Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Powerful Point

Last week two of our teachers were asked by a college director to prepare a training session about MS Powerpoint, using Multimedia Flash player to put the pesentation on the web. As someone who has used PP (MS Powerpoint) in teaching for over 10 years I offered some tips.

The first was that as I have been finding in my work in Mongolia, (call me a luddite! but...) sometimes a presentation can be made more clearly using simple technology, like pencil and paper scotch taped to the wall, chalk on a blackboard, or overhead transparency. I navigated to a technical point in Edward Tufte's essay on "Powerpoint does Rocket Science" demonstrating six hierarchical levels on a single slide, exemplifying 'bureaucratic hyper-rationalism'.

We discussed the recent lecture competition I had attended with the college director at the Food Technology College, where experienced Mongolian lecturers seemed to have the same problems in designing their presentation slides as we find world wide; few clear illustrations and way too much text. Additionally cyrillic fonts were a problem in the presentations, with gratuitous or irrelevant use of special effects. Together, we looked at similar slideware software on the Wikipedia page for context.

For learning to use Macromedia flash player, as with most software, there are clear tutorials (in English) available in the help window, and these collegues would use these to make the MM Flash Player presentation.

I wondered if the tutorial on MS Powerpoint would convey key principles, i.e.
  • introduce the overall objective of the presentation
  • carefully arrange the information - graphic and verbal- for the presentation in chronological order
  • keep the main points simple and clear
  • finish on time and allow time for questions
But would this make for a marketable piece of training? Or is there enough of this sort of thing in Mongolia already? Is it a language issue?

Since lunchtime, there is another project soon to be on the board, for a family resort eco-complex. I would work with the third year students over the summer, to develop a 2 hectare site in Yarmag, just out of Ulaanbaatar, which at first glance on google map appears to be on the north side of the Bogd Mountain Range...

1 comment:

samraat said...