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

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