‘ABS, anything but slides’ says Michelle Denise Miller a professor from Northern Arizona University, in her article ‘Learning from PowerPoint: is it time for teachers to move on?’.  Add to this the article by Copenhagen Business School Professor Bent Meier Sorensen,

Add to this the article by Copenhagen Business School Professor Bent Meier Sorensen, ‘Let’s ban PowerPoint in lectures – it makes students more stupid and professors more boring’. Gives you a good idea of what many people are thinking about using slides in the classroom.


Are you still using slides in the classroom? If so, read the following highlights that Bent addresses in his article:

  • A PowerPoint presentation locks the lecture into a course that disregards any input other than the lecturer’s own idea of the lecture conceived the day before. It cuts off the possibility of improvisation and deviation, and the chance to adapt to student input without veering off course.
  • To be interesting and relevant in a lecture, teachers need to ask questions and experiment, not provide solutions and results. Unfortunately, PowerPoint is designed to provide just that.
  • PowerPoint has not empowered academia. The basic problem is that a lecturer isn’t intended to be selling bullet point knowledge to students, rather they should be making the students encounter problems. Such a learning process is slow and arduous, and cannot be summed up neatly.
  • We have also recently banned teachers using PowerPoint. Here we are in sync with the US armed forces, where Brigadier-General Herbert McMaster banned it because it was regarded as a poor tool for decision-making. We couldn’t agree more, although we do allow lecturers to use it to show images and videos as well as quotes from primary authors.

Wits University Powerpoint

Michelle in her post writes that even “though there’s little research that directly addresses whether PowerPoint affects learning in college students, critics have questioned its value in educational settings. Some ask whether PowerPoint might indirectly undermine the quality of teaching by reinforcing a passive learning approach”.

Both of the professors don’t only take aim at PowerPoint. They include all other presentation technology platforms like PreziSlideRocket or Impress that add a lot of new features and 3D animation. Their overall views are ABS – anything but slideshows!

Maybe it is time to rethink those slides for teaching.


-You can read Michelle’s full article here and Bent’s here.