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CAFE-SCI  September 2006

CAFE-SCI September 2006

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Subject:

Re: powerpoint

From:

"Allison B. Sekuler" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion list for cafe scientifique network <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 1 Sep 2006 09:10:11 -0400

Content-Type:

multipart/alternative

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (66 lines) , text/enriched (80 lines)

We actually haven't had any issues with people arguing to use  
powerpoint. As with some other cafes, our venue isn't set up for it,  
and although we could go to the efforts of putting in a portable  
screen, etc to make it doable, our discussion leaders have all found  
ways to cope with our request to avoid powerpoint. They bring props, or  
handouts/handarounds if they think those are necessary. If the bullet  
points would be mostly discussion questions, they print them out and  
distribute them to tables in advance. Sometimes they just hold up the  
front cover of a magazine that links to their topic -- that actually  
serves the purpose of letting people know how they can get more  
detailed information about some of the issues being discussed in an  
accessible format.  The physical objects are often so much more  
effective in this setting than a slide would be because it is real. For  
example, one of our speakers, talking about the myths of radiation,  
brought in a bedside clock I recognized from my childhood -- with  
numbers that glowed in the dark. The amount of radiation in the clock  
isn't bad (the speaker was suggesting that low level radiation doses  
may actually have health benefits in some cases), but many of the women  
who made the clocks died from cancers -- because they licked their  
paintbrushes to make finer lines. The impact of that demonstration and  
story just wouldn't have been the same looking at a picture -- having a  
real object there made it something the group could relate to more  
directly.

Best
ABS
------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
------------------
Allison B. Sekuler, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President (Research), McMaster University
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience,  
Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
------------------------------------------------------------------------ 
------------------
"A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man."
	--Jebidiah Springfield (aka Hans Sprungfeld)


On 1-Sep-06, at 7:50 AM, Jennifer Gristock wrote:

> My advice on powerpoint - instead of having a stiff position on it,  
> talk to the speaker about the actual slides. How many pictures? How  
> many graphs? If they answer not many of either, you can guess what the  
> answer to the next question ("is it mostly bullet points, then?") will  
> be. If affirmative, point out the cafe sci policy and suggest the  
> speaker uses prompt cards as an aide memoire if they absolutely need  
> it.
>
> of course, if there are lots of interesting maps, pictures, graphs,  
> videos which explain things like words alone cannot, and one or two  
> slides of bullets, then that's another matter.
>
> the main thing is to work out whether the powerpoint presentation is  
> actually being used to communicate something, or whether it is being  
> used as a safety blanket by the speaker. reams of bullets alone is the  
> latter. in this case, do try and dissuade. also, make him/her feel  
> loved and capable on the night by paying lots of attention, commenting  
> on a particular detail of the research and saying how much you  
> appreciate him/her coming
>
> all good wishes
>
> Jenny Gristock in Brighton
>

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