Presentation Tools

Michael Walker Tweet About Using TodaysMeet During An Online Presentation

Digital presentation tools figure prominently in many traditional, online and blended learning environments. As we saw in the 2007 Educause video highlighting Net Gen students’ use of technology, our students consider themselves very proficient technology users, even though deeper probing reveals an often surface-level understanding and use of these tools.

Reflecting on your students and your own learning, how might these ‘next-generation’ presentation tools help students both as individuals and as members of a community of  practice? How might they serve to address the criticisms Mott and Wiley level against traditional higher ed learning environments often shaped by course management systems? In exploring this week’s materials, can you identify ways in which these tools could support our diverse learners as suggested, for example, in the nine Principles of Universal Design for Instruction?

In our face-to-face session we’ll explore some ‘next-generation’ presentation tools with an eye to how they can support and engage our learners. We’ll take our first look at our course wiki and talk about our upcoming virtual session.

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16 Responses to “Presentation Tools”

  1. edadedebas Says:

    The article “Really Bad Power Point” by Seth Godin suggests that power point is no longer a powerful tool of presentation. He explains the reasons why power point as a presentation method is overused and misused and the reasons why more interactive and communicative presentation tools are necessary. In the second half of the article, Godin lists four important components for a great PowerPoint presentation. These are:
    1) Make cue cards
    2) Don’t repeat the words in the slides
    3) Create a written document which will be given to the audience after the presentation
    4) Create a feedback cycle
    Furthermore, he suggests that the presentation should also address the emotional side so as to make “a good sale”. His suggestions are very helpful if you plan to use a PowerPoint presentation. I think his list is very comprehensive and makes you nod as you read through the article. However, I find it a little less convincing when he does not really present any other presentation tools but offers important points for the presenters so that they can prepare better presentations. The beginning of his article begins as if he is going to present alternative tools to PowerPoint but rather he gives helpful tips for the presenter. I must confess that they are very handy but I think he could have added some alternative as well.

    Secondly, I read Jason Jones’s article “Challenging the Presentation Paradigm” on a new presentation technique called Pecha Kucha. Pecha Kucha is a new presentation tool that aims to use 20 slides only each of which changes every 20 seconds. In total, the presentation should not exceed 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Within the article, Jones adds a video clip that demonstrates the Pecha Kucha style. His topic in the video is signs and he aims to make it as vivid as possible. In the slides, you can use one image or one phrase but the rule is the presentation has to be SHORT, INFORMAL, and CREATIVE. A Pecha Kucha style presentation does not summarize a thesis, but rather it aims to give a brief idea about a topic. The image/the phrase needs to be striking. After the embedded video, he lists the rules of preparation. First, you prepare a ppt presentation with 20 slides, then make a slide show in which each slide will appear only 20 seconds. After that, he suggests that you prepare a text and rehearse your text. The basic challenge – which he also faces at the end of his own presentation as well – is to finish your text in 20 seconds.

    Overall, I find the Pecha Kucha style very interesting. It challenges the PowerPoint and makes it more dynamic. Jones follows and applies the ideas that Godin uses. The presentation is striking and the audience listens to the presenter instead of focusing on the slides and solely reading them. You read the phrase or see the image in the first 3-4 seconds and then really focus on the presenter. However, I think there are two things that make me doubt. 1) To what extent does the Pecha Kucha style make the audience active? Yes, they are more active learners but they do not really contribute. 2) How do we deal with topics that cannot be really presented in 6 minutes and 40 seconds? Or do we have to put a time limit? What if the topic could be narrated in 15 slides, in 5 minutes? What do you think?

    • soledadre Says:

      Thanks Eda for this interesting summary.
      About “Really Bad Power Point”, yes, when you started I also thought that the article would present alternatives to the PWP tool. I don’t know, maybe the author just wanted to give some alternatives/tips inside the very same PWP because as it is overused many people will still use it. Therefore, if it is inevitable, it would be better that they follow Godin’s advice.
      The idea of the Pecha Kucha presentation explained in “Challenging the Presentation Paradigm” is a very interesting one but I also have my concerns. As you say Eda, some ideas are very difficult to summarize in 20 seconds as well as a complete topic in less than 7 minutes. It is quite more than a challenge. In any case, I think Pecha Kucha presentations are just an alternative to be used in certain situations, in some others you would be asked to present the question in deep. For instance, I consider it a good option in some conferences, since you may be interested in the general topic but not necessarily in every specific content. Thus, with Pecha Kucha presentations, you can receive a fast but proper approach to the different matters without getting bored. If one of the presentations really interest you, then, the interaction presenter-audience can start. Then, what is necessary is to provide an environment in which presenter and audience interested in extend that specific topic, can freely interact (face-to-face speaking in a room during the conference, virtual meetings, chats…).

