The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about the history of PowerPoint as it celebrates it's 20th Birthday. The program was originally develped by Robert Gaskins (entrepreneurial visionary) and Dennis Austin (programming pro) in 1987 with a Mac version only to be sold to Microsoft later that year for $14 million. According to author Lee Gomes, this was Microsoft's first acquisiton. The developer's while justifiably proud of their invention also support the criticism over the misuse of PowerPoint. As Gaskins states "a lot of people in business have given up writing the documents. They just write the presentations, which are summaries without detail, without the backup. A lot of people don't like the intellectual rigor of actually doing the work." They also state that "It's just like the printing press," says Mr. Austin. "It enabled all sorts of garbage to be printed."
Another milestone has been reached on PPT - Powerful Presentation Techniques - the 200th post since this blog was launched a year or so ago. The number of daily visitors to the site continues to increase with around 60 unique visitors to the site every day.
John Sweller an Australian researcher at the University of New South Wales is quoted as saying that "the use of the PowerPoint presentation is a disaster" according to the Monster & Critics. He claims that cognitive load theory can be used to explain why it isn't effective especially when the words spoken are the same as the words on a chart. This creates an "overload" that diminishes learning and comprehension.