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Power Point: An Efficient Tool Essay

1346 words - 5 pages

PowerPoint is probably the most popular digital aid tool for presentations all over the world. It was created by the giant software developer Microsoft and presented to the world for the very first time in 2000 according to Microsoft’s web page. In the article PowerPoint: Killer App? the author, Ruth Marcus, criticizes this application, explaining the effects it is having on the way people make and understand presentations today. Moreover, she does not stay there with her critiques, and goes further, asserting that PowerPoint could be one of the causes of the Columbia space shuttle crash in 2003. She arguments that the rigid default format of the PowerPoint slides presented to the NASA senior managers the year of the accident made the situation look not as dangerous as it really was, attributing that Microsoft’s software condenses and reduces the information far beyond than it should be, making it tedious and hard to truly understand. She also criticizes the auto-content wizard feature of PowerPoint, which summarizes the content of a text into slides and bar charts, saying that it treats all the different types of text as if they all were the same. She gives an example of this, mentioning a spoof of the Gettysburg Address, where Abraham Lincoln reduces his speech into slides and bar charts of PowerPoint just by pressing a key. Another problem of the software she points out is that its rigid “bullet-pointed” format not only reduces the information, but it also eliminates the need of critical thinking by the audience because of its simplicity. Finally, she concludes, suggesting that PowerPoint should be banned because it is doing us more harm than good. Although she is right in proclaiming that the presentations made with PowerPoint seem to be tedious and boring sometimes, the main cause is not the software itself, as she claims, but the lack of experience or proper training of the users or lecturers. PowerPoint is being broadly used in all kinds of presentations, especially in the educational and business industries thanks to its properties and characteristics, which make it an ideal tool to improve the quality of information exchange through presentations.
In the article, Toward a Better Understanding of PowerPoint Deck Design, the author David Farkas, a professor of the Department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington, points out several problems with the use and study of PowerPoint. Some of the most important issues will be addressed next: First, he refers to the relationship between PowerPoint and the organizational culture, which deals with the fact that PowerPoint is not guilty of the bad organization of its users, (in this case NASA), where they are required to have the capacity of deciding whether PowerPoint is a suitable means of communication or not. Second, he classifies PowerPoint slide presentations in two categories, as performance support or for stand-alone use. He indicates that when the speaker is creating a...

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