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Tag: power point

We Don’t Do PowerPoint

On the drive home, listening to a segment from On The Media (an excellent podcast from NPR) that illustrates just how far behind the federal government is when it comes to the digital world.

Well, almost everything in the Pentagon, if it’s a briefing on a war plan, on a weapons procurement, it’s all done on PowerPoint these days. And the National Archive is currently unable to accept and process either PowerPoint slides or Microsoft Word documents.

So the National Archives are basically telling all the federal agencies, listen, we can’t do anything with these now so just hang onto them and file them rationally until we get around to it.

Until a few years ago, they could not accept email with attachments, digital photos or PDF documents. That’s just in the last few years. They supposedly are putting together an electronic record archive, but it will not be ready for at least three years.

It sounds incredible that an agency tasked with archiving all the records of our government is unable to handle the most common digital formats for documents used anywhere in the world.

You have to imagine the archivists in DC must be going nuts over the fact that the president’s weekly address to the nation is in H.264 Flash video on YouTube.

Among many other things, President Obama pledged during the campaign and since taking office to “Open Up Government to its Citizens” and “Bring Government into the 21st Century”.

Considering PowerPoint and Word are relics from the 20th century, his technology people could have a more difficult task ahead of them than his economics team.

Can I Have Your Attention?

Professor Anonymous is not happy with her college classes.

It seems, that despite her brilliant preparation and PowerPoint slides, the students insist on staring at their laptop screens during her lectures.

What could possibly be wrong?

While my lecture notes have stayed the same, everything else about my lectures have changed. In addition to my folder of notes and a tattered textbook, I also come to class with a flash drive around my neck. As I warm up the projector, I joke with the kids about reality TV shows. Now my lectures on American government are accompanied by my trusty Power Point slides. On one side of the slide is a neat outline or a definition. On the other side, there’s an image that’s usually aimed at gathering a few cheap laughs.

She’s also has doubts about putting her notes online and doesn’t care for what the students have to say at Rate My Professor.

Read the whole piece and tell me if this is satire or serious. I certainly hope it’s supposed to be funny.

Otherwise this is an incredibly clueless teacher when it comes to using digital tools to involve students in their own learning rather than just lecturing at them.

Sleeping Through PowerPoint

The place of technology in the classroom is a topic being debated on many college campuses, including Princeton.

The two biggest problems identified so far? PowerPoint presentations and laptops in the classroom.

Concerning laptop use, faculty members said one of their worries is that the internet’s ocean of resources makes it more difficult for students to decide what information is trustworthy. But for the most part, they said, the chief annoyance is when students use laptops in class for purposes other than academics.

The first part of that concern is really a red herring. Teaching students to evaluate information, from the web or anywhere else, should be a key part of the curriculum at every level, even an Ivy League university.

So, faculty members are mostly annoyed that students are surfing the web instead of paying attention to their lectures. Who’s fault is that?

Then there’s PowerPoint.

PowerPoint slideshows were another concern addressed during the meeting. Though they are the standard format for many Princeton lectures, doubts surfaced yesterday regarding their merit as a method of instruction.

“Princeton prides itself on its precepts and lectures,” history professor Graham Burnett said. “Those very precepts and lectures are now under siege … [PowerPoint] induces a very static and ultimately boring presentation.”

Again, who’s fault is that? PowerPoint doesn’t “induce” anything. Boring lectures are going to be boring with or without the accompanying slide show.

Beyond slide shows being the cause of poor teaching, some also blame them for truancy.

Slideshows posted on Blackboard, suspected to be a widespread excuse for truancy, are PowerPoint’s second pitfall, the panelists said.

“I post presentations online so that my students are not scribbling furiously in class,” computer science professor Brian Kernighan said, “but that can also inspire [students] to stay in bed and download all the notes.”

Other than the fact that someone is paying big bucks for them to attend Princeton, I’m not sure I blame the students for staying in bed.

If they can learn the material by viewing the slide shows online, pass the tests, and not have to sit through boring presentations, why not?

Mmmm…. laptops, PowerPoint, Blackboard. That sounds like the edtech foundation of a certain overly-large school district around here.

No connection implied, however. :-)

[Thanks to edtechNOT for the link]

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