Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On Teaching Pilots

We are watching Seabiscuit in my literature class (Books, out! Movies, in! Reading requires work! Also, thought. Final exam: Themes and Symbolism Found In the Films of Lindsay Lohan! Yay!) A scene began which took place at a racetrack in heavy fog, and one of the students said, "Look, they're racing IFR!"

I ran out of the classroom and took a few victory laps in the hall for realizing why this was funny, a place where I was not a year ago. Then I went to the faculty meeting, and then I remembered why 67% of all teachers describe our job as "extremely stressful."

It was a lecture about using technology in the classroom, which... did I not just broaden the children's horizons by showing them a DVD? What else did they want of me?

The technology people put up a PowerPoint slide announcing that the results of a recent student survey yielded such comments as:

"No more PowerPoint!"

"I hate it when my professors use PowerPoint."

"PowerPoint is boring."

"I used to not want to kill myself, but then all my classes started integrating PowerPoint, and now I'm writing this comment in my very own blood."

The answer to this? More PowerPoint! We are all invited to next month's workshop, featuring PowerPoint, which will be all about creating mega super-wonderful PowerPoint presentations that our students will love.

I am not paid enough.

I'm really not at:


kelebek }{ said...

I actually enjoy a well done power point presentation. It helps if the teacher puts the slides up online before class. Then I can download it to my laptop and take notes as the prof goes through the slides.
I does drive me crazy though when some profs have entire lectures on the slides and stand there and read the slides off. Then it is a snooze fest waiting to happen!

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's the difference. You CAN do cool things with it, but too many people just don't use the thing correctly. Like wearing Spandex, PowerPoint is a privilege, not a right.

Pam said...

PowerPoint is a double-edged sword. Most people have a natural tendancy toward the sucky edge.

Check out this site to see what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had used PowerPoint.

You might also like Power Point is Evil and Power Point is Not Evil.

"Power Corrupts.
PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely."
-- Edward Tufte

Anonymous said...

I agree with kelebek - if I can walk in to class with the ppt slides, that's fewer notes I have to write and the more I can pay attention. However, it's taken graduate school for me to realize that.

Miasys said...

You should get combat pay.

Lizzy said...

Psych 102, freshman year. Entirely in PP. No extra lecture, no discussion, barely a question and answer period. I hate being taught by grad students.

Jcat2323 said...

It's not the size of the PowerPoint, it's how you use it. Biggest faux pau: it's a tool, not the main focal point of the lecture. Profs who have bad PP often are bad lecturers without it. The ones that read of the PP now used to just read off their notes. Only difference is now students have a pretty colored screen to look at.
And Spandex is definetally a privilege. Can we add short shorts and belly shirts to that list? I live near Iowa City, Iowa (home of the University of Iowa, Go Hawks!) and there are waaaay to many college chicks that believe that if they can fit into it (or mostly into it), it's ok to wear.

2xgtld said...

LOVE, LOVE the Gettysburg powerpoint- thanks Grammar Queen! I use PP all the time when I teach- but I use it to keep ME organized and to get them to stop with the notetaking and start asking questions. I think teaching Power point is useless- how many of us were taught PP in school? It's like the value I got out of my Basic programming classes in high school- oooo, cutting edge stuff!

But a presentation is a presentation, no matter the format. Technology is a TOOL- not the purpose. It's like using a hammer just to use a hammer- the building is the objective, not the tool. Technology can't help bad teachers be better, but more tools can always help a good teacher be better.

Dantelope said...

PowerPoint doesn't kill people. People who misuse PowerPoint kill people.

Do us a favor and talk to the students, not to the slides.

Talk to the subject, not to the rigid words on the screen.

And for god's sake, show more cleavage!

Hmmm... maybe that's why I was never paying attention to what the teacher said in school... great, now I gotta go back to the therapist

red pill junkie said...

"Technology can't help bad teachers be better, but more tools can always help a good teacher be better."

WORD, 2xgtld!

Or should I say... EXCELlent? ;-)

Dantelope said...

I agree, but people who think Microsoft Office makes for better teachers are themselves tools.

erica said...

Jcat2323 said... "I live near Iowa City, Iowa (home of the University of Iowa, Go Hawks!) and there are waaaay to many college chicks that believe that if they can fit into it (or mostly into it), it's ok to wear. "

I'm in Iowa City and I definitely agree!! Did you notice that the "PowerPoint is NOT evil" is by a U of I professor?

