PowerPoint and the Big Glass Barrier

by Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Recently, I wrote a post that looked at PowerPoint as just one educational tool out of many. The point I was trying to make is that just because PowerPoint is easy to use, it isn’t always the right tool for the job.

Well, I came across an article on NPR recently that provides some interesting voices in the conversation about presentation software. Alan Yu reports on military, academic, and corporate entities (among them, Amazon.com) that have declared all out war on PowerPoint by banning it from meetings and presentations.  Yu quotes Andrew Asker, one of the organizers of a physics forum that traded PowerPoint for old-fashioned white boards and markers. Askew says the transition was “like a big glass barrier was removed between the speaker and the audience”.

If you are interested in learning more about how practices in the professional world could help inform your teaching, read the full article here.

 

Do you ever notice a “big glass barrier” between you and your students? Do you think PowerPoint contributes to this? Have you tried moving away from PowerPoint and noticed any changes in how you interact with students? Leave a comment and let us know.

7 thoughts on “PowerPoint and the Big Glass Barrier

  1. Very interesting and certainly fits in with changes to the nursing curriculum with more active engagement.

    Gail McILvain-simpson

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    • I see what you mean, Gail, about active engagement. PowerPoint is good for many things, but the companies and organizations cited in the article seem to claim that it is not meant for encouraging engagement.

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  2. I was thinking of all the active learning strategies we have been exploring to engage students and that use of Power Point is not very useful. I think my first statement may have been a little confusing.

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    • No, I get you. I think we are on the same page, but that I worded my response poorly. What I meant was that these companies have found PowerPoint to disengage their audiences, and a lot of instructors have found the same thing. Just like these companies are taking steps to promote engagement, so are a lot of instructors.

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  3. I agree and am glad to see that someone “important” agrees with me. I rarely use power point (or similar presentation tools) in the classroom except to put up questions for the students to interact with each other about or to summarize a grammar lesson, which I can also post on Blackboard for the students to go back and review or for those who had to miss class.

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    • Martha, I appreciate your examples of how you use PowerPoint. They give me an idea for a good principle to keep in mind when using presentation software: If it won’t foster interaction, proceed with caution.

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  4. Pingback: From the archives: “Presentation Problems” and more | Ask CCIT!

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