PowerPoint Presentations for Visual Learners: Less and More is Better

Most of us have experienced PowerPoint torture. Some of us have unknowingly and without malice inflicted it on students, colleagues, and other innocent victims.

Bored AudienceThe cruelest kind goes like this: The presentation is dense and heavy with text, bullets, and busy charts. The presenter gives the audience a fat handout that contains every slide, then turns his back on the audience to read the same information off the screen that has just been handed out to everyone.

My small, under-powered brain does not know what to do in that situation. Listen to the speaker? Watch the presentation on the screen? Read the handout? Think about the beach?

I usually can fight off the effects and appear to be attentive and engaged, but kids have less resistance to PowerPoint poisoning and often succumb.Girl Sleeping

I recently have come across a good bit of research that has changed my thinking about presenting information. My presentations will be less wordy, have fewer (if any) bullets, and be much more visually stimulating.

Much of what I’ve learned has been corralled in this blog dedicated to using PowerPoint to effectively communicate. (There are many informative posts, but if you are pressed for time, scroll down and look for the ‘Top Posts’ category on the right sidebar.)

LincolnAnd for a great example of what NOT to do with PowerPoint, see this version of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address imagined as a PowerPoint presentation.

Would you like to help develop a PowerPoint ‘best practices’ guide for District teachers? If so, please contribute to a new article on the District Wiki.