Jcat2323 said...

Hadn't followed the link yet. But who better to defend proper use of PP than someone from the school that supported the pink locker room (and I do as well). People need to stop being offended by every other thing they see. (Especially visiting professors who came to Iowa because they were highly unpopular where they used to teach for starting this kind of crap!)
For those of you who don't know about the pink locker room issue:
(And since it doesn't say here, the University board heard the complaint and dismissed it on grounds that they had more important issues to discuss than what color scheme to use in the visiting team locker room.)

Anonymous said...

"Critics say the use of pink demeans women, perpetuates offensive stereotypes about women and homosexuality, and puts the university in the uncomfortable position of tacitly supporting those messages."

Okay, now that oven-door-as-flat-screen-TV thing in South Bend doesn't sound so stupid.

J Kramer said...

MB, I just have to say I am thoroughly impressed, First by your article Confessions of a Neilsen Viewer- after reading it I linked over here to find an interesting bit on PP (A subject upon which I could filibuster for days) then finally to the comments where I have to ask are you claiming originality for the metaphor of PP to Spandex or are you aware it's a Cereal Killer quote? The latter would be more impressive.

Anonymous said...

Hi, j, and welcome :)

Much as I would like to, I could not in good conscience steal from the Killers. Glad you caught the reference... please stick around for a while!

Jcat2323 said...

MB said: "Okay, now that oven-door-as-flat-screen-TV thing in South Bend doesn't sound so stupid."
I couldn't believe that article either. I want to see a picture of what it looked like all wrapped up. Seriously, how gulible would you have to be to believe that?

Joe Kramer said...

MB- I'll stick around... in the meantime I recommend the movie Hackers-
Memorable Quotes from
Hackers (1995) Thank you IMDB

Cereal Killer: Spandex: it's a privilege, not a right.

Cereal Killer: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things. What? It's Corinthians one, chapter thirteen verse eleven.
Cereal Killer: FYI man, alright. You could sit at home, and do like absolutely nothing, and your name goes through like 17 computers a day. 1984? Yeah right, man. That's a typo. Orwell is here now. He's livin' large. We have no names, man. No names. We are nameless!

gryphonesse said...

I'm still of the opinion that those of us who got our degrees prior to the INTERNET and Power Point presentations should be bumped up a level. My BA should be an MA, and so on. It's only FAIR.

klroan said...

I am a 32 yr. old mother of 3 who works on a computer all day and I have no idea how to make a PP presentation. However, my 14 yr old son makes great ones! I managed to finish college without one single PP. I just started reading this blog when you did the neilson ratings thing. I have never laughed so hard. I have great respect for anyone who can put up with anyone else's kids for any lenghth of time. (even if they are 20 something)

Anonymous said...

klroan, hi. I'm so glad you're here... thanks for the kind words. Welcome to the family :)

rach said...

You've officially been discovered: pyramid schemers are leaving comments. What's the term for spam left at a blog? Splog?
Blam, I suppose.
I use PP in my job for professional education, but the best days are when the "students" get so interested in my non-ppt info that we forget to forward the slides.

Abby the Ewokeater (previously known as the college student who ranted about "Birches") said...

This proves that the powers that be really do hate us students. Why else would they allow the evil that is anything that Bill Gates has touched in colleges, where because they have so many bugs they have to have the evils that are tech people come in? As if it’s not bad enough that they let counselors and then let them teach orientation courses (I tell you I suffered though that). The best teachers I have will have no truck with computers; if they need to make a presentation the only software they use . . . a chalkboard. It works people, trust me on this.

On a side note, "I used to not want to kill myself, but then all my classes started integrating PowerPoint, and now I'm writing this comment in my very own blood” sounds like the sort of things I put in the comment box before I was told by one of the school counselors that while my opinions are appreciated they aren’t appreciated that much and please keep them to myself. Alas nobody seems appreciate creative complaining any more.

amy lou the reader said...

I love PowerPoint. Don't know how I'd present without it.

But I've seen people who make REALLY bad PPs and think they're the epitome of computer wizard; when, in reality, they're like those annoying relatives who show vacation slides for four hours, except the PP people have only words on their slides, and no bad pictures that you could at least laugh at.

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