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Workshop: Avoiding Death by Powerpoint             

With the increased presence of classrooms equipped with digital projection, instructors can now project and share a variety of computer-based materials with their students. One of the most common methods of sharing information with students is to use PowerPoint presentations. Although PowerPoint can be a powerful teaching tool, it has been soundly criticized for producing boring presentations, full of endless content that fails to show context and relationships between ideas. This tendency of PowerPoint obviously works against what we as instructors should strive for: stimulating our students to connect ideas and engage in critical thinking.

This workshop will consider a number of different ways you can use the technology available in UNM’s smart classrooms, focusing on an alternative method of creating PowerPoint slides that moves beyond long lists of bullet points. We will discuss the ideas of Edward Tufte, Michael Alley, and Kathryn Neeley that suggest that PowerPoint slides should provide statements that challenge our students to think and visual presentations that stimulate our students to make connections between concepts.

After discussing the theory behind this method and examining examples, we will work as a group to create several slides that exemplify this method. Based on what you learn from this exercise, you will then have time to try out the principles on your own by creating a short slide presentation with either material you bring to the workshop or material that we will provide. The goal of the workshop is to provide you with a working knowledge of how to create effective slides that will allow your students to engage critically with the ideas you present and retain what they learn.