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Ban the Bullet-Point! Content-Based PowerPoint for Historians

History Teacher Volume 41, Number 1, ISSN 0018-2745


PowerPoint arouses many strong feelings, but the debate over the popular program typically pits advocates against detractors: fewer people discuss "how" PowerPoint should best be used in the classroom. Howard Strauss of Princeton University has observed that "a lot of the stuff that people try to do in smart classrooms is done badly," but University PowerPoint guidelines, with their lists of "dos and don'ts," appear mostly to be the work of IT professionals, not humanities instructors. Drawing on his own experiences lecturing with PowerPoint, the author suggests in this article that historians should use the program to display primary sources. They should avoid using PowerPoint as a summary of lecture notes, and abandon bullet points altogether. The author also provides some sample lecture slides to justify his approach and end with a brief list of technical hints on designing PowerPoint presentations for history lectures. (Contains 8 figures and 40 notes.)


Maxwell, A. (2007). Ban the Bullet-Point! Content-Based PowerPoint for Historians. History Teacher, 41(1), 39-54. Retrieved July 13, 2020 from .

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