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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Killing PowerPoint

This essay explains why PowerPoint should be banned and then killed, using PowerPoint slides to illustrate. I especially like the mocking "PowerPoint Karaoke" shows.

My experience at a conference last week leads me to one more thought: If the audience could follow and understand what you are talking about even without the PowerPoint, then you do not need it and should ditch it.

I was the third paper on a three-person panel. I was presenting my empirical study of the infield fly rule, which includes a number of tables, a photograph, and several charts marking the location of batted balls. The talk would be utterly incomprehensible without the slides (it may not be comprehensible with them, but that is another story). I cannot talk about the conclusions to draw from the location of a batted ball unless people can see where the batted ball is; I cannot talk about five seasons worth of data in four different game situations without the audience being able to look at the numbers in a chart.

Unfortunately, the projector was not working initially. The second presenter still managed to get through the talk perfectly clearly, which may prove the point. The moderator whispered that I should "do my best" without the slides, although I cannot imagine what that would have entailed. But the moderator thought it was possible, which shows that most PP is supplemental to the talk at best,  unnecessary at worst, and likely little more than extraneous in the main run of cases.

Fortunately, they managed to get things working right before I was to start, so I only had to deal with the threat of the other great risk of using technology--that likelihood that it will not work.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 30, 2015 at 06:12 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink


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