Thursday, August 06, 2009

To the PowerPoint haters...

I know the arguments against PowerPoint-- and, I can see how some people use the tool poorly.

I also know that some people use hammers poorly and for the wrong things, but bloggers and administrators don't object to hammers...

I went to college in a non-PowerPoint time. As an undergraduate we had computers in the lab, but not in the classroom. As a grad student I don't think there was even a ceiling projector in our seminar room, although I could be wrong -- but, I don't recall anybody using it -- ever. I'm not sure any of the rooms even had a whiteboard -- so we didn't even have colors... just chalk and slate.

As a student I had plenty of bad and boring teachers -- NONE of them were able to present their boring stuff using PowerPoint.
  • The sociology prof who couldn't speak English had to write the whole lecture on the board -- in fragments.
  • The religion teacher who called my current religion a 'cult' and refused to stop when I told her I was offended wrote everything on the board.
  • The woman teaching the humanities class on 7 Saturdays who just split up her USED overheads into 7 sections and droned on -- all would have been helped by PowerPoint.

The sociology prof could have let us download his PowerPoints, at least then we'd be able to follow along and he'd have been able to cover the material on the syllabus. Also, we'd be able to read the PowerPoint slides instead of guessing what his handwriting said...

The religion teacher could have included some amusing graphics while she slandered my chosen Christian sect. She also could have put in clips of "Big Love" to complete the insult. I also could have had hard evidence that she'd called us a cult, so I could complain about her beyond the department chair 'Dr. I don't give a hoot'. The religion teacher was an adjunct who richly deserved to be fired... she couldn't even justify the B+ she gave me -- because she lost my final paper -- which had to have been a C---- to 'earn' me a B+ in the course. She still teaches there...

The humanities prof could have saved valuable time by keeping her slides in order -- unlike the way she "lectured" -- not taking questions and often having her used overhead sheets out of order. She could have included images to show us the stuff she's talking about -- rather than just describe it, poorly.

My point is, poor teachers are poor teachers no matter what tools they use. Don't blame PowerPoint for the academy's horrific failure to teach professors how to teach. That makes as much sense as blaming the hammer when I decide to use it to open a bottle of wine...

4 comments:

Seeking Solace said...

I don't like Power Point. I think it makes an already poor teacher, worse.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I have enough about this to do another post...

Anastasia said...

the idea of a religion teacher who uses the word "cult" in the manner you describe is just...baffling. what is wrong with hir??

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

She was really not very bright -- and she was very odd in other ways. She was quite anti-religion, or -- at least anti-Catholic and anti-Mormon. We had to hear stories about how she thought the Catholic church ruined her life etc..