The Lessig Style of PowerPoint

July 28th, 2010 by Brian Leave a reply »

I saw this style a very long time ago (ancient by Internet standards) and realized that I hadn’t shared it here. It’s unofficially called the Lessig Style of PowerPoint. It’s what I use for my booktalks when I use PowerPoint and it’s what I like to use for most of my presentations. The only presentation that I don’t use it on is my AIMS teacher instructions PowerPoint. I modify the one from the district and I’m a little scared to leave out a piece of the instructions, to be completely honest.

PowerPoint is old. Like, 23 years old. It’s this simple fact that makes me laugh a little when teachers say they’re afraid to use PowerPoint and other new technology. I need to remind myself that it’s new to them.

Over the 23 years, PowerPoint has morphed like most technology does. One of the trends that I still see is to put paragraphs of text on the screen, all at once (or, even worse, crawling in with a typewriter animation). Usually it’s not others teachers doing this. It’s mostly people from outside of the school who come to present. The mindset is that the PowerPoint speaks for itself. If that’s the case, then why do we have someone standing in front of us in the meeting? To read the slides to us?

What if you put only the most important word on a slide? What if you put the one idea, the one concept you wanted people to leave the meeting talking about? Lawrence Lessig is a great presenter (and professor and advocate and all that).

Check out his TED talk on copyright. Not only is his challenge to current copyright assumptions good (although the remixes can be skipped), but watch how he presents it. Slideshow art.


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