Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Using PowerPoint creates a context

My first post is inspired by this month's Big Question at Learning Circuits on the use of PowerPoint. This seems to come up regularly and many people have already made excellent points about it being only a tool and what matters is how you use it. There is also loads of stuff on what makes for good PowerPoint. I particularly liked Karl Kapp's examples.

What strikes me is that using PowerPoint creates a context.

Look at the picture above. The room is darkened. I am willing to bet there is no view of the outside - either its a room with no windows ore all curtains or blinds have been drawn. Everyone faces in the same direction. There is probably a background hum from the projector. The short sighted put on glasses and (unless they have variable focus) they can no longer easily see their notes. It also sets a social context. Most audiences will have listened to countless PowerPoint management, finance, sales, etc presentations. They expect to be passive , somewhat bored, and not to have to work hard.

All of this applies whatever is on the slides. So if you want your audience to be active, excited and hard working then you are going to have to work that bit harder to make it happen.

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