Monday, October 11, 2010

Use of Technology Debate

So, this week was a rather burdensome one: weighing positives and negatives of creative license, fair use and copyright along with the good and bad that comes with the use of Power Point presentations as an educator. Sometimes, I see things better from one side of the coin than the other, but this week's topics prompted many high-brow discussions from my artisan friends, causing me to reflect from both sides on the coin.

Take, for instance the idea of my perspective as an artist. For thousands of years our culture has evolved and learned from previous generations through visual cues and ideas. Human beings, especially creative artists learn from those visual cues and manipulate those images to fit their own ideas about how they be made creatively better. But, as an artist I would feel a mixture of flattery and horror if someone were to steal my image and play it off as their own. So, there's the question of artistic license? I create to learn and I share my final product with the world, hoping to help them see things from a different perspective, but not all artist are like that. Most of them are out to make a buck (or two) or make an impact and break into the "art world". But, once that image is displayed for the world to see, it is influencing someone. Right?

And if you ask me about Power Point presentations, I always find myself frustrated and non-interested, as person sitting in the audience, when someone gives a PP presentation. I end up reading what's on the slide (or view the graphics) and then tune out, because my auditory learning skills have never been the greatest (don't tell anyone, but I'm a doodler). It is always helpful if the presenter has something relevant to hand out while they are speaking, that relates (but is not a regurgitation from the PP) to the topic. "Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure," says Edward Tufle's article Power Point is Evil. I know as the educator, since I get bored easily, that my students are probably going to be ten-times more bored by sitting through a PP, regardless of the visual media, but if neither are there and I'm not interacting physically with the material, I'm not paying attention!

Here's a version of a PP presentation for a review of vocabulary words that I feel are important for students to master before they go on to 3rd grade. Enjoy!

So, are there other ways to stimulate student retention, interaction and familiarity with exploring the information that they are learning? Sure. Just ask them and they will show you many avenues that they have found to present the information. Just check out the link of one site that we found in the last couple years. Prezi. It's like a virtual web diagram and it keeps me interested when I see it presented because all of the different media involved with PP can also be utilized there, but the way it moves...well, you'll see... Pretty cool!
What kind of ideas created created this walkway? There are vertical and swirling diagonal lines with horizontal railings and a pathway for pedestrians. It had to come from somewhere...

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