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EDITORIAL
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 127-128  

Life after death by power point: PechaKucha to the rescue?


Editor, Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Professor, Department of Periodontology, AECS Maaruti Dental College and Research Centre, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication23-Apr-2014

Correspondence Address:
Ashish Sham Nichani
Editor, Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Professor, Department of Periodontology, AECS Maaruti Dental College and Research Centre, Bangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-124X.131292

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How to cite this article:
Nichani AS. Life after death by power point: PechaKucha to the rescue?. J Indian Soc Periodontol 2014;18:127-8

How to cite this URL:
Nichani AS. Life after death by power point: PechaKucha to the rescue?. J Indian Soc Periodontol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Sep 23];18:127-8. Available from: https://www.jisponline.com/text.asp?2014/18/2/127/131292

The New York Times reported sometime back, that, when Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PPT slide in Kabul in the summer of 2010, which was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti, he dryly remarked "When we understand that slide, we'll have won the war," and the room erupted in laughter. [1]

Today, we undeniably use PPT presentations almost all the time - in conferences and seminars, when we are conducting courses/workshops and of course in our lectures. However, the amount of time we or our students spend on it is unimaginable. Recently when I asked some postgraduate students, how they spent most of their time, they responded, "making PPT slides." In a conversation, they estimated that they spent at least a couple of hours each day making PPT slides. Well maybe I am guilty too, because on numerous occasions, I have responded to invitations for get-togethers by telling, "I would be free tonight, but unfortunately, I am working late (sadly enough, making PPT slides, as if JISP was not enough to keep me busy!!)."
"Dumb-Dumb Bullets" - projecting slides that contain a lot of bullet points, while speaking at the same time, is just plain less effective than speaking without any slides at all. This is because the audience tries to read the slides and listen to the speaker at the same time, and does neither particularly well. [2] (Well consider this, you have no trouble reading this page right now, but how well would you do if I was also talking to you at the same time - wouldn't it split your attention span?)

However, behind all the PowerPoint jokes are concerns that putting all the matter we have on the slides curtails discussion, critical thinking, and decision-making. Not the least, it ties up our students. Despite this, "Death by PowerPoint," the phrase used to describe the numbing sensation that accompanies a 50-100 slide briefing, is here to stay. Death by PowerPoint is caused by the poor use of presentation software. Key contributors to this include confusing graphics, slides with too much text and speakers whose idea of a good presentation is to read 80 slides out loud. [3],[4] It is easily recognized by observing the audience members' glazed eyes, furtive glances, long yawns, the occasional snoring, use of smartphones and of course frequent (but unnecessary) trips to the bathroom!

Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of "chit chat," PechaKucha or Pecha Kucha is a presentation style, in which 20 slides are shown for 20 s each (6 min and 40 s in total). The format, keeps presentations concise and fast-paced and the images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. [5] So, why was this format invented? Simply because we talk too much! Give a microphone and some images to a professional or most people for that matter - and they will go on forever! Give PowerPoint to anyone else and they have the same problem. A typical PechaKucha session includes 8-10 presentations.

A lightning talk is a very short presentation given at a conference or similar forum. Unlike other presentations, lightning talks are designed to be between 5 and 10 min long, but are usually capped at 5 min. The format of lightning talks varies greatly from conference to conference. Slides may be discouraged, and a single computer running a presentation program is used by all speakers. If given in a format that includes slides, the speaker must be careful not to read the details which they include. The term "data blitz" is sometimes used to refer to a session of lightning talks, particularly at academic conferences. The goal of lightning talks is to demonstrate a topic in a quick and insightful manner. The significance of these concise and efficient talks is to grab the attention of the audience. The short presentations are also important because they allow people to imbibe a great amount of information in a short amount of time. [6]

Ignite is the name for a particular type of event that is held throughout the world at which participants speak about their ideas according to a specific format. The motto being "Enlighten us, but make it quick!" Ignite is a presentation format that is simpler than PechaKucha, but longer than lightening talks. In Ignite each speakers gets 5 min, and must use 20 slides with each slide advancing automatically after 15 s, forcing speakers to get the point, fast. Speaking at a just comprehensible clip of 160 words a minute, you get about 40 words/slide for a total of 800 words. [7]

The key to a great presentation is to present something you love. So let us curate, in other words, have a meaningful selection and display of great content. Let us respect the time and intelligence of the audience and keep the greetings and thanks to a minimum. Let us enlighten, but please let us make it a little quicker!

 
   References Top

1.Bumiller E. We have met the enemy and he is PowerPoint. The New York Times. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/world/27powerpoint.html/. [Last accessed on 2014 Apr 07].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Hammes TX. Essay: Dumb-dumb bullets. Armed Forces J. Available from: http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2009/07/4061641. [Last accessed on 2014 Apr 07].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Felder RM, Brent R. Learning by doing. Chem Eng Educ 2003;37:282.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Felder RM, Brent R. FAQs. II. Active learning vs covering the syllabus, and dealing with large classes. Chem Eng Educ 1999;33:276.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Pecha Kucha 20 × 20. Available from: http://www.pecha-kucha.org/night/. [Last accessed on 2014 Apr 07].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Giving Lightning Talks. Available from: http://www.perl.com/pub/2004/07/30/lightningtalk.html. [Last accessed on 2014 Apr 07].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.How and why to give an ignite talk. O′Reilly Media, Inc. Available from: http://www.igniteshow.com/. [Last accessed on 2014 Apr 07].  Back to cited text no. 7
    

 
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Ashish Sham Nichani




 

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