WikiPoint: The Wiki as a Presentation Tool

A wiki is good for WimpyPoint presentation because it overcomes many of the drawbacks of PowerPoint:

WikiPoint means
A set of notes and an outline can be developed over time into a presentation and a readable document - and at the same time presentations can be made at any moment in the process.

Of course, even WikiPoint doesn't save us from passing off bullet points for exposition - or from mistaking the presentation of bullet points for being told something new, insightful, or significant to the situation. But it's a lot harder to pass off vacuum as content when you're not clanging bells and blowing whistles.

The idea of WimpyPoint (see About WimpyPoint was originally developed by Philip Greenspun, teacher, author, photographer. It was later rewritten into ACS by Jon Salz as a term project for MIT's Software Engineering of Innovative Web Services class.

WikiPoint in the classroom In Aiming for communal constructivism in a wiki environment Heather James discusses how she used a wiki (and the WikiPoint idea) in a workshop to enact a "communal constructivism." Heather's posting points up some of the pitfalls in using a wiki in a classroom: "The failure, really, is that I missed the opportunity to share the essence of the experience I am having collaborating on communal wikis. Instead, I merely slapped wiki technology onto a tried and true training method." The difficulty is (always has been) figuring out how to help students use (leverage, exploit) the underlying epistemic of the technology (which is why discussions from Tufte, et al are important, and why teaching suffers when we think of it as "delivery.")

How the technology influences the text See Ian Parker, Absolute Powerpoint: "'Powerpoint gives you the outcome, but it removes the process.'" It "risks squeezing out the provider of the process - that is to say, the rhetorician, the storyteller, the poet, the person whose thoughts cannot be arranged in the shape of an AutoContent? slide."

Sept 2003 PowerPoint is Evil, a one-page extract of Tufte's 26 page monograph, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint?. Makes a powerful argument on how the tool shapes the message, making it "difficult to understand context and evaluate relationships." Next time you're on a plane, keep in mind that safety decisions may have been made in the discursively thin atmosphere of PowerPoint?.

Feb 2005 BlogShop Lite, by Brian Lamb, might be seen as an extension of WikiPoint. Here, a wiki is used for a workshop on blogging: presentation, reference, and feedback. This is one way to put the process back in the presentation. But it won't catch on: it's way too simple to implement.

June 2002, moved 2004, moved again 2007. Updated as noted.
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