To use or not to use…. The PPT Debate

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Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures – it makes students more stupid and professors more boring.

Helen shared this article on Facebook, and it created quite a buzz. You can find the article here  You can find the Facebook group here.

In a nutshell, the article says, “PowerPoint is bad. For many PPT related reasons, the students do not learn.  Lecturers are limited because of it. We banned it. We are now using chalk and the black board and students are learning better”. Yes, this is a very simplified version of the article. 

Com’on!!! This reminds me of the whole course book/no course book debate. Just fancier, cause PPT is fancy.

So, is PPT a blessing or a curse? Does it make or break your lesson? Well, if you ask me, ” PowerPoint is just a tool. PowerPoint is not the panacea for a lesson you think will probably be boring. If you know how to use it, your lessons can become more interesting, better. If you don’t, then it can actually be bad.” But as it is a tool, we should use it to enhance our lesson. But remember it’s just that. A tool. If our lesson is boring, badly planned, if we are in lecture mode throughout a lesson, we have lost our learners, no matter how good or bad the PPT is!

Is it teacher centeredness to say that a teacher/lecturer is, up to a point, responsible for the success or ‘floppiness’ of a session? It’s not PowerPoint.


if you read from slides, is it the PowerPoint’s fault or your fault, you are over relying on slides?

If your slides are full of animations flying around, too wordy, and your students are reading your slides, instead of paying attention to what you are saying, are the PowerPoint slides to blame?

If you use PowerPoint to include every single piece of information that’s in your lesson, turning the PowerPoint into your lesson,  is it the PPT’s fault?

If you haven’t shared your slides anywhere. If you keep them to yourself and they are like the holy grail of your lesson, why are you complaining if your students write everything down, instead of listen to what you say? You turned your PPT into core material of your class. Is the PPT responsible for that?

If you use lecture mode 24/7, is it the slides fault your learners get tired or even bored?

PowerPoint goes hand in hand with presentation skills. If you are going to use a PowerPoint slide, you should at least brush up on your presentation skills. You don’t just tell your students, look here, there and ”get what I am saying”. It’s like having handouts or a course book, giving it to your students, and saying, “Here! Do what on the sheets!”

To use or not to use

This post is not an answer to the article. This is a post with my thoughts on whether PowerPoint can/should be used in class. PowerPoint does not make you a good teacher. You make yourself a good teacher. Yes, there are bad presentations and bad presenters. I am probably one of them.  But, if only we could just ban something and miraculously become better at our job. That seems too easy, doesn’t it? If only a bad lesson was the PowerPoint’s fault. Overusing something is probably not a good thing. Using (not overusing) what technology has to offer to help/inform us is a good thing (me thinks).


Feel free to leave your comments below. FYI: I don’t use PPT in the class every day. I use it when I need it. Excuse the vent/rant   🙂

Till next time……..


12 thoughts on “To use or not to use…. The PPT Debate

  1. I agree with you 100% Joanna. I use PPT’s but they mostly contain pictures, links to video clips or digital tools such as a Linoit collaborative board. I try not to put more than a few words on a slide. I find the PPT helps make the lesson interesting and gives a clear structure. As you said it is only a tool.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Online noticeboards are ideal for learners to do collaborative work….Powerpoint slides might be used to summarize the main points of a talk , a presentation …sth that has already been presented before and now it needs revising or promoting a product, if it is a commercial one, let’s say…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pandreop!!
      Thanks for leaving a comment. Yes, a good use of the PPT is to summarise points, to revise, to underline the important information.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Joanna,

    I think the school would be better off showing its teachers ways they could use PowerPoint effectively rather than ban it. Death by PowerPoint can happen and it can be boring for students, but can we expect anything else if the teacher only uses the default templates and adds bullet points?

    But as you say, PowerPoint is a tool and it’s the way that we use it that determines whether the students go “wow!” or sit there feeling bored.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi T.,
      I think that that is a mistake a lot of schools make. I, for one, have never had training on how to use PPT in class, how to design a PPT, how to maximize learning through the use of the PPT. I think schools/ universities need to invest more money on that. Training teachers/ lecturers how to use the PPT correctly.
      Thanks for stopping by 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Joanna,

    I remember this article showing up in my twitter feed, but I only just read it now – before your post. I am getting a little tired of this “let’s ban everything that could be helpful because it places limitations on us”. Isn’t ban a little strong?

    The article says, “to be interesting and relevant in a lecture, teachers need to ask questions and experiment, not provide solutions and results [which is what ppt is designed to make them do].” My ppts are no more than 10 slides long, and almost every slide is interactive in the sense that there is a question there that students need to discuss with a partner and answer as a group before I show the answer, whether it be mine, the book’s, from a source not on the reading list, etc. So just because not everyone can (be bothered to?) plan their ppts that way, they should be banned?

    Another bit in the article I find simply confusing, “…the teachers write with chalk on the blackboard (or markers on the whiteboard). Contrary to what PowerPoint allows, the chalk and blackboard enable us to note down points from the students alongside and connected to the points that we ourselves develop.” Ppt _does_ allow it. Simply add students’ suggestions, feedback, etc. to the slide as you go, if that’s what you want.

    If I don’t stop now, I’ll start ranting too. Completely agree with the points in your third last paragraph (in bold).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Vedrana!!!
      Thanks for stopping by. Yeap, the article does stimulate, doesn’t it? I think banning is too strong an action and as I said earlier, it’s all about training. If teachers are trained on how to use PowerPoint in the class, then, this toll can be very useful!! If not, it can turn into a boomerang.
      I ❤ your little rant 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Joanna,

    Yes, I agree. I feel that instead of banning PPTs what they should’ve done was create a course in using them effectively. But banning is in general rarely the best option, is it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Olya,
      Thanks for commenting, I think banning needs to be replaced by training!! Bottom line is, we as teachers, need training whatever we do in class. If we are not trained of course, there will be ‘difficult situations”. Technology can be very useful if used correctly!! It’s a shame that the PPT very often ends up being blamed for all the ‘wrongs’ in the classroom!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with you Joanna, and with the comments others have made above! It’s an interessting debate though. My only thought was that it might be helpful for some teachers to self-impose a “PPT ban” for a while so that they/we are able to self-diagnose any PPT-dependency that might have snuck into their/our teaching without them/us being really aware of it. I suppose the ‘ban’ by this school in the article might have proven effective because it actually prompted teachers to think about HOW they employ PPT which, as you say, is actually the crux of the matter! CF


  7. Pingback: 10 PowerPoint Tips for Teachers | tekhnologic

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