4.29.2010

Powerpoint = Bad (usually)

Powerpoint makes us stupid.
--
Gen. James N. Mattis, Marine Corps Joint Forces Commander

[Powerpoint] is dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control. Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.
--
Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who has been known to "[ban] Powerpoint presentations"

When we understand that slide, we'll have won the war.
--
General Stanley A. McChrystal, referring to the slide image below, after which the room "erupted in laughter" (NY Times)

These quotes are from a great NY Times article by Elisabeth Bumiller called "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Powerpoint:"
Hi-res version available here


So why is Powerpoint bad? Well, if a tool meant for helping communication ends up harming communication - especially for the military - the only result will be confusion (and lack of communication).

A GREAT presentation-related read

Last month I read Garr Reynolds' book Presentation Zen, and I visit his blog of the same name more than any other on the web. I'm no presentation-expert but I gotta say it's a must-read for anyone who ever presents.

I think of Garr's words every time before I speak, even it's just to a math class of 14-year-olds. But I have a long ways to go before I'll consider myself a strong presenter.

My past presentations
I admit I've misused Powerpoint far more than I feel I properly used it. In fact the presentations I'm most proud of are those for which I barely used Powerpoint, if at all:
  1. *KSDE Conference, Wichita, April 09 - I drew a bunch of slides to present about the math screencasts I make for my high school. I then inserted these images into Powerpoint so I could a) cycle through them easily and b) fit them in with the slides of the 3 other individuals with whom I presented (science teachers Becky Steiger and Mary Mignano and math teacher Becky Hickert).
  2. *EDCI 803 Curriculum Development Master's Class, Manhattan, May 09 - for my final paper, I interviewed my mom, a middle school math teacher and district curriculum director in Marion, KS. For the class we were asked to present about our final paper so, again, I drew a bunch of slides and just showed them using Apple's Preview software (the COE at K-State is pretty much Macs only... I love it).
Neither of these were great presentations by any means, but the results pleased me.

I'm sure I'll talk about Powerpoint/presentations in general several more times in the future; until then, that's it for now.

*I'll try to locate these two presentations to include in this or a later post. -ts

No comments:

Post a Comment