Four Score & Seven Years Ago…

Kudos to Mike Wesch on his stint as a guest blogger on Savage Minds. Particularly entertaining (and right on target) was his last post–criticisms of PowerPoint class lectures (i.e., it locks you into a linear “slide-show” format, it mandates hierarchical bullet points, it promotes “top down” lectures where the professor provides the “key” points, it encourages the use of ridiculous icons that distract the audience–like bouncing angel smiley-faces–and so on).

Mike calls our attention to Peter Norvig’s great PowerPoint version of the Gettysburg Address which well illustrates the problem–“rather than learning to write a report using sentences, students are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials.” YOU HAVE TO CHECK THIS PPT OUT!

I like his suggestion of creating self-contained interactive websites for each class topic & I plan on implementing it ASAP. Finally, I am also interested in Mike’s “anti-teacher” philosophy, but I haven’t quite figured out how I can fully implement it in the classroom yet.

I was surprised, however, by the number of Savage Mind readers & bloggers that did not see the same problems with PowerPoint technology (see the comments section).

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Categories: academia, anthropology


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