PowerPoint or PowerNap?

Notebooks out, time to start class– another PowerPoint comes up. Is this what I’m paying tuition for? I don’t need a PhD instructor to read something I can read for myself. I don’t remember encountering this excessive amount of PowerPoint use in high school or earlier education. I think it’s important to remind instructors that students appreciate and really learn from engagement in discussions. It’s hard to get motivated to attend class when you know you’re not going to miss out on anything imperative and can just print out the PowerPoint’s on your own.

What’s interesting is that professors usually have strong feelings towards this teaching tool. Many of my professors use it on a daily bases, while others refuse the thought of using PowerPoint in their class. Leslie Takaki, a Communication graduate student and previous Public Speaking instructor feels that PowerPoint often gets misused, “A lot of instructors use it as a crutch. I think there should be classes or mandatory tutorials on how to use it successfully. I sometimes use it for large classes, but I made sure to Google how to use PowerPoint effectively.” http://www.garrreynolds.com/Presentation/index.html

There’s no doubt on my mind that PowerPoint can be used effectively and may be appropriate in some circumstances. However, I don’t think it’s the best teaching mechanism. Students attend class to learn, not to see what kind of background or font the professor chose to use on their PowerPoint. Instructors complain about students falling asleep in class, but if they had to sit through their own PowerPoints, so would they!

What’s your experience? Is PowerPoint an efficient teaching tool or just a teleprompter for professors?





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