The Pitfalls of Powerpoint

Date of Graduation

Summer 2007


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Kristene Sutliff


The use of PowerPoint has embedded itself in many facets of American culture. From the classroom to the boardroom, "Can you get the lights?" now calls the class or meeting to order. In education, PowerPoint slides indicate what information is important and will appear on the next test. Context is lost in favor of what content will fit on one slide. The most regrettable example of PowerPoint use resulted in the disintegration of the space shuttle Columbia in February 2003. Rather than admitting they had no useful or relevant data, Boeing engineers gave NASA 28 slides with virtually no usable information. The same program that seventh-graders use to present a book report to their class is used to make million-dollar, life-and-death decisions. PowerPoint is single-handedly changing the way people communicate and expect to receive information - and not necessarily for the better. The ability to write clear, effective prose is becoming less important than fitting the necessary information in six bullet points on one slide.


PowerPoint, NASA, education, ethos, communication

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Christopher A. Jones