Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Death by Powerpoint

I have just survived 3 days of Powerpoint-based training. I am sure that Jews in concentration camps have endured a worse destiny, but it was really tough.

Trainees would gaze in silence to the screen, while the teacher would talk for hours without interacting with the audience, flipping through hundreds of slides. Nobody would ask any question. No debate. Horrible.

When I attended University, from 1981 to 1986, teachers would simply draw sketches and formulas on a blackboard. It never took me more that 5 days to prepare an exam, because during the lessons I had already assimilated the concepts.

Then in 1985 teachers started using slides - transparent films projected on a screen by a lamp. Those exams were MUCH harder to prepare - it took me more and my marks were lower.

When you can see a concept grow, move, evolve through signs on a blackboard, you understand.
When you see a static diagram where all the information is already arranged, you don't grasp why on earth we ended up there.

Motion, drama, accompanying the development of an idea... this is the key to learning.

Powerpoint is the death of participation, of communication.

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