The PowerPoint dilemma

I just finished reading a book called “presentationzen.”  Basically the idea is to have little or no text, but to include a picture or graphic that communicates your ideas.  Reading a lot of text on a slide can be very distracting when the presenter is talking.  The “zen” idea was to eliminate all that so that your audience can just focus on what you are saying, using the picture as an aid.  Well.  Students aren’t so crazy about this.  Despite me posting a separate document with all of my lecture notes they are still saying there isn’t enough detail on the slides.  I can understand wanting more detail in the slides because it is easier to put the information into context.  Yet…what is wrong with making them take notes?  Why can’t they just write down what they are hearing?  One student suggested adding notes to each slide, so I may try that.

Update on 12/18/12: After teaching several classes, the style I have settled on is part Zen, part not.  Generally, I have minimum bullet points, and I add visuals to enhance the information.  The bullet points serve both to outline the important concepts, as well as trigger my own memory as to what might be important but obscure pieces of data.  This also means I no longer need lecture notes, so I don’t have to look down and read anything while I am talking.  Because my style is to walk around a lot when I am teaching, this allows for better flow, since I’m not fumbling with paper as I am teaching.


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