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Presenting Without PowerPoint?
October 7, 2013 - 9:00pm

Ray Schroeder gave an amazing plenary talk this past weekend at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference.  

His presentation, The Vortex of Technology: Enabling and Enhancing Engagement with Students, is definitely something you want to take some time to check out.


What I find intriguing about Ray's talk is his decision to forgo PowerPoint. Ray actually worked the method into the substance of his talk, making the argument that a Web presentation is superior to a PowerPoint based presentation if your goal is to create a conversation.

If you look at the link for Ray's talk you will see that it starts with a short pre-amble:

"A word about Power Pointless!  My colleagues and I at the University of Illinois Springfield Center for Online Learning, Research and Service present many national and regional workshops encouraging attendees to freely share presentation materials online using web-native tools that encourage collaboration and updating."

I found Ray's Power Pointless method to very effective.  He used this Google Sites page as a base to jump off from during his presentation. The links from his talk were not put there as references but as destinations.  

An example is when Ray talked about the BYOD (bring your own device) movement. Rather than simply giving some numbers, he linked out to a report from EdTech Magazine, and showed the report in his presentation.

This method made the presentation feel more organic to the way that we actually work. It made me want to go and look at the link to his talk as soon as his talk was done.  Like an invitation to discover rather than a description of what he already knows.

Would I ever be willing to follow Ray and his colleagues and abandon PowerPoint for a live Web-based presentation? Would you?

I'm not sure that I have the guts.

First, you need to feel totally confident that your Web connection is going to stay strong during the entire talk.  

I've had too many bad Internet connection problems during talks to have confidence that things will work seamlessly. These connectivity problems are always worse for me at conference hotels, as I've seen numerous times the local Web connection get overwhelmed by all the Web connected devices being used by conference attendees.   

Ray's confidence in presenting live from the Web, in going without a net, gave his talk an amazing immediacy.  

He was talking with us using the same platform that is indispensable to us in all of our reading, writing and teaching. There was no divide between the learning /discovery process and the teaching / presenting process.    I just don't know if I will ever be brave enough to pull it off.

The other reason that I like to use PowerPoint is that I tend to use lots of images. I pay lots of attention to the visuals of my slides.  

My slides are meant to evoke emotions, not transmit information.

A Web-based presentation approach moves away from a visual or design approach to speaking.    

The challenge is that finding good images and producing well-designed slides is incredibly time consuming. All the design work into slides takes away from the amount of time available to research the presentation. This is a serious trade-off.  

Ray's talk was idea and resource rich. The trade-offs that he makes for a Web-based presentation make some sense to me.

Have any of you followed Ray and moved from a PowerPoint (or Keynote or Prezi) to a Web-based presentation approach? 

 

 

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