Thursday, April 19, 2007

And I just thought I was bored ...

I have never used PowerPoint, now I can feel self-righteous about the fact. The Telegraph reports on a new study,

The study, at the University of New South Wales, branded PowerPoint presentations a disaster and called for them to be scrapped.

Prof John Sweller said there was a scientific explanation for a room full of PowerPoint viewers yawning and looking at their watches after a couple of minutes.

He said: "If you have ever wondered why your eyes start glazing over as you read those dot points on the screen, at the same time words are being spoken, it is because it is difficult to process information if it is coming in the written and spoken form at the same time."

This is a little unfair as I have actually seen it used quite well and creatively but it is rare. Most of the time it is little more than a prop which slows and distracts, rather than enhances what is being said. What is rarer still is to go to a presentation that does not use it; it is now ubiquitous. What would the orators of the past, who relied purely on the power of language, think?

(Just a thought, the Chartists might have liked it. The six points, all nicely bulleted with little graphics with each one, sliding across a big screen on Kersal Moor - perhaps not.)

1 comment:

Rikki said...

Ahh the joys of PowerPoint - I think there has been a misunderstanding - Slides are supposed to be Visual Aids to a presentation - yet most have little if any visual content.

Instead people use them as a means of developing a speech - the more information on the slide the less prepared the speakers is and so the more they have to read from the slides.

Essentially a PowerPoint presentation tends to be the speakers notes and generally I think speakers should keep their notes to themselves rather than share them.