No more “death by Powerpoint”. Stop killing your students’ interest with dull Powerpoint presentations. Don’t get me wrong, this is not another anti-lecture screed. I’m not against lecture and I’m not against using Powerpoint (or Keynote for you Apple fan boys or Libre/Open Office for the liberated). I’m against bad lecture and bad Powerpoint. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can do better. I know because once upon a time I was a bad Powerpoint user. Not the worst. I didn’t kill many classes, but I managed to put some into a bullet-point induced coma. Then I discovered the science behind Powerpoint. Yes, there’s real science behind using Powerpoint. Go study or Google some of Richard Mayer’s work on multimedia and learning.
Here’s part of the problem. Many of us use Powerpoint as our authoring/editing/writing tool to conceive of and develop our speech. We use it as a thinking tool. It’s actually pretty good at that, especially for visual-spatial types like myself. There’s an outline tool, we can use bullets, we can insert graphics, and then we can sort it all. We can zoom in on one point or idea (a slide) or we can look at the big picture. The problem and the impending death happens when we use what we really created for ourselves as the actual visual aid for the class or audience. In other words, we stop too soon. We stop when the Powerpoint we need as the speaker, but we haven’t yet produced the Powerpoint the class or audience needs as learners. Fortunately, it’s not hard to go the extra steps to take what we’ve created and make it class-room or audience-ready. In fact, it can be done easily in only 8-10 easy steps.
What I’ve done here is create a simple Powerpoint-style presentation that outlines those 10 easy steps to Powerpoint Resurrection.