Thursday, July 10, 2008

PowerPoint 2.0

If you are a teacher, David Jakes and Dean Shareski's One Hour PowerPoint: A Strategy for Improving Presentations talk at NECC is a must see and read. I didn't go to NECC but fortunately these presentations were blogged by Wesley Fryer and Ewan Macintosh. Both are excellent write-ups.

Jakes and Shareski provide practical, simple advice for transforming PowerPoint presentations such as, "PowerPoint doesn't kill presentations bullet points do." As an alternative, they suggest using images to tell the story. This is all done by reviewing the basic biological fact that humans have far greater number of visual nerves than auditory nerves. [ Full disclosure - I'm using an Arial font for this post as a result of this presentation. ]

The pedagogy behind their PowerPoint strategy could be quite powerful. The sources of understanding are equally solid. Both design, story, and using metaphors (symphony) are three of the six senses Daniel Pink contends, in A Whole New Mind, that we will need to be successful in the Conceptual Age. How enriching is it to let students open their eyes and classmates' eyes to these 3 senses in the context of a story being read in Language Arts, a math problem, a scientific concept, or an historical event?

So here are some initial thoughts on using these strategies in my classes (September can't come soon enough).
  • I think a comparison-contrast would a great strategy tool for students: compare/contrast bullets vs. pictures, compare/contrast fonts and colors.

  • Having students create just 1 slide of text to sell something and then finding a picture to tell the same story could be a great introduction.

  • It would be cool to have students critique a published SlideShare Powerpoint presentation using the design principles here.

  • Metaphors are powerful on a bunch of levels: literacy, understanding, our own thinking; being able to find a visual metaphor for a textual one is even more so.

  • Student peer review and collaboration is a must for comparison-contrast and final products. It would be super cool to do this with a remote school. Seeing and then critiquing the collaborative responses and collaboration would be awesome!

  • Some teacher modeling would be helpful especially for younger students.

  • Finding images especially on Flickr Storm may be a bit problematic due to filtering but not an insurmountable obstacle.

  • Digital storytelling would fit nicely into this unit but 40 minute classes on once per week cycles can make continuity a bit rough; digitial storytelling may have to be it's own unit before we do this. Even better, powerpoint --> digital storytelling --> powerpoint could make for a helpful sequence.

  • Using Understanding By Design approach would really connect this to content.

  • Connecting this to classroom content is important since these would be taught in separate classes.

  • Showing not just telling about Creative Commons could be made into a mini-activity.

  • Crafting a messaging can have a thousand tie-ins to content areas.

  • Teaching Technology Literacy skills such as font, font size, font color, image insertion, embedding, new slide, and other mechanical stuff would be a snap. It all lends itself to it beautifully.

I'll be sure to post the results!

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