Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Being passed by the Joneses on their way back down

Lee Sigelman, after a typical lament against PowerPoint, takes note of a new data point in the endless debate:

Case in point: At least at one school (SMU), the dean is trying to talk faculty members out of using PowerPoint and to banish computers from the classroom.

Alas, at the other end of the state the “student-centered learning” fad and the promotion of the overly-teched-up classroom, to better pack the students in and delude them—or at least the accreditors—into thinking they’re getting something vaguely akin to a liberal arts education in a 170-student lecture, continues apace.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

Sorry….I love my Sympodium. I don’t use power point, but I write on the screen and my notes are projected behind me. It’s easier on my back than writing across a whole white board, but by writing them…I still go at a pace my students can keep up with. Besides, doing it on sympodium means I can easily toggle from my notes to something I’ve saved on my website or want to pull up on the web.

The problem isn’t the technology in the classroom…it’s how it’s used by the prof.


I think the Sympodium is far closer to the traditional blackboard than PowerPoint. Certainly if we had Sympodia like you guys do I’d be much more willing to use the projector in the upper division. Now I just scribble on the white board. So there’s definitely a technology problem—a disconnect between what technology is useful and which isn’t.

Alas the lower division classes are so big the only way my students can read the screen is if I use a projector, and here that means PowerPoint (although I actually use OpenOffice.org Impress-generated PDFs + Adobe Reader in full-screen mode so I can avoid missing font hell). Now I think of it I’m half tempted to get an inexpensive tablet PC and jury-rig it as a makeshift Sympodium.

[Permalink] 3. Michelle Dion wrote @ Wed, 22 Jul 2009, 9:29 pm CDT:

I’ve found that a problem with ppt and the projector of my notes (like FCS describes) is that students are looking at the screen instead of me as I speak. (Not that I really want them looking at me personally…) This can be problematic b/c some students need to look at you as you speak to really catch your meaning…the voice superimposed over the big screen is hard to follow for some…but they are often unaware that this is part of the problem.

[Permalink] 4. Michelle wrote @ Wed, 22 Jul 2009, 9:32 pm CDT:

I realize now, however, that maybe this problem occurs b/c I’m so short that students can’t see both me and screen at the same time. FCS would not have that problem.


Yes…but I have Chris’ “not looking students in the eyes” mannerism in (accident induced) spades!

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