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March 17, 2010


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Mary Dudziak

As a new power point user and enthusiast – I object! Power point, like all teaching tools, can be used well or used poorly. I hate old-fashioned power point – just words on the screen, that are also spoken. But the technology has so many more possibilities. I started using it to bring images into class, so that students can see the parties to the cases, the Justices, the circumstances that a case covers, like segregation and the Jim Crow era. And I now use it as part of a multi-media strategy for constitutional law, including audio and video (e.g. an FDR fireside chat on court packing, and a short clip from a documentary on internment). But even when power point is only words, it can be extremely useful, and clearer than my scribbles on the board, when summing up an area of law that the class has covered. For me the key is to keep lots of time for discussion, so that with affirmative action, I only used it to summarize what I’d covered the day before, as a way of setting up the doctrinal context we were going to cover on a particular day. Then I turned it off and called on students to discuss the Grutter case.

When a particular topic is really hard or really boring – with power point you can illustrate the arguments, e.g. with cartoons. Anything that will keep students awake and help them remember it. So as a power point newby, I think technology is the best answer to the laptop problem. It keeps students engaged so they don’t use the internet to check out.

Jeff Yates

I would agree with Mary that it's not really about powerpoint, but the person using it - if they aren't good with powerpoint, then they probably would be just as bad (or worse) without it. What the MBA student noted above might be experiencing is a selection effect in which particularly good public speakers reject powerpoint while those who use powerpoint vary much more in their speaking performance.

Ernesto Reyes

Having a laptop is not only for the use of Powerpoint Presentation or to make your presentations easy by using it. It has many purpose that an individual especially the students should learn how to do and use it.

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