Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Hour of PowerPoint

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we put the "fun" in Pagan! Oh, wait. It doesn't fit. How 'bout this? We put the "fun" in funeral! Spot on.

Speaking of funerals, what do you think of PowerPoint presentations?

I don't know how I missed PowerPoint until about 2006. I was strictly a Word kinda gal. As a writer, I never needed PowerPoint. As a teacher I use it sparingly.

But I've had to sit through PowerPoint presentations by the fistful, and ... pardon my vernacular ... what the fuck?

The presenter throws up a slide and then reads it word for word. This happens over and over and over again. I can read! Why is the presenter here? He could have just forwarded the PowerPoint.

Have you ever sat down for a meeting with a sheet of all the PowerPoint slides, and you leafed through it and counted them? When you got up around 60, didn't you just want to swill some laudanum and make the world go away?

When I was a kid, school teachers used to show film strips. They would put on a recording, and then wind a still-photo set of shots through a projector. This was sort of like a PowerPoint, except the audio was not identical to the video. They complemented each other.

Now striplings, I know ... I know ... times have changed. PowerPoints are an easy way to impart vast swaths of information. Fie, I say! The pox take PowerPoints! May they be scoured clean by locusts. May their first slide perish mysteriously in the darkest part of the night.

I went to college before the advent of Microsoft Office (if you can believe that). Some of the professors at Johns Hopkins (notably the paleontologists) drew on chalk boards while they lectured. Most of them just stood at a podium and talked. I had a professor named Charles Singleton. He was about 80 years old when I took his "Dante's Inferno" class. He shuffled out onto the stage and sat down in a chair. A grad student would place a microphone where he could speak into it. And then Charles Singleton talked. For 90 minutes, with a few water breaks. No slides, no script. Call me weird, but I loved it.

I wonder if Christian preachers are using PowerPoints in their sermons? Anyone know?

The moral of this diatribe is this: Either talk to me, or let me read what you want me to know. Don't stand with your back half to me and read off a slide. Worse, don't lob a slide at me and say, "This is the form you'll have to fill out, it's not as complicated as it looks." NEWSFLASH! Seeing it splayed on a big screen makes it look as formidable as the Minotaur.

PowerPoint ... the slide show gone bad. Convince me I'm wrong.

9 comments:

Lori F said...

I'm with you! I Powerpoint should Supplement the presentation, not BE the presentation. And why waste the paper printing off the PP?
I get PP in line classes at work. If they would just let me READ the bloody thing, I could get done SO much quicker.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Gawd yeah, I've sat through some absolutely abominable powerpoint presentations over the years. The absolute worse was the goofball who had all her PP slides on FLUORESCENT LIME GREEN backgrounds. "Shoot me now," I wanted to beg.

JACKIESUE said...

you lost me at power point..then you started speaking Mandarin.

Maebius said...

As a slave in the corporate jungle, I agree with you. Our training classes are this same way. Open email attachment with PPT slides, dial conference number and listen to presenter read from slides verbatim. Or worse, login to website where they are sharing their desktop, to SHOW YOU THE SLIDES?!? Horrible mismanagement and use of what can be a fun and useful technology tool. Use the slides to make pictures and graphs, but speak about the topic without reading rote. *sigh*

Anne Johnson said...

Lucky Jackiesue, to never have had to watch a PowerPoint! Overhead projector, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

It sounds from your descriptions that it isn't really PowerPoint that is the problem, but the presenters who read it to you rather than giving a real presentation.
--Kim

Davoh said...

Yer, i know, this comment actually refers to a post several back ... but hey, the internet can compress (or speed up); time.

Hadda look at yer 'rappa'.
try this fer a precis of Romeo and Juliet.
http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/denniscj/sbloke/play.html

Written by an Australian long before your 'rappa' was born.

Michele said...

Actually, PowerPoint is the modern equivalent of the film strips of yore. If they are done right. I feel your pain Anne, because I'm currently guiding my middle school students into the correct way to present a topic using PowerPoint. The trick is to have a picture, a few keywords and then the speaker actually talks about those key items. I sat through 15 PowerPoint presentations where the students read the slides. One kid got huffy when I pointed out that was the wrong way to do it. Google a PowerPoint rubric and you soon will become an expert in evaluating PowerPoint.

Anne Johnson said...

OH yeah. Five words and a photo! The point is to TALK.