Against powerpoint

Mark Goetz has created a wonderful new infographic against powerpoint overuse.

click image for larger

Being a serious ppt addict I often find myself questioning the role of powerpoint in education and communication ( see for example Teaching with powerpoint & Do you hand out your handouts?). Ok so I will admit that I did not know who Edward Tufte was, but Wikipedia is very educational! Tufte ciriticized powerpoint in his essay “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint” here are the highlights from the essay (via Wikipedia):

  • It is used to guide and to reassure a presenter, rather than to enlighten the audience;
  • It has unhelpfully simplistic tables and charts, resulting from the low resolution of early computer displays;
  • The outliner causes ideas to be arranged in an unnecessarily deep hierarchy, itself subverted by the need to restate the hierarchy on each slide;
  • Enforcement of the audience’s linear progression through that hierarchy (whereas with handouts, readers could browse and relate items at their leisure);
  • Poor typography and chart layout, from presenters who are poor designers and who use poorly designed templates and default settings (in particular, difficulty in using scientific notation);
  • Simplistic thinking, from ideas being squashed into bulleted lists, and stories with beginning, middle, and end being turned into a collection of disparate, loosely disguised points. This may present an image of objectivity and neutrality that people associate with science, technology, and “bullet points”.

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