Confession: I'm not a PowerPointer. For me, it's not a pro-tech/anti-tech issue. (Heck, this is a teaching blog; how much more high-tech can you get?) And as the pro- piece argues, PowerPoint can (like every technique or technology) be used well or badly. But here are my main reasons for my PowerPoint abstinence:
- Dim lights = dim brains? If your students have any inclination whatsoever to ignore you (or sleep!) turning the lights off won't help.
- Note taking: Writing on the board takes time. With PowerPoint, the text is already there, so to speak, and as a result, instructors sometimes go far too quickly for students to keep up and take notes. I also believe (though I concede my evidence is minimal) that students perceive PowerPoint to be somehow more authoritative than written text, with the result that they write down only what the slides say. It's only a hunch, but I suspect PowerPoint might discourage a more active or detailed approach to note taking.
- Engagement and dialogue: Again, this is very unscientific, but when I walk the halls of my university I see the blue glow of PowerPoint in classrooms and rarely are those classrooms filled with much interaction. It just seems like so long as the slides are up there, they're what matters (not the reactions, questions, concerns, etc. that the slides' content might prompt in the audience). It's as if PowerPoint artificially confines interaction and discussion to those moments when it's not in use