That PowerPoint Presentation

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Jul
  • 13
  • 2007

Dim the lights, fire up the projector, load that first slide, design in full effect: that’s exciting and something different. If your content is hot then this gimmick worked to get students in the door and your lesson will do the rest. Sometimes, that’s a good enough reason to go with it. But PowerPoint gone awry… ugh! We’ve created an awful lot of PowerPoint monsters out there. I never want to contribute to that menagerie and I’m always afraid that I already have.


I sat through a morning of professional development earlier this week. Almost the full script on the slide. Tiny font sizes used in order to get it all up there. Those tiny fonts italicized. Not a single graphic. Company branding eating up the bottom inch or two of every slide. That PowerPoint wasn’t even a gimmick.

If that PowerPoint was a doctor, it would be sued for malpractice. It was unnecessary. It didn’t help expand anything. It didn’t provide more detail. It didn’t explain things in a different way. The content presented and distributed in big 2-inch binders was fine on its own. That PowerPoint only weakened things.


PowerPoint rarely shines its technocolor glare on my overhead screen. So this PowerPoint is honestly my first attempt at using a slide deck to augment my lecture. I’ve spent more time on this PowerPoint than ever before. And that’s why I need your help. I want this PowerPoint to rock and it’s not there yet. I talk a pretty big game. Let’s see if I live up to it.


The purpose of this PowerPoint is to accompany my lecture in the classroom. If this PowerPoint stood on its own, I would simply have students view it on their own time (and I am thinking about designing some of those, too). Most slides should need further explanation.

The version embedded in this page is from SlideShare. They don’t render perfectly. Just keep that in mind when you view this. Download the complete PPT to get the full effect.

Tell me what you think. There’s a need for at least a few more of these this next year and your input could help me and my students. I don’t ask you to be kind, just honest.


1. Dan Meyer says:

[7/14/2007 - 7:13 am]

Heyyy, that’s pretty good. The photo’s feel top-heavy to me with more blank space below them than above them but maybe that’s Slideshare going off the reservation.

THe last slide seems overly complex with that font-color change but heyyy this isn’t bad at all.

Really dig the move you make on the Format section. Small changes are sometimes the most fun between slides.

And is that Miranda July on the second?

2. Todd says:

[7/14/2007 - 9:57 am]

That’s a shot from Me And You And Everyone We Know and that is Miranda July. I put that shot in there because it helps tell the story. Imagine my surprise when I realized later that entry you wrote referred to her, too.

I just finished the Format section last night. Sadly, though, that section is quickly becoming obsolete as most students send their personal statements into the colleges through an online form. Those slides will likely go away next year.

Thanks for the comments, Dan.