TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hickman Debuts in Blogosphere with Post Questioning Use of PowerPoint in Tax Class

HickmankA hearty blogosphere welcome to Kristin Hickman (Minnesota), who is guest blogging on PrawfsBlawg.  Her maiden post recounts her use of PowerPoint for the first time this semester in teaching Tax I.  She is stinting in her praise of PowerPoint:

On the one hand, the PowerPoint is easier to read than my handwriting, and it's great for spelling out three-part tests and working through the frequent mathematical computations that crop up in tax courses.

She has a much longer list of PowerPoint criticisms:

On the other hand, note taking seems to me to be a dying art among students, yet is a very valuable (if not essential) skill for junior attorneys; and using PowerPoint seems to make it easier for students to get by without learning how to take good notes. Moreover, PowerPoint seemed to me to suck all the life out of my class by removing much of the sponteneity as we adhered to the PowerPoint script.

I have shamelessly flogged before my recent article, Taking Back the Law School Classroom: Using Technology to Foster Active Student Learning, 54 J. Legal Educ. 551 (2004), which explains how I use technology to combat classroom somnolence.

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PowerPoint does turn you into a bit of TV weather person -- you need to know whether it's the satellite picture or the radar coming up next. And it's hard to take topics "out of order" in response to questions.

I hope Microsoft is hard at work solving both of those problems.

Having switched all my classes to PPt a few years ago, I'm never going back. To me, the benefits outweigh the detriments. It's an art form, though, and not everyone will do well with it.

Posted by: Jack Bog | Nov 29, 2005 6:34:40 AM

Anyone who both loves PP for the tidiness and hates it for the rigidity should try to use it with a tablet computer-this allows you to set up templates and then write on your projected slide with a stylus. This works similarly, but much better than overheads or a blackboard.

Posted by: Clarissa | Nov 30, 2005 5:40:02 AM