After watching David Phillip’s TEDx Talk about How to Avoid Death by Powerpoint I realized that maybe we are doing it wrong. I don’t mean creating presentations. I mean teaching students that they need to know how their presentation will be viewed before they start. “Is there going to be a live audience or is it designed for the audience to read?” How many of us have asked students that question? I wonder if telling students to use Slides for things that are designed to be read is in and of itself part of the problem.
Instead, we need to look at other options for making things that are designed to be read by the audience. There are many ways that we can create resources that are designed to be read. For example, Book Creator is now available on Chrome, why not make books for information that are designed to be read. Books are designed to be read, therefore people have a different attitude towards the way they engage with them. When an audience is given a book they are expecting to take time and read each element on the page. That is what we do with books.
If our goal is to present then our audience expects to listen. Listening and reading are not always hand in hand. The point that David Phillips and this blog post titled The Scientific Reason Why Bullets Are Bad for Presentations where Dr. Atherton is quoted as saying
“that when you accompany a lecture with bullet point slides, your audience will switch between reading and listening. This type of task switching is cognitively exhausting.”
The article is mainly discussing the woes of bullet points but the principles apply to sentences on presentations as well which is one of David Phillips’s things to avoid.
Basically, they are all saying the same thing less, less, less. Not less slides as David Phillips says.
“Amount of slides in a powerpoint has never been the problem, the amount of objects on a slide is the problem”
Less stuff on the slides. Making sure that the slide is simply something to visually represent the speaking point.
So reflecting back on a slideshow that I created at the beginning of the year. The original plan was to have some time to present it to all of the ES teachers during the orientation days. That time got shrunk to 5 minutes and so my slides went from 24 slides to 3. The 3 slides that I did present were very minimalist since I planned on speaking to them. But the rest of the slides were shared with teachers with the expectation that they read them.
Now I think that I should have created another type of resource. With that in mind, I am going to reimage the slideshow as a book in the new Book Creator for Chrome app. I would share that but it turns out that there are so many more options in Book Creator that I have fallen down the rabbit hole and hope to come up sometime around the Course 3 final project!
I can show you this Slides presentation:
Which I originally thought wasn’t too bad but then I think I have improved it with some modifications to things like the titles on each slide.
A couple of things. This is designed for a workshop that I do so the URL in the top right corner is helpful because people occasionally join in the middle of the session. Also, I do these as visual references and then talk the audience through the building of a sample site. I find that if I do it live they lose the spot, so if I have images they can look back up to see where to go. So the first slide is generally up for at least 5-6 minutes as everyone is coming in so it is not really part of the presentation, the same with the last slide.
PS. The reason that I don’t embed YouTube videos in my blog posts, but link to them instead can be found by reading this blog post Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog – My Story.
PSS. Just for fun! Death by Powerpoint comedy skit!