Workshops Without Power Points

Dear Presenter,

What I am about to suggest is without arrogance or flippancy. Do you think that for your next conference presentation that you could forgo the power points? Ok. No intention to be extreme. A few slides to illustrate but without the infrared pointer and the busy look-a-like slides. Could you just talk with us? Tell us some stories. Or perhaps, even more audaciously, ask us to get out of our seats, move about, and DO something, as human beings are wont to do. What about sparking a dialogue between us? There must be well over 100 years of collective wisdom and insight in this room. How might you tap into it, stir it up, in the same way we are trying to do with our students. Why not step out from the podium, put the mike down, turn off the projector, and challenge us—probe us—provoke us? Don’t you see that we are at risk of drowning in sound bites and recipes? Because we all want to be engaged, and already spend too much time in front of our digital altars to spend three days of that at this conference. We want workshops, think tanks, round tables, seminars. Just no more power points with mixed fonts and Disney like icons of people, bold faced arrows, and screens that fold like venetian blinds. Give us challenges. Unsettle us with problems. Wrest us out of our comfort zones. Deny us our I Pads and Air books. Dispense with the handouts and links— so that we can wrestle with experience and ideas, with real problems and opportunities. Invite us out of our silos so we can look in the eyes of those who surround us and leave the session inspired and enthused, confounded or perplexed. Anything but power point overload. Because education will never evolve if we don’t begin with ourselves and the ways and forms we choose to communicate. There is music in the human voice, and insights in our stories. And all of us know in our hearts, that this is no way to innovate.

About David Penberg

David Penberg is an urban and international educational leader. He has held leadership roles in non-profits, community-based organizations, independent, international and charter schools, and in higher education. He has a deep grounding in progressive education, the cross-cultural experience and leadership development. Dr. Penberg has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He was a fellow in the Carey Leadership Program at Bank Street College (1982-84) and Klingenstein Fellow for International School Heads at Teachers College, Columbia University (2008). He was the founding director of the nationally recognized Liberty Partnerships Program at Bank Street College. Since then, Penberg has held posts as Head of Studies and Head of School in international schools in Mexico City and Barcelona. He was most recently the Head of School at Innovate Manhattan Charter School in the lower east side and is an adjunct at Pace University’s Teaching Fellows program. He abides by Auden's dictum "We were put on earth to make things."
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2 Responses to Workshops Without Power Points

  1. Pingback: Workshops Without Power Points |

  2. Sunny says:

    YES! David! I am with you 100%! I give presentations without Powerpoints because I can’t stand to sit in presentation that uses them! People are being subjected to waaaaaay too much technology and dark rooms! Thanks for speaking out!

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