11/5/12 Blog Post: Power Point

Prior to reading Edward Tufte’s article, I had never really thought much of PowerPoint in a negative sense.  It had always seemed like an efficient and effective tool for presentations/lectures.  However, I will say that Tufte’s criticisms of the program have caused me to doubt PowerPoint more than I used to.  One thing which Tufte points out, that I am now starting to realize is a problem, is the over emphasis on the style of a slide show rather than its content.  This leads to some rather confusing presentations, as information is not presented in a clear manner.  Another issue with PowerPoint that I have noticed is that the presenter will often put too much information onto the slides, which makes their overall presentation quite boring and makes it difficult to keep up with note taking, since there is too much to write down.

The problem of cramming slides with information was not a problem at all with the Gettysburg presentation, as there was very few bullet points at all contained within the slide show.  However, I felt the slides were a little to vague in this presentation, which would also make note taking difficult because it would be hard to keep up with which discussion point the presenter is on.  This is a problem I have especially noticed while in college.  Many lecturers do not guide the audience through the slides clearly enough, which can cause confusion.  As a result, the audience has a troublesome time trying to understand the bigger picture which the lecturer is trying to paint.

What the PowerPoint articles have showed me is that there are many issues which currently exist in regards to power point presentation.  Usually slide shows are either over done, with excessive design or too much information, or they provide too little information.  The simplest way to fix this is to place an emphasis on slide shows which fall somewhere in between.  The slides should be simple, with a minimal amount of bullet points.  In order to make this work though, the presenter needs to be sure that they stick to the structure of their slide show and not jump about through bullet points.  They should also make sure that it is clear which bullet point they are focusing on before they begin to continue their discussion.  I believe that doing these things can truly help to solve some of the woes of PowerPoint presentations.

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