Compatibility’s Limits

Today in class, a student brought up a PowerPoint slide deck that he wanted me to edit and go over with him, in preparation for tomorrow. Then he’ll be presenting to a class of sixteen, so he wanted it to be right.

In the course of looking at the slide show, we discovered several small issues that we wanted to revise. So we cracked our fingers, and got to work. Except we didn’t.

It turns out that there were substantial differences in the capabilities of my copy of PowerPoint and the one he was using at home. And that my copy could read his slide deck, but not write to it. Not without putting compatibility with his version at home at risk.

This is a challenge to the digital educational age, I fear — the software tools and the formats for the files are proliferating. Yes the reverse compatibility issues are eating older work alive. It also puts our teachers on the spot, to keep licenses and software up to date.

Who pays for all of this?

5 comments

  1. Dear Mr. Watt,
    I would do what the first comment says, but that would include teaching all the students and teachers how to do that. I have no idea how to do what this guy is talking about! I’m asuming you know that if you don’t know who is paying for all of this, I don’t.
    -Maggie

  2. Andrew,
    Our school experiences the same power point problem over and over. We also have mac and pc issues. We now encourage students to use Google presentations. Although not as robust, kids can work on their presentations anywhere the Internet is available. This has been a huge stress reliever for our kids and staff.

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