The problem with PowerPoint

From BBC News (shouldn’t this be rather old news?) comes a nice look into the 25th anniversary of PowerPoint.

The semester just started, and soon the freshmen and later-hopefully-to-be teachers are pouring in by the hundreds. Sitting on the lawn, knocking on our office door, asking good and dumb questions (they are human beings, almost like us!) and equipped with volleyballs and beer cans. Ready to take on the world.

These students are approx. 19 yrs old. They are to become teachers in four yrs time. They haven’t lived a day of their lives without PowerPoint existing in their world. And still we find teachers trying to pretend the whole PowerPoint thing never really caught on. (Hard to argue with the number of presentations held every minute…)

Personally, as a mathematics lecturer, I tend to appreciate that linear thinking is reeeeeeeeeeeally not the way stuff happens inside our brains. Textbooks and teachers try to persuade us to think this is the way mathematics came about. Not so. Hence, I have gotten into the habbit of having a slide no.1 stating just that “Where do we go from here”, equipped with a mindmap or something similar.

So Happy Birthday PowerPoint. May you NOT try to change our thinking in linear, often bad, ways, but rather help us convey ideas in meaningful and creative ways.

Read the article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8207849.stm

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