My daughter Bethany pointed me to The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation because she is preparing to teach Public Speaking at the University of Georgia in the fall. It's a fun site and has a really cheesy version of the Gettysburg Address if it was presented in powerpoint format. Pretty funny. The point, of course, is that we have a wonderful speech that gets seriously dumbed down because of the use of presentation software.
I use powerpoint a lot in my classes so this got me thinking again about it. I like to think of myself as a thoughtful powerpointer. I use it to organize my thoughts and to give my students a map for where I'm going. I wondered if my classes were dumbed down because of powerpoint just like the Gettysburg address was in this example.
Then I had a thought - I wonder how many of the people standing in Gettysburg "got it" when Lincoln delivered his speech? I wonder if they only sort of heard what he said, if they really didn't follow it or if they left saying - what was the point of that?
Just because a speech is wonderful oratory doesn't mean it accomplished it's goal. One reason why this speech works so well is that we've read it again and again. Maybe an outline on a screen (hopefully not as dumb as the one in this example) would have made this great speech connect with the audience even more than it did?
10 months ago