I enjoy David Moats' commentaries: he usually manages to make very
astute observations from which he draws completely wrong conclusions. In
this case he is absolutely right: PowerPoint is a deadly tool when used
poorly (and I have so rarely seen it used well that it seems safer not
to use it at all, but that's just my prejudice).
To conclude, however, that students are getting dumber because
PowerPoint is being used is just funny. I like his two instances where
he expresses his favorite learning methods: doing research in the
library ("Instead I had to go to the library to look up unfamiliar terms
and to figure out what he was saying. It's called education.") and
enjoying a performance ("Some of my most memorable lectures years ago
came from an Indian professor of political philosophy who for an hour on
end would allow his mind to unfurl a long complex web of thinking...").
It's good that he recognizes his strongest learning styles and could
find ways to accommodate them.
Of course, we should acknowledge that some people actually can learn by
being read to. In fact, one of the major factors in the growth of
medieval universities was the idea that people who wanted to learn were
willing to travel to the place where the guy who owned the book would
read it--it was called a lecture. It proved influential enough that for
hundreds of years people who have adapted well to that teaching style
have been considered educated while those who have not have simply not
made it through the system.
Moats' complaining about a person doing a one-to-one reading of a
PowerPoint slide show to someone else simply points out that choosing
the wrong approach is a matter of bad teaching not bad technology. Or,
as has often been said, using technology to support bad teaching simply
results in bad teaching.
His comments point out something else: he is demanding that his
educational needs be accommodated. And in that he is both displaying a
very 20th century western notion of the importance of the individual and
supporting, perhaps unbeknownst to himself, the notion that technology
can be a powerful tool in tailoring the learning experience to the