Monday, 13 August 2007

Pedagogic PowerPoint 2

I've been looking at some of the recommended reading for an MSC I've just enrolled on.

One of the books, Brabazon, T. (2002) Digital hemlock: internet education and the poisoning of teaching, looks like a provocative read (i.e. something to disagree with).

I found another article by the author on the ipodification of space (iPod consistently written as i-Pod!) with a truly toe-curling opening paragraph which doesn't bode well:
Our popular cultural clocks stop at the point of our greatest immersion, passion and excess. For me, 1987 was the musical zenith. I never quite recovered from acid house, chalk-stiff styling mousse, black eyeliner and pixie boots. I remember Rick Astley with fondness ...
Enough already!

I've reluctantly ordered a copy but a review I came across would seem to indicate that the book articulates some familiar (remember David Noble's Digital Diploma Mills?) criticisms of technology. PowerPoint is one tool that comes in for a particular bashing.

However, it looks like another case of an author citing the poorest possible uses of technology in order to discredit its use (it's Edward Tufte again) just like some awful old right-winger citing Stalin in order to dismiss communism.

I wouldn't defend for a second a tedious lecture supported by PowerPoint, but "mental absenteeism" in the lecture theatre (see pic below) and students bunking off lectures existed well before that Microsoft product so many love to hate.

I'm with Kinchin on PowerPoint:
…what PowerPoint is actually doing is to make explicit the taken-for-granted assumptions and implicit epistemological leanings of lecturers who are using it. The stereotypic teacher-centred, noninteractive mode of lecturing … is simply clarified and amplified by the use of PowerPoint. (Kinchin, 2006 p.647 - see my PP presentation for full reference)

1 comment:

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