27 April 2010

On PowerPoint's unintended consequences

(See also Edward Tufte on Powerpoint here--a detailed discussion of NASA's use of PowerPoint in relation to the Columbia disaster of 2003-- and more generally here.)

The link is to an article in the (US) Armed Forces Journal (thanks to the Browser for the link) about the impact of using PowerPoint on staff decision-making in the Forces. It sees the very fact of using a presentation as changing the manner of passing on information, of conducting discussions, and of making the decisions. It even changes the structure of staff officers' working days. I have no idea whether or not is an accurate account, but it is an exemplary piece of analysis of the unintended effects of a minor technological change.

Interestingly, the author (a retired Marine officer now undertaking a doctorate at Oxford) largely exempts the use of PPt as an instructional tool. Tufte is much more scathing about that usage, too. It is a matter worthy of much thought among teachers and lecturers.

Update:  See also here and here, and (28 April) here.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:06 pm

    It's not the powerpoint, its the hand that clicks the mouse.


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