• Andrew Smith


Excerpt #1/2 from 'How PowerPoint is killing critical thought', an essay by British author, essayist, and documentary-maker Andrew Smith. He is the author of 'Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth' (Bloomsbury 2009) and 'Totally Wired: The Wild Rise and Crazy Fall of the First Dotcom Dream' (Simon & Schuster 2013).

'I still remember the best lecture I ever attended. It was part of a joint series offered by the English and philosophy departments in my first term at university and, given that the subject was Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, should have been the dullest event in Christendom that night. But it wasn’t.

'The lecturer, Thomas Baldwin, had a deceptively simple style: he would write a proposition on the blackboard facing us and gaze at it for a moment, like a medium beckoning a spirit. Then he would turn and smile, and start to explain. Baldwin paced the room – but slowly...

'At one point he stood with his forehead in his hand for so long we almost called for a medic. He was so engaged, so present, that you could almost feel the motion of his mind – and through his, your own.

'I now have two children at uni who have both have found lectures frustrating... What’s more, during sample orations on open days, I had the same experience of being bored to tears by things I felt I should have enjoyed. So when my daughter reported an exception to this rule, I knew what my first question would be.

“Did the lecturer use PowerPoint?”

“Hm. No, he just spoke,” she said.

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#excerpt #humour #words #impact

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