After reading “PowerPoint is Evil,” by Edward Tufte, and exploring the “Gettysburg PowerPoint,” I would have to agree with many if not all of Tufte’s statements.
I have never been a fan of PowerPoint because I find it distracting, boring and simple. I am not an overly creative person, though, I would rather stand in front of an audience and give a rant than read straight off a screen in bullet format. I find PowerPoints to be for those who do not like to communicate face to face with audiences. I am no stranger to having nerves when it comes to presentations or speaking about subjects I am not confident in, though, I find PowerPoints to be tedious because no one is actually listening to what you have to say.
The simplicity, the basic coloring, and the pie charts that often accompany PowerPoints are what make them truly unbearable. I am not sure how many times in my academic career I have found myself staring at the same sentence over and over trying to absorb the content that is being presented-when in fact I am totally lost or bored.
I am a firm believer in reading and discussion because I find that people learn more when they are presented with not only numbers or figures, or in the case of PowerPoints, condensed information to make it “easier” to grasp the subject being presented.
I understand the business technique behind PowerPoints. They are short, fast, leave little room for educated discussions, and help people get to their points faster. I am not being totally hypocritical, because I have used my share of power points throughout high school and college, but sometimes I miss the homemade poster board or debate technique that accompanied many of my courses throughout the years.
As far as historical data is concerned, I understand why historians would use PowerPoint to generate discussions or have ground facts present during presentations or projects, but overall I would rather have an interactive discussion about the data than just be present and hope the information is retained in my memory.