Dr Patrick Ring presents some thoughts about the use of PowerPoint in lectures…
It’s the staple of many lectures, my own included. But what is the point? Really.
Am I walking through a pre-prepared route-map, treading from one bullet point to the next, squeezing the life out of a class that hopes fervently the next slide might be more interesting than the last one? Or are the students hanging on my every slide, treating it as the last (and for a few less industrious students, only) word on the matter? The latter is quite a thought if, for whatever reason, I had to hastily ‘bash out’ a presentation the night before for my 9am lecture.
I should say at this point, my purpose is not to share my personal tribulations in the lecture room – that might require a much larger discussion! But considering my use of PowerPoint raises for me the nature and purpose of my lecture. Is it a performance? An experience? Are the students meant to leave with a sense of enquiry, or a set of notes? Is it an interactive exchange, a call to investigate, a challenge to think? It may well be a bit of all of these things – but is PowerPoint really helping?