PowerPoint: An Efficient Tool

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PowerPoint is probably the most popular digital aid tool for presentations all over the world. It was created by the giant software developer Microsoft and presented to the world for the very first time in 2000 according to Microsoft’s web page. In the article PowerPoint: Killer App? the author, Ruth Marcus, criticizes this application, explaining the effects it is having on the way people make and understand presentations today. Moreover, she does not stay there with her critiques, and goes further, asserting that PowerPoint could be one of the causes of the Columbia space shuttle crash in 2003. She arguments that the rigid default format of the PowerPoint slides presented to the NASA senior managers the year of the accident made the situation look not as dangerous as it really was, attributing that Microsoft’s software condenses and reduces the information far beyond than it should be, making it tedious and hard to truly understand. She also criticizes the auto-content wizard feature of PowerPoint, which summarizes the content of a text into slides and bar charts, saying that it treats all the different types of text as if they all were the same. She gives an example of this, mentioning a spoof of the Gettysburg Address, where Abraham Lincoln reduces his speech into slides and bar charts of PowerPoint just by pressing a key. Another problem of the software she points out is that its rigid “bullet-pointed” format not only reduces the information, but it also eliminates the need of critical thinking by the audience because of its simplicity. Finally, she concludes, suggesting that PowerPoint should be banned because it is doing us more harm than good. Although she is right in proclaiming that the presentations made with PowerPoin... ... middle of paper ... ...sion is that PowerPoint, as any other tool, does not work for itself. It is just a piece of software that depends completely on the good judgment and usage of the users, and the success or failure of PowerPoint aided presentations is a complete responsibility of the lecturer. It has also been demonstrated that thanks to its properties and characteristics, it is a tool that promotes and improves the effective transfer of information. Of course, that as any new “tech-tool” has its threads and disadvantages, but this does not mean that it should be blamed for human-made mistakes. The help that PowerPoint and all the similar kinds of software available these days provides in schools, business, organizations, and companies, to name just a few, to enhance the exchange of information is important and there should not be any doubt about their contribution to the progress.
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