Tuesday, December 11, 2007

PowerPoint is a Multi-Purpose Tool

I wanted to comment on yesterday's post. I didn't mean to imply that PowerPoint can be used in only one way. I think it's most common use is to add some visuals to our verbosity. But, once in a while we want a presentation that can be looked at without our input. We sit down and drink a cup of coffee while the slides are set on automatic. It can have a recorded narration. It can have music. It's designed to stand alone.

I remember a PowerPoint I saw like this a few years back. It had no text, no narration and no music. It was about three minutes of photos of the Holocaust. When the last photo faded to black the speaker got up and gave his talk. It was a powerful start.

In my last school, I taught with a wonderful English teacher who has her kids create stand alone presentations built around a poem. They find images that help convey the mood of their chosen piece. Once they're done, they hit play and stand back. The words and images are the presentation.

Visit Slideshare to see a variety of presentations that are meant to stand on their own. Many of them would be too wordy or cluttered to use with a talk. That's the nature of these presentations. With no speaker to elaborate they have to stand alone.

Determine the purpose of your PowerPoint. Design with that purpose in mind. You'll end up with a better product.

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