Thursday, December 15

PowerPoint... Back in Style

It was good to see the recent article by Jay Cross concerning PowerPoint in the latest issue of Chief Learning Officer. PowerPoint is probably the most misunderstood, misused and maligned software program used for instruction today. I started using PowerPoint over 10 years ago in the Education arena. Because budgets are so tight in public education and you can find PowerPoint installed on all the computers in our district, I've really been pushing teacher use/instruction of PowerPoint for incorporating into the daily, instructional process of our classes. I even started a free teacher resource site for them to access called, as well as sending out a monthly newsletter. Beginning with the 2005 school year, I'm even teaching an experimental class called Presentation Skills. This class is a combination of Public Speaking, Drama and Technology all on steroids. Part of the responsibility of the class during the 2nd semester will be for them to fulfill the role of a tutor to assigned teachers, and let the students teach the teachers how to design / develop effective / engaging instruction for the classroom. It was interesting to note how concepts from Cliff Atkinson's book "Beyond Bullet Points" is now reaching the mainstream of business sector training initiatives. I've been using that approach this year in teaching concepts to my Presentation Skills class. By the end of this first semester, they're all well versed in how to use images as metaphors and develop their message. Now I'm curious...where will we and PowerPoint go from here???


Dave Lee said...

I agree John. Powerpoint has taken a bad rap due to misuse. In my last job, powerpoint was used as nothing more that a word processor that would produce pages and pages of bullet points referred to in the company lingo as a "deck." If you dared to stray away from the prescribed format and use an animation or color or even different font to make your argument you were informed that you didn't have good communication skills and that your future prospects with the company would be compromised if you didn't learn how to use Powerpoint properly!

Powerpoint is at it's best as a presentation support tool. It's wonderful to hear that you are teaching today's high school students how to use images as metaphors and how to develop their message. Far too many of today's business people have no clue what a good metaphor is let alone how to build one!

Simon Raybould said...

I basically agree - though as I work as a specialist in presentation skills training I'm probably biased! :)

That said, it's worth remembering that PPT isn't the only option. Keynote is probably better, all things considered and OpenOffice Impress is coming up nicely on the rails too....

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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