PowerPoint is tyranny

by Jay Cross on February 15, 2009

First of all, please go here and take two minutes to answer half a dozen brief questions about attending conferences.


Then, please join me later this week at Spaces for Interaction, a free online conversation on improving traditional conferences. Sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

My presentation, “PowerPoint is Tyranny” follows an opener from Teemu Arina and is followed by a presentation by Karen Hyder, so even if I bomb, it should be a great day.

Here’s the schedule. Note: the times are Central. From the overview:

    While a keynote speaker is presenting, back channel conversations occur through Twitter, facts are checked through Google searches, and opinions are expressed on blogs.* What changes are required in traditional conferences in order to take advantages of these ongoing conversations?
    * How can conferences be designed to amplify multiple back channel conversations, foster interaction over content presentation, and create opportunities for serendipitous learning?

What are your thoughts on off-site conferences?

The economy is sure to take a toll on discretionary events. I was just uninvited from presenting at eLearning Guild’s Annual Gathering. At least I didn’t have to eat a plane ticket, as happened to a friend in Europe who was just uninvited to the same event. Another friend cancelled out of Training 2009 after only two people signed up for his pre-conference workshop. The Learning Technologies conference in London last month held its own — but most of the attendees could take The Underground to get there.

Could the downturn change the shape of traditional conferences permanently? Decades ago, milk was delivered door to door to residents of Long Island. The milkmen went out on a long strike. People discovered the convenience of picking up milk at the grocery store. They bought it when they needed it. There was less spoilage. No more little notes for the milkman. When the strike was over, no one wanted home delivery any more.


Will a downturn in offsite conferences spare me from flying to Orlando several times a year? That would be a blessing.


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