Better Looking Presentations


This post is for all who do presentations but specifically to those working on their presentations for #ECOO13 this summer.

I hope that you’re not just firing up Keynote or Powerpoint or LibreOffice and filling in the blanks in a template to call it a presentation.  While this works, keep in mind audience engagement.  They want to hear YOU and the presentation behind you on the big screen helps guide the development of your topic.

This guide works best when it’s attractive and has the imagery to support your message.  I had the fortunate good luck to have a superintendent who delivered the very best presentations.  He was a master story teller and masterfully worked with Keynote as his presentation tool.  I actually booked some time with him one afternoon to learn how to be as effective as him.  That’s impossible but his tips did help me quite a bit.

He broke the mold about presentations long before it became popular.  He never started with a template (unless you called a blank screen a template…) and just filled his presentation with imagery, thoughts, and guiding principles to support his message.  In particular, he always included images of children doing things to support this message.  It was so effective.  You just wanted to hear his stories and follow along with the pictures.

His colours were right too.  At the time, we had just licensed Adobe Photoshop Elements for all Ontario schools and he made good use of it.  Before a picture got into his presentation, it went into Elements where he would use the eyedropper to get the colour codes from the images so that any text or drawing that he would use looked so professional.  Wow, this was one application of Elements that I hadn’t though about…and I was on the OSAPAC team that licensed it.

You can use it or find an even easier method using Pictaculous.  So, for example, this image from an infographic that I had made for myself at one time might make it to a slide in a presentation.

And, I’m bad with colours.  My philosophy has always been things go better with green.  So, this slide might well look like

and, of course, the complimentary colour with green is yellow.

Throw that up on a data projector and watch your audience gag!

Fortunately, Pictaculous comes to the rescue.  It’s very simple and even bypasses the need to use the eyedropper to get colours.  Of course, you’ll use Elements for more involved things.

All I need to do is upload my image and seconds later, I’m presented with the colour palette and suggestions for colours that will work well with the presentation.

Could getting the colours right get any easier?  There’s even an option for use with your Smartphone.

This will be really helpful for students who often confuse design with content!

Good luck with your presentations, Ontario Educators!

 

The Deal with Infographics


I must admit that I find the field of infographics fascinating.  In my Zite reader, I’m excited when one of them makes any of the categories that I follow and, to be sure that I get a daily fix, I have the category “infographics” selected.

What impresses me about the whole infographics concept is that one that is well crafted can convey so much information in one document.  Those of us who do presentations regularly will use pie charts or bar charts to identify data or elements of the data.  However, the conventional wisdom has always been to keep one piece of data analysis on a slide to make it readable.

Infographics take that conventional wisdom for a walk by the river and shoves it in.  In fact, infographics puts it all together in one place.  Unlike a pie chart where the experienced designer stands out by exploding a piece, infographics can share just a tonne of information all in one spot.  They’re not intended to be glanced at and moved on.  They are a work of art and data in themselves.  I’d go so far as to say that they’re another contemporary story telling technique.

Here’s one of the infographics that I spent time looking at this morning.  It’s titled “The pros and cons of social media in education” and was blogged by the Edtech Times who credit the authorship to OnlineUniversities.com.  Meet me under the infographic.

If we take a look at the infographic for its design, we see:

  • four major categories identified; (there are two number threes)
  • some bar charts;
  • graphic organizer showing relationships between items;
  • logos that we all recognize and are immediately drawn to;
  • sources credited for the resources;
  • identifier of the author;
  • a great deal of work with an image editing tool;
  • elements of design – colour, alignment, attractiveness to the viewer.

So let’s step away from the infographic per se, and think about this in the classroom.

A simple way to use the infographic would be as a resource from which to pull answers.  I’d like to think that we could move much deeper with the concept of infographics.  Why not make it the end result of a project?  Consider what the student or groups of students would do in order to be successful.

  • more than trivial use of their graphic tool; (Photoshop Elements, Powerpoint, CorelDRAW!)
  • the need to design the story they wish to tell;
  • research for facts, details, authorities;
  • design element choices – fonts, colours, graphics;
  • respect for copyright and the use of others’ efforts;
  • collaboration and agreement within their group;
  • choose the most appropriate way to display and tell their story;
  • determination of ultimate filetype;
  • critical decisions made about what information goes into the final design.

There is huge potential for this particular activity.  Not only is the process so important, the final product will display so nicely in the student or class blog or wiki.  Where do infographics fit with your curriculum?  If you are doing infographic activities with your class, please share challenges and successes below.

Powered by Qumana