      • rosariopollicino Says:

        Hi Eda and Sole,
        I have just watched two dirrefent presentation in Pecha Kucha Style on purpose. I have watched one about a disaster in Japan due to the burst of a nuclear center there and another one about a funny story someone criticizine ‘quiche’ the delicous frech dish. I have decided to watch presentation about such different topics as i wanted to see what the result would have been.
        Have to be honest the result was excellent approaching either a very serious and sad subject like and a funny and entairtaining one. I personally like pecha kucha as it’s a way to give short presentation, essential, but not necessrily incomplete!
        I agree with Sole that it depends on the situation and on the degree that we have been requested to go deep into our presentation however we may be requested in a conference or in a job context like in a company to present in a short amount of time the best of our project, research or discoveries. What would you answer in that case? ‘It’s not enough time’ taking the risk not to have the possibility to present your project again?
        I hope not girls! Pecha Kucha teaches us how to be essential for a presenter who know that this is a pecha kucha presentation which will not last long and this keep the audience attention focused. They know it’s a short presentation and especially if they are tired will make an effort to listen actively.
        Eda I haven’t read the article you did , hoeever from your excellent summary I can easily understand what was the good message behind it. This article did not aim to give us any alternatives becasue it’s easy to find the different presetation tools available online we hear a name and we google it, but this article wanted to give to its readers important hints in how to choose the correct presentation tool according to the time available and to the target audience. Briefly, Pecha Kucha is good and efficient as well but all of us if we had more time would simply change presentation tool. Now We know how many they are and it’s up to us explore them whenever we have time!
        let’s enjoy exploring nad above all SHARING!

        • edadedebas Says:

          Hi Rosario and Soledad,

          Thanks for responding to my post. First of all, I agree with Soledad that to me Pecha Kucha looks a little incomplete to me, too. I don’t think we can use it for our own research and/or relating research materials. However, we may use it in a 1001 level language class perhaps. We may ask the students to share a short presentation with us (6 minutes and 40 seconds). In Pecha Kucha, it is required to use one image and/or one phrase in each slide. I thought that it could be a good exercise for vocabulary learning.

          Rosario, thanks for responding too. I am a little skeptical about Pecha Kucha. I am not that optimistic but I agree with you that we need to explore more presentation tools about teaching. Pecha Kucha could still be a useful tool whenused appropriately.

  2. soledadre Says:

    Anatomy of a Project: “Give Me Shelter” is a great 5 minutes video about a project carried out in Casco Boy High School in Portland. It is a 8-week multimedia project where students leave the classroom to learn about homeless people, about human story and its impact in their real life. I consider this project a really great example for me as an educator since it wonderfully achieves a participative and collaborative learning in a real environment. Students have to elaborate a profile of the homeless they interview and then share it with the rest of the class to build a multimedia project. The project is a great opportunity to use those almost everyday tools (laptops, iphoto, garageband, digital camera) in an educational way. From the very beginning the project goes out from the classical boundaries of the classroom and it also does with respect to the audience: the homeless themselves were the most important part of the audience. Therefore, students learn by doing, going out to the real world, collaborating with others, using the opportunities that technologies offer, and arriving to a previously unimaginable audience.
    I think that this project is wonderful and its consequences can be even more. It can open the eyes of those principals in high schools that think that any innovation within “their” school is too risky –what if parents complaint, what if something happens to the kids, what if…–. Here, they have an example of how much we can learn if we go out the safe boundaries of our classroom, giving students real tools and strategies to manage real life.
    You should really watch the video, you won’t regret.

    • rosariopollicino Says:

      Hi Sole

      I watched the video and as you said I don’ tregret at all. You described perfectly with the straight involment of the students and the teachers which were involved in it. However, now I would like to add that what is great in an organization of such a nice and useful project is not only the use of technology which is obviously amazing in the way they do, working for their class but actually outside the school, but also. I believe that an important aspect is to underline that they get directly involved in a new experience. At the beginning is a kind of strange for them but with the proceeding of this project they get more confidence in the use of technology using all its potential but also in their experience as student driectly involved in these social studies environment interacting amazingly with adults like the homeless and all the rest surrounding.
      Watching the video show these students, at some point, as expert of what they are trying to achieve, expert in their goal. All these may be impressions or just an example of getting from a peripherical position into a more centered one in what we have already called in different instances community of practice!

