It really is amazing how after all these years of creating PowerPoints, I’ve never realized that I was doing it incorrectly. After reading the article, “Beyond Bullet Points” by Cliff Atkinson, I have a fresh outlook on the process; an outlook that will greatly benefit my future students, peers, co-workers, etc. Atkinson emphasized a specific structure for creating PowerPoints and that structure should directly relate to the workings of your audiences’ memories. I have always been under the impression that a “good” PowerPoint has text, visuals, and charts (if applicable), etc. I’ve also always assumed that if you have a good PowerPoint, then you (the presenter) simply has to read the slides and present the information. Was I ever wrong! Atkinson referred to this viewpoint in a “pipeline” metaphor. This is an incorrect way to look at PowerPoint Presentations. If you want to present a powerful and meaningful presentation, than you must keep in mind that you’re not there to simply present information and if your audience doesn’t get it then too bad…you need to present information in a way that allows your audience the OPPORTUNITY to “get it”. This means, that the research done in regards to an audience member’s memory, must be taken into account. As a presenter, you cannot shovel loads and loads of information and text at the audience; they won’t have the chance to process anything! You have to present information in bits and pieces; there should be a beginning, middle and end like in a story, there should be a header and a visual on each slide; however, it is NOT necessary to fill the slide with text. You simply have to SAY what corresponds to the slide; you do not need to have written text as well. That was my biggest surprise when reading this article. No text is needed?? But, after I read that…it makes sense! Why would it be necessary to write AND say the text to the audience? They already read what was up there, don’t need to listen to you repeat yourself.
Basically, when creating a PowerPoint…Less is more! If you follow the link above, you should be able to read the article, “Beyond Bullet Points” by Cliff Atkinson, and I’d recommend everyone checking it out! I’m also embedding the PowerPoint I created after reading this article as a reference point to anyone that’s interested. It is a PowerPoint on the motion of the sun, moon, and earth; prepared for a fourth grade lesson in the earth science unit. Enjoy!