Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Digital Technology

PowerPoint Is Good/Evil

Steve Taylor (e~mergent kiwi: traffic) and Maggi Dawn (which one’s Evil: power point or church? ) have been commenting on the use of PowerPoint on their blogs (esp. within church). It’s a medium that I both love and hate – it never quite does what I want it to, I always end up with both an electronic presentation and my printed out slides in front of me (with extra handwritten notes on them because the notes field is too small), but I like being able to update my lecture slides quickly (as opposed to having slides that are out of date). I’m still waiting though to see an effective use of PowerPoint to augment preaching or worship-leading though. (Although I have seen some effective things when people step outside the “normal” ways of doing it – just note within traditional forms). I’ve also sat through some excruciating student presentations where there is no content just “bells and whistles” (Institutions could do well to define a standard templates that students use so less time is spent on presentation and more on content – unless the mode of presentation is the content!)

What I really want is a piece of software that combines a decent outliner, mind-mapper and presenter.

Wired carried a couple of interesting articles on the “angelic” and “demonic” nature of PowerPoint back in Novemeber 2003. Here are the links:

Wired 11.09: Learning to Love PowerPoint by David Byrne:

“Although I began by making fun of the medium, I soon realized I could actually create things that were beautiful. I could bend the program to my own whim and use it as an artistic agent. The pieces became like short films: Some were sweet, some were scary, and some were mysterioso. I discovered that even without text, I could make works that were ‘about’ something, something beyond themselves, and that they could even have emotional resonance. What had I stumbled upon? Surely some techie or computer artist was already using this dumb program as an artistic medium. I couldn’t really have this territory all to myself -or could I?”

Wired 11.09: PowerPoint Is Evil by Genevieve Liang:

“Imagine a widely used and expensive prescription drug that promised to make us beautiful but didn’t. Instead the drug had frequent, serious side effects: It induced stupidity, turned everyone into bores, wasted time, and degraded the quality and credibility of communication. These side effects would rightly lead to a worldwide product recall.”