PROFESSIONAL GROWTH: Wake up to better PowerPoint presentations
Fidelindo A. Lim MA, RN

February 2012 
Volume 42  Number 2
Pages 46 - 48
  PDF Version Available!

LAUNCHED IN the late 1980s by Microsoft, PowerPoint is widely used by nurse educators everywhere. Used well, it's a valuable educational tool. Used poorly, it can leave audiences perplexed and bored.In their 2010 landmark book, Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation, Benner and colleagues gave us their vision of nursing education.1 This book is based on one of a series of studies known as the Preparation for the Professions Program, supported by the Carnegie Foundations for the Advancement of Teaching. In interviews and comments, students revealed their dissatisfaction with the amount of information in faculty lectures as well as educators' heavy reliance on presentation tools such as PowerPoint.1This article will describe how to use PowerPoint more effectively and suggest alternatives. But first, take a look at some of the problems created when presenters use this program inappropriately.Students have complained about the agonizing and sometimes soporific effect of sitting through a lecture with more than 100 PowerPoint slides. These lectures are even worse, according to some students, when the lecturer reads the slides. "I didn't pay so much tuition to be read to," one of my students commented bitterly.Another drawback is that PowerPoint may encourage students to rely on bullet points when studying for exams instead of absorbing in-depth information about the topic.As a student from the Benner study remarked, "It's really easy to sit there and agree with everything the teacher is saying and then an hour later if you try and recall it, you're kind of hazy on what it was because you just don't retain it when you just sit there and watch those slides go by."1Educators spend countless hours making PowerPoint slides when they could be studying their topic or polishing their oral presentation skills. Overreliance on PowerPoint as a teaching tool suppresses creativity and prevents educators from exploring more intellectually stimulating methods.In general, educators

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