Powerpoint as Default

Next week, I am doing a workshop on “How Not To Kill with Powerpoint” at VCU. In this workshop, I draw heavily from Garr ReynoldsPresentation Zen, which is now out in its second edition. So I found this recent Slideshare preso from Rashmi Sinha to be interesting:

SlideShare Zeitgeist 2011

View more presentations from Rashmi Sinha

Her bottom line is that a review of uploaded presentations to Slideshare for 2011 showed decks with more slides, more graphics, and fewer words – totally in line with Garr Reynold’s Zen approach.

Powerpoint appears to me to still be the default presentation vehicle in classrooms, Prezi notwithstanding.  Too many presentations hit too many of the mistakes highlighted by Don McMillan in his YouTube hits:

While I find it useful to suggest Presentation Zen to fellow faculty and to laugh at Don McMillan’s over the top examples, it is also helpful to remember that one can teach and teach effectively without Powerpoint.  This was driven home to me last week at the NMC Future of Education retreat, where David Sibbet facilitated most of the sessions using a technique he calls Visual Meetings.

If you looked at my earlier posts on the retreat, you have seen some examples of the graphics that evolved during these sessions.  I did a little research, found that David had a book out on his process, and immediately bought his book – Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity.  His entering premise is “What if meetings were Fun and Productive?” Great question, and one that could easily be morphed into “What if class sessions in higher education were fun and still led to real learning?”

I tend to use Powerpoints in my classes but not use them in my workshops…though I have a powerpoint that models Presentation Zen developed for next week’s workshop.  I know my limitations, and “drawing” is one of them.  Yet David used stick figures very effectively in his facilitations, so I am rethinking my approach.

I would love some feedback from others on their presentation approaches.

  • How many are using more graphics and less words on their slides?
  • How many are shifting to Prezi for their class presentations?
  • Has anyone dropped screen projections all together and shifted to a visual meeting approach?
  • Is anyone taking visual meetings and tablets to the next step and using tablet “drawings” for their presentations?

It would be interesting to hear from you!



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