I'm kinda screwed here. Graham, Marcie, and Tim are positively murdering the comments of the last post, raising great questions, and implying (in at least one case) that if I'm gonna talk up the connection between great presentations and our students' learning outcomes, maybe, um, I ought to do more than just gripe about the lousy ones.
But full disclosure: This has been the longest standing post in my Blog This Someday pile simply because I have absolutely no training as a designer of any sort. That may well be a boon to us here since the same could probably be said of our no-MFA-having teaching audience.
And the preface: If you're out there giving lectures or presentations with any regularity and you're only supplementing your talks with transparencies or nothing at all, consider investing in a laptop and a projector. For me it was a large hurdle between good presentation and great presentation, the sort where you spend twenty minutes from the front knowing you've got 'em mesmerized. Not for nothing, it has also transformed my teaching.
As with every slice of teaching, improvement is a three-step process:
- Target Areas For Growth. Do you want to make your presentations more engaging? No time for that? Fine. Perhaps you'd like to select another entrée from the menu.
- Get Metacognitive. Why did you enjoy that presentation on classroom management? Why exactly did you walk away from that talk on Corn Futures in the Midwest feeling like the PowerPoint muddled the point? Integrate the former into your own presentations and throw the latter out bouncer-style.
- Seek Out The Best In Those Areas, a task which, with the Internet, has never been easier. There is an RSS feed for every slice, I'm positive. Simply Google this topic to find that blogger who's just-okay but who links up to another guy who is positively at the top of the game.
Let me save you the trouble: Cameron Moll, Khoi Vinh, Guy Kawasaki, Garr Reynolds.I'm a piker next to those names (hence the line break) but I'll also encourage you to tune into my classroom slides. You can buy worse slides than mine.
Our first exercise.
- Which of the following slides do you prefer? Why does the information slide off one faster than the other?
Slides lifted from Garr Reynolds.
Answers are welcome in the comments (I'll post my own commentary shortly) but, truthfully, with this introductory post, the answer isn't the point. The process is the point. That three-step process has made me everything I am as a designer and a great deal of who I am as a teacher.