When teachers reduce curriculum content
to bullet points, student learning suffers.
In the old days ( 10 years ago), school supervisors and administrators used to ask teachers, “Are you using tech- nology in the classroom?” No need to ask any more—in the last decade, the tech race has gotten into full swing. With regard to classroom lessons, however, this trend
has not been entirely positive. In classrooms across the United
States, overheads have been scrapped and replaced with
digital projectors and PowerPoint presentations. The lights
have gone down, and the curtain has gone up on the bullet-ization of education.
In a field driven by essential questions, many school leaders
and teachers have forgotten to ask the essential question, How
are you using technology?
The allure of PowerPoint is understandable. Teachers used
to spend hours searching through departmental reference
books or other resources in the local or school library and
then wait in line to photocopy the chosen materials. Or
worse, they typed everything onto a mimeograph master,
which later needed to be run off (and later still, sniffed by
their students). With PowerPoint, teachers can Google, copy,
and paste in living color. Perhaps best of all, they can store
all their lessons on a portable hard drive no bigger than their
thumb. No more three-inch binders that weigh 15 pounds;
no more paper cuts; no more getting high in the copy room.
In just a few short years, this seemingly utopian world has
made converts of many. This trend is apparent across disci-
plines and grade levels.
The Root of the Problem
The root problem of PowerPoint presentations is not the
power or the point, but the presentation. A presentation, by its
very nature, is one-sided. The presenter does everything—
74 Educational lEadErship / FEbruary 2011