Out With the Old, In With the New Part III

Death by PowerPoint vs. Getting My Act Together With Power Point

Many years ago I attended a workshop presented at Phoenix College by Liz O’Brien, Communications professor. It was called “Death by Power Point;” the purpose of the workshop was to demonstrate how “power points” kill active learning and engagement in the classroom. She modeled how to use power point presentations to guide your lectures and structure the class time. She listed all the “Do Nots,” including too many words, regurgitation of lecture, etc. In the few cases I have used power point, I think I have usually followed her guidelines closely. The most difficult piece for me, of course, is to limit my words. I also find attending power point led presentations boring and monotonous. As a result, I rarely use them in my teaching.

After observing my mentees and their dedicated use of power point, I had an epiphany: Maybe I was being close-minded! :0

I am at the opposite end of “minimalist” on the neatness spectrum. Basically, it’s how I work! After grading a set of papers, you will find mini-lists of points to review when I return them, sticky notes with notes to students, more sticky notes with reminders to myself, and more sticky notes marking places to remember to review or emphasize to students (and that may include a sticky note with an example or two.)

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Yes, I overwhelm myself!

SO…I gathered an entire folder of sticky notes and other notes and created a power point presentation! I now have a chapter-by-chapter review of American Wasteland to share with students when I return their RRRLogs (reflections.) Most of the comments, reminders, clarifications, and points to emphasize are the same semester-to-semester so I will not have to rewrite them. I can add/remove as is necessary, it is all in one place, and students can “see” what I am talking about. I do not think I will “put every thing on a power point” but I like the way this little project played out! One more lesson for the mentor from the mentees! Thanks Sherry and Sara!


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