The Death of Powerpoint

By | 2016-10-29T11:36:38+00:00 September 7th, 2012|

Today we have a giveaway!  Read on for more details…

Do you still use powerpoint in your school?  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say that they use technology and, when asked for an example, they state that they use powerpoint.  Here’s the problem with that: powerpoint is dead.  That sounds really harsh.  Let me scratch that and try again: traditional powerpoint is dead.  You know the kind I mean.  Those powerpoints where you have a stark slide with 12 bulleted ideas listed.  Or the ones with paragraphs of text next to a cutesy image.  Even if it’s dressed up a little bit with a nice font and a pre-selected template from the menu on your toolbar, at it’s core its still just a powerpoint.  You don’t like attending presentations where they use this format and trust me, neither do your students.

What’s even more striking is the amazing opportunity to take powerpoints and transform them into something magical – something that truly conveys your message.  Whether that be a lesson for the day or a presentation to your staff, it’s all about communication.  Did you know that the US Army conducted a study and found that powerpoints actually made their staff “stupid”?  It’s true.  All of those bullets and text…people get lost in the jargon or they are so busy reading your presentation that they aren’t listening to anything that you’re really saying.  And believe me – what you’re really interested in saying and communicating isn’t in a bullet on a slide.  It’s a story.

When you present (or when you leave a presentation from someone else truly excited about their message), your whole goal is to leave your audience with a captivating story that makes a connection to them on some personal level.  Anytime you present information, this should be your goal.  When I get ready to present to teachers, students, administrators or other audiences, I think about who my demographic is in the room and what story I can tell them that will both meet them where they are and push them to think beyond themselves.  And yes, I may use a powerpoint platform for my delivery, but I am intentional in how to make that powerpoint presentation a transformative experience.  That means creating a template using a specific color scheme that will invoke the feeling I want them to have, using text that conveys the brand I’m trying to sell in that presentation, cultivating a library of high-quality images that can speak the message for me and limiting my words on the screen to short bursts of one-word synopses.

All of this is critical when we are trying to capture and engage our students or audience in an integrative experience.  We want them to feel like they are a part of the lesson – a critical part – that we are selling.  You can do this through shifting the way you use and create powerpoint presentations, or by using other platforms like Prezi and Sliderocket.   I believe whole-heartedly that we can no longer afford to kill our students and teachers with traditional powerpoint presentations.  We should cause the death of powerpoints right here, right now.  So that brings us to today’s fabulous giveaway:


This book changed the way I looked at presenting forever.  It is a must-read by author Nancy Duarte who has created presentations for Google, Apple, Target, TED and many more innovative companies.  And I want other people to share in this experience.  So here’s how you enter:

1. Write a comment below on an experience you’ve had with powerpoint presentations (good or bad)…. OR

2. Share this post with your followers on Facebook/Twitter and then go to our Facebook page and let us know you’ve shared the love.

All entries will be placed into a random name generator and the winner will be announced next week.  Good luck!

About the Author:

Susan Riley is the founder and President of She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan
  • Doing lots of presentations this fall at over 6 different conferences, a must have for me! I still like a good presentation because I embellish with my own stories and it gives people a grounding point. Guess I have a lot to learn!

    • You can almost see the blank stares or people reading ahead on any bullet points in a PP slide, PowerPoint fatigue indeed!

  • I use powerpoint all the time in my elelmentary art classes. BUT I don’t use it to really share much information. I like to story tell to my students and I use the powerpoints to have artwork on display behind me on the topic I am trying to share with them. It is really useful. I know what you mean about powerpoints making people stupid – as a teacher I’ve been to countless meetings where we are presented with information scrunched into bullet points and flow charts on one boring slide after another. Clip art be damned!

  • Deborah Gustlin

    I always hate ppt presentations but when the technology in the classroom is limited, it is a way to get images up on the screen. I teach at the college level and just put up images with the names, dates or other information that is difficult to spell…then I use stories like you suggest to enhance and lecture about the images.

    • I totally agree, Deborah! Sometimes, powerpoint is the only option and we need to just be aware of how to use it as effectively and creatively as possible. That’s why I’m a big fan of this book. Good luck to all!

  • You are right, Susan! The idea has been around fora while and there are a LOT of PPT haters out there. i can’t blame them. It’s horrible when each slide is just a bunch of text to read. It’s boring to adults and it has to be killer for students.

    I remember I worked in a school where one of the big culminating projects was to create a ppt and the requirements were to add in bulleted items on each slide. Then the kids presented their work and read the slides to the class. Yuck!

    Power Points should be filled with carefully chosen images, word art, a thought-provoking quote or a quick fact that can be embellished by the presenter. The slide can act like a hook so the presenter can make his or her points. It’s an art form, really.

    Thanks for bringing this topic up. it’s a good one for teachers to hear.

  • Heather H

    I find as an art teacher I get the most student responses from slides that have a picture (and nothing else) on them. This gets my students interested and lets them write the story for what they see on the slide. I can’t stand being in meetings where people will insult me by reading a paragraph from a slide. Power point is meant to be a tool for presenting – to provide important points for the audience and get them thinking about a topic, not as a glorified eReader.

  • Shari de Wever

    I dislike PPT. If I am bored making it, then why bother? We have smartboards– so I use smart notebook and Prezi when i present information in a presentation.

  • Marina

    I was one of the people who would say they use technology, when I only did ppt… sorry to say that but I[m trying to change!

    • Marina – no worries! We’ve all been there and done that, so there’s no judgments. 🙂 We just know better so we do better, right?

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