enough to write on his or her slides, and then zoning out. I figured that unless the teacher highlighted it, it wasn’t important and was unlikely to be on the tests. Why should I pay attention to things that my teacher didn’t even find important enough to highlight? For me at least, in my past teachers’ attempts to summarize information, the information summarized wasn’t lost, but the supporting information was lost as I zoned out and failed to pay attention.

    After reading and listing to these two opinions on PowerPoint, I find myself somewhere int he middle. I think that PowerPoint has its flaws, but can be a useful tool if the presenter himself utilizes it well and is interesting himself. If it is used to enhance a presentation, it can be helpful. However, if it is relied on too heavily, and is overused as Tufte says, then it is not helpful at all.

  15. After reading and listening to these arguments for and against power point, I have to say I am for and against power point 🙂 I agree that it is not the best way to PRESENT information. I don’t think it provides the right forum for initially communicating content or information to students. I do think, that once information has been established in a lesson or unit, that a power point can serve as an additional type of visual aide to review and collect information together. The article mentioned that it is being used as a substitute for information instead of a supplement, and I agree with this argument. Teacher’s can’t get lazy! I do not necessarily agree that it “harms” the audience, again, as long as it is working in collaboration with other materials and means of getting information across to students.

    The radio broadcast furthered my newly conflicted feelings on the topic. The kindergarten teacher used it as a way for her class to retell a story, thus serving as a classroom comprehension tool = pretty cool. The kids seemed excited to use it and create a tool as a class. However I do agree with the opinion that it “helps the presenter and not the audience” when used in a lecture setting.

    I suppose it could be a tool for students to demonstrate their learning, some kind of an assessment for their understanding? And in terms of using this tool as a form of teaching – it is not enough. There are better, more interactive ways of presenting information if technology is going to be used. Power points are more useful for the “office” and not so much as a primary device in the classroom.

  16. After reading the article “PowerPoint is Evil”, I have to agree with the previous posts’ opinions that Tufte’s argument seems a little harsh and extreme. I do not agree that PowerPoint is detrimental to students, or that PowerPoint’s style “seeks to set up a speaker’s dominance over the audience”! This quote seemed very extreme, especially in the context of a classroom. Students are using PowerPoint to organize their presentations and display them in an engaging format-not sell a product!

    One comment I did agree with was the fact that PowerPoint can sometimes elevate format over content. I have been guilty of this in past presentations, where I have been more focused on “making it pretty” and not focusing on the content of the subject.

    I believe that PowerPoint is just the extension of what the poster was for me growing up. We used posters as our “props” or visual aids and would list out the main points, just as one would do in PowerPoint these days. Therefore, I think Tufte’s comment about PowerPoint exercises being useless is absurd! PowerPoint lessons are not replacing lessons in writing; rather they are enhancing the students’ organizational and oral presentation skills, as well as teaching the students to recognize the salient facts within a concept.

    I thought it was refreshing to hear the NPR story about how the Kindergarten teacher was utilizing PowerPoint in her classroom. As we learned in tonight’s class, we don’t pay attention to boring things and I believe that PowerPoint’s visual aspect can help engage students, as well as help them retain the information. In response to Kenneth’s post, I would also be inclined to use PowerPoint for images more than text, especially with the lower grades.

    I believe that PowerPoint can be a useful tool and Tufte’s accusation that PowerPoint “routinely disrupts, dominates, and trivializes content” is purely user error!

  17. I feel like the PowerPoint is Evil article was right in that, teaching children to do oral school presentations on it are only teaching them to be product advertisers, not presenters. I don’t recall the last time that I saw a slide show presentation that really help teach me information, rather than just summarize what was being explained visually.

    The NPR Morning edition piece was also on the mark, talking about how PowerPoint can still be a useful tool. Key word is “Tool”. I feel like PowerPoint as a program has outgrown its novelty as a presentation tool, but has somehow moved into the definition of presentation. It would be like a teacher solely 100% using a textbook to teach. Kids and even adults can get quite bored and frustrated with the use of a tool as the means in which to learn. In a more concrete comparison, a carpenter using only a hammer to build a house, while it is a versatile tool, it can’t be the only resource in which to accomplish something that is vastly larger.

    PowerPoint has been turned from a tool, to the easy and most accepted way out when it comes to a presentation. I would venture a guess that at the mere mention of a “PowerPoint Presentation” most children and adults alike would experience a groan, a rolling of the eyes, and almost immediate loss of attention to the presentation at hand. No matter how useful or beneficial a tool is, it is still that a tool, and in no other circumstance has a “tool” been turned into such a stand alone object of complete communication.

    I agree with most of the prior comments that the misuse of PowerPoint is in user error.

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