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When to Use PowerPoint�

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

Message Number: 
840

Presenters fail to establish ethos, their most powerful appeal. Ethos is the personal appeal of the speaker. It is classified by Aristotle as an "artistic proof" that the speaker fashions in his presentation. It involves both verbal and nonverbal elements of the message and must be carefully managed for a presentation to succeed.

Folks:

The posting below gives some good advice on when, and not when, to use PowerPoint� presentations. It is from Chapter 16, Designing Learning Experiences, from the book, Blueprint for Learning, Constructing College Courses to Facilitate, Assess, and Document Learning by Laurie Richlin. Published by Stylus Publishing, LLC

22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling, Virginia 20166-2102. ISBN: 1-57922-142-4 (cloth) / 13-digit ISBN: 978-1-57922-142-3. ISBN: 1-57922-143-2 (paper) / 13 -digit ISBN: 978-1-57922-143-0. Copyright© 2006 by Stylus Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Regards,

Rick Reis

reis@stanford.edu

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Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning

 

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When to Use PowerPoint�

 

Communication delivered over multiple channels is more efficient than communication over a single channel. Multiple channels make it more likely that the whole message will be received. An appropriate picture adds another channel. A picture aids in memory by making a visual connection to an abstract idea. PowerPoint� makes it easy to create visuals, and, by using a template, makes it easy to be consistent.

Use PowerPoint� when it makes sense and resist the temptation to use it too often.

Use PowerPoint� primarily for conveying a simple, generally informative message to a large group of people. It falters with deliberative messages or discussions with smaller groups.

Considerations

It's too easy to create slides. Because you can crank them out quickly, you make far more than are appropriate for the presentation.

It wastes time. You can use up precious time tweaking a presentation.

It wastes time too much control away from the presenter. It makes it too easy to start the presentation with PowerPoint� instead of starting with ideas and using PowerPoint� to reinforce them.

It makes for ugly presentations. Most people are not trained in design. The computer puts tools in average hands that were once reserved only for artists.

It can actually impede attention. Military analysts conjecture that recent appropriations from Capitol Hill have stalled because Congress cannot decipher the Army's complex and tedious slides.

It lends itself to unnecessary competition. Presenters-particularly students-become distracted with "dueling PowerPoint�.

It does not lend itself to spontaneous discussions in the classroom or boardroom. It is heavily scripted and is not a tool for discovery.

It does not handle text well. The general rule for PowerPoint� text is no more than three lines of text on a slide and no more than 6 words per line. Therefore, if you try to put a lot of text in a presentation of some of its most essential appeals.

Presenters rely too much on the slides for structure. Clear structure should still be part of the verbal presentation even with visual aids. The aids should reinforce the structure, not replace it. This is particularly troublesome for student presentations since students need to learn how to communicate structure verbally without visuals. If they rely on visuals for structure, they never learn how to do it themselves.

Presenters fail to establish the connections necessary to make their message memorable. They often rely too much on the visual slide to make the connection and neglect repetition, examples, metaphors and other devices that make a message memorable.

Presenters fail to establish ethos, their most powerful appeal. Ethos is the personal appeal of the speaker. It is classified by Aristotle as an "artistic proof" that the speaker fashions in his presentation. It involves both verbal and nonverbal elements of the message and must be carefully managed for a presentation to succeed. With PowerPoint�, however, many of the elements that establish ethos are blunted or negated. Speakers don't look at the audience and the audience doesn't look at the speaker. The subtle nonverbal cues are lost such as eye contact, posture, etc. Presentations tend to be read off the slide or handouts, flattening delivery.

Figure 16.7 When & How to Use PowerPoint� and Why You May Not Want To

Note. From PowerPoint Presentations: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, by S.H. Kaminski, 2003, http://www.shkaminski.com/Classes/Handouts/powerpoint.htm (retrieved August 2005). Copyright 2004 by Kaminski. Adapted