Month: April 2007

Total 21 Posts

The Sketchy Game Theory of Deal or No Deal

My channel-surfing friends elected to stick with Deal or No Deal only after I cracked open my laptop, fired up Excel, and ran an ongoing commentary on the expected value of that last suitcase and predicted what the Banker would offer whichever manic sap was on the hot spot that week. It was a weird and fun feeling to entertain a small crowd with math.¶ Problem was, I was always off on the Banker’s offer. I had questions about that; Tony Lucchese has answers.

Design for Educators: Intro (?)

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.

Fair enough.

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:


PowerPoint: Won’t Someone Please Think of the Children

The Bad

Stop pushing the complete text of your presentation into your slides.

From John Sweller at the University of NSW, Sydney, Australia:

“It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented.”

You’d think everyone could sing along with this by now, but there are still too many bullet points out in the world of PowerPoint.