Saturday, 27 November 2004

PowerPoint in education

I've blogged about my general disdain for PowerPoint before, so I'm glad to see that AmShazam over at MIT has commented on how PowerPoint has been badly used by educators. I remember back in college that almost none of my professors used PowerPoint. I think it was a recognition that there are certain issues with using a business-presentation program as a tool of pedagogy. I remember talking to someone here in Singapore about how great it was that my profs still used chalk, and he acted surprised at how low-tech it seemed. I thought it was pathetic, really, to assume that good teaching must involve the latest technology, without even analysing whether that technology suits the needs of the teacher.

I agree, PowerPoint is only a tool, and you can be a great professor/lecturer that uses PowerPoint, but it's a tool that's much easier to use to generate linear presentations than the freewheeling discussions that good classes require. It's just not really designed for adding in new points or new ideas that arise from discussions, but rather designed more to showcase a finished product/idea. Perhaps what professors really need is collaborative software, something like GE's Imagination at Work interactive whiteboard but with more text / equations emphasis.

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