Teacher Tap


Presentations that Pop!

A presenter's enthusiasm will be contagious if he/she combines a meaningful mission with engaging examples and opportunities to extend the experience. - Annette Lamb

Presentation PopWhether you and your students use PowerPoint or Google Presentations, it's time to re-imagine our student assignments and assessments. Identifying a meaningful mission, infusing engaging examples, and offering opportunities to participate and extending the experience through technology-rich resources are critical to project pizazz. Eliminate the common problems that poison presentations and make your projects pop!

PowerPoint can be seductive. Young people and teachers alike are susceptible to it's charms. Small groups can be heard saying:

Rarely do we hear students or educators talking about the purpose of the presentation, the quality of the information presented, or opportunities to extend the experience beyond the presentation. These are the elements that make a presentation powerful... not clipart and annoying sounds.

You can download a short PowerPoint presentation that provides an overview for your students and teachers. In the past, presentations often displayed factual information as a series of bullet points. Increasingly, skillful presenters are shifting their attention from disseminating facts to designing experiences that address the diverse needs of their audience and the many channels of communication available for conveying ideas.

Rather than exploring PowerPoint, let's explore how to think differently about presenting ideas, representing ideas, and extending the experience. For instance, thinking about the structure of animals through the use of X-ray images by Nick Veasey from National Geographic.

Try It
Is PowerPoint seductive? Why or why not? Are you happy with the quality of student presentation? What would you like to see change?

Meaningful Missions

A meaningful mission is at the core of an effective presentation.

You may have heard of the chrysalis stage of a Monarch butterfly, but did you know other insects have a similar pupa stage? For the mosquito it's called tumbler.

Think about your mission. Will you involve the audience in your inquiry process including questioning, thinking, inferring, and reflecting?

Reflect on primary source documents, speeches, and landmark decisions. We've all read the Gettysburg address, but what does it mean to you. What visuals would represent your thinking about the speech? Watch the project posted on YouTube.

Try It
Select content that matches the mission. Do you want participants to enjoy or take action? Select a word that could provide focus for a student presentation assignment. What type of assessment could you use to evaluate this type of assignment?

Engaging Examples

footballEngaging examples bring life to a presentation.

We often explore history through famous people such as presidents. However it's interesting to learn about every day people too. Use family photos to bring history alive. My great grandfathers played on the same football team in high school around the turn of the last century. Lynk Thomas is in the front row on the extreme right and Paul Kinnick is sitting beside him. What would they have thought of the president of the United States at the time?

Use compelling examples including stories, experiences, anecdotes, and varied resources. How will I bring the topic alive with my ideas?

You can't take your audience to the African Safari to explore the habitat of the zebra. However you could describe the habitat within the context on a panorama image as part of a virtual experience. Go to Gigapan and 360Cities for many examples.

Try It
Do you want people to think "in the box" or "around the edges"? Select a word that could provide focus for one of your lessons or presentations.

Organized Opportunities

Consider ways to extend the presentation experience by offering options that go beyond the primary presentations materials.

How will I involve my audience? Organized opportunities to participate and extend the presentation experience include connecting to an online version of the presentation materials, sharing additional resources or participating in online discussions associated with the topic, or providing options for participants to take action and learn beyond the scope of the presentation.

Help participants associate the topic with their own life. For instance, you might provide calculators and other online tools. Life expectancy calculators are an example that might be used when talking about healthy habits: Life Expectancy CalculatorLiving to 100The Longevity GameVirtual Age. Also explore the Living Longer Interactive.

What type of opportunities best match my audience and need? Select technology-rich tools and resources to promote interaction and collaboration. Do you view the presentation to be the end or the beginning of a larger experience?

Provide resources that allow participants to learn more about the experience. For instance, after talking about the Inca civilization, ask participants to explore the GigPan image of Machu Picchu. Then, go to the Google Earth Machu Picchu Tour.

Try It
From elaborate social networks to vivid virtual worlds, tomorrow's presenters will have increasingly sophisticated technologies available for communicating ideas. However the key to an effective presentation will continue to be how these tools are applied to meet the needs of the audience. How will you use technology to make the most of the experience?
Pick a meaningful mission.
Identify interesting examples.
Organize opportunities to extend th experience.

Now that you realize the presentations are about content not PowerPoint, explore other tools for creating presentation materials:

Use the links on the left to move through this online workshop.

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