Friday, January 13, 2006

Death by PowerPoint

I know Crazy P will be familiar with the concept, as likely will the guys at The Officers' Club. Rather than using PowerPoint correctly as a visual aid/breifing tool, people cram every single bit of information on each slide that they consider relevant and read it off the slide in front of groups of (in my case) students. I'm guilty of it, as are many other officers in the Navy. It's so bad that there are no longer any hard-copy lesson plans - instructors just get up in front of the students and use the SMART Board as a crutch (if they even know how to use the SMART Board).

I've heard that all briefs to the Chief of Naval Operations must be no longer than ten PowerPoint slides with no more than three bullets on each slide and NO "Questions?" slide. Make sense if you're the big guy and just need to get the big picture, right? Well, this issue is addressed in this article, PowerPoint Makes You Dumb (originally published in the NYT).

Anyway, I started keeping track of the number of slides after a particularly grueling, unfocused and "weedy" lecture. Here is the breakdown for the week:

09 JAN10 JAN11 JAN12 JAN13 JAN

I'd like you to know I do pay attention, because I think this is important information, but the overdependence on PowerPoint tries my patience and attention span. When I was helping to restructure the training for division officers, we almost completely eliminated PowerPoint lectures in favor of participatory discussion-based classes. Facilitation. That didn't last long; as soon as we got the SMART Boards, the hard-copy student and facilitator guides disappear, there were no enabling objectives... I hope things have improved since I left.

Anyway I'm going to be gathering these statistics to entertain myself.


Blogger Nicki bloody well said...

Oh dude! I'm SO tracking with that! I usually teach the military classes I teach from memory, so as not to bore the Soldiers with Powerpoint slides. But no... I was informed I had to put every piece of information on a Powerpoint slide -- as a record (!?!?!?!). I HATE Powerpoint! Whoever invented it needs to be fed a fast-acting poison!

13 January, 2006 13:37  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

No, no, darling... kill them slowly. Savor it. Noticed my table's a bit cocked up, though.

13 January, 2006 14:22  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

Nevermind, the data's right, I forgot that I had over 400 slides today as well as Tuesday.

The NYT article is awesome, too.

13 January, 2006 14:25  
Blogger Nicki bloody well said...

LOL - Yeah. Slow acting poisons work too - the kind that cause seizures, drooling and bleeding from the eyes.

400 slides??? GOOD GAWD!!! I'd be sticking a spork in my ear for recreational purposes!

I'm so glad someone else understands my pain!

13 January, 2006 14:36  
Blogger Crazy Politico bloody well said...

I teach 32 hours of Radar and Radar Environmentals and don't have 439 slides!

I do about 50 slides per 8 hour class, which is too many at times. Which means I'm using less slides for my 32 hours than you guys did in ANY of your 8 hour sessions!

14 January, 2006 22:46  

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