Thursday, November 1, 2007

NPR thoughts

This is just a summary of the NPR report, so I don't forget it all by next week. The report questions the benefits or harms of power point at school settings. It asks whether or not this natural step of development in the world of technology is getting in the way of learning.
One teacher shows how that opened a million possibilities to the students and got them very engaged in school projects. The students can also use power point as a tool to organize and bring together data from so many different sources.
For teachers power point is harmful. It is only useful for the presenter who is disorganized, and it does intellectual harm to to the other presenters. It doesn't help the audience. Students will be led to only think about what points the can extract from a text they read instead of actually having a meaningful critical conversation about it.
I think the pros and cons are valid. But as it was pointed out during the report - power point is just a tool, and tools can usually be used both in good and bad ways. Usually overuse of anything is bad. SO I guess if one uses power point so often that he starts to see the world is points and bullets... maybe that is not a very good thing, because that is not really how the world works. But if someone uses it in a way that helps them and the audience who will be watching to understand the essence of the message and if that is done in an engaging way (I am not that familiar with power point, but I have seen pretty boring power point presentations), I can see how that would bring benefits.
It is true, it is more useful for the presenter than for the audience. But it doesn't mean it doesn't help the audience at all.

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