      • soledadre Says:

        Yes!! I also think the most important point is what the studentes learn: they can go out, interact with the world, learn by themselves… learning is all around not only withing the static classroom!!

  3. paolflor Says:

    The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture
    A new type of instruction is developed by the teachers Karl Fisch and Jon Bergman/Aaron Sams. Homework includes students watching and listening to the instructor’s lecture while the in-classtime is dedicated to tackling difficult problems, working in groups, researching, collaborating, crafting and creating. In other words, classrooms become laboratories or practical studios while content delivery is pragmatically shifted and preserved.

    Flipped classroom advantages are that the theoretical/lecture-based component of the lessons become more easily accessed and controlled by the learner. Students get access to multiple learning styles and abilities, which further allows them to learn at their own pace and yet through traditional models. Learners could control the pace of processing both the content and information they have been exposed to. Moreover, they can review parts of the content/material that are misunderstood, which need further reinforcement, and/or those parts that are of particular interest.

    Flipped Classroom Model

    EXPERIENTIAL EXERCISE: students are involved in hands-on learning activity to engage them in real experiences. Consequently learners create meaning for and about that experience. Activities are designed for in-class time and often occur in a group setting. They are synchronous when in a blended course having face-to-face instructional time and when online, educators provide some type of hands-on activity or simulation for students to complete during a real-time synchronous webinar trough Adobe Connect, Elluminate and so forth.

    CONCEPT EXPLORATION: learners watch content-rich video (where concepts are presented in an accessible form) and explore what the experts have to say about the topic. Information is presented via video lecture, content-rich websites and shared with other students through chat. Then, students can ask questions about the content presented via videos, podcasts, and websites with responses provided by co-learners and educators.

    MEANING MAKING: It is a phase of deep reflection on what was experienced in the previous two stages.
    Learners process and share the content topic being covered through written blogs or verbal-based audio or video recordings.

    DEMONSTRATION AND APPLICATION: here learners apply the material studied by creating something that is individualized and extends beyond the lesson with applicability to the learners’ everyday lives. In this way they demonstrate they can come up with a new point of view about the topic being studied.

    Flipped Classroom model as presented is a very powerful tool for the teaching/learning activity. One of its best features, in my opinion, is the student’s involvement in his own learning process with his own rhythm and capacity of perception. The learner not only must engage in processing the content topics, but also reflect on them in order to become a co-creator of knowledge with his peers and educators. Moreover, Flipped Classroom model promotes a change of paradigm in the classroom and in general of the teacher’s methodologies. The instructor’s role changes from being the mere knowledge-authority figure to a guide, facilitator and helper of students. In the case of the students, Flipped Classroom makes it possible for them to acquire different learning styles as well as to initiate self-learning and acquisition. Consequently, both the students and learners can implement new technologies and methodologies into the classroom. Those will change the dynamics and phase of lessons. The students will have thus the chance to demonstrate their abilities by providing innovative and creative standpoints on topics they may have just learned.

    • soledadre Says:

      Thanks Paola, :< . It's a great article. I think is really interesting how the lesson is developed. The fact of having the students listening/watching the “theory” outside the classroom really changes the traditional methodology in a positive way; students can chose the pace in which they learn, if they have understood something they can just go on with the next step, and if not, they always can come back, review and if necessary, ask their mates and teacher. All that is time saving for the classroom. In class, learning will become a real workshop for applying the content receive and becoming active learners, always with the guide and advice of the teacher. Therefore, this method will be suitable for different types of learners since they can listen, watch and perform. An interesting point would be related to evaluation, I think at that stage the most important point to assess would be their capacity to apply theory and practice with some sort of personal project in their real life. If they do that, they would have learnt great skills for their future.

  4. marineuconn Says:

    Here are some very good tips that can help you improve your power point presentations (after Gary Reynolds: “Presentation tips”).
    – keep in mind that the ppp is a SUPPORT. That means: no text (it seems a bit idealistic but those are the best presentations). YOU are the one in charge of the narration, do not let the presentation speak in your place.
    – your presentation must be structured and logical, that’s why you should always begin the preparation of your presentation with a pen and a piece of paper (or better, a whiteboard).
    – make sure you know and keep in mind the key ideas of the message you will be delivering (you should be able to sum up the presentation in 40s if asked).
    – no superfluous information: keep it simple. Avoid the catalog of data : “Do not fall into the trap of thinking that in order for your audience to understand anything you must tell them everything.”
    – leave plenty of white space. Avoid superfluous overloads such as logos. Use simple and meaningful charts with contrasting colors (warm colors for the foreground, cold colors for the background). Use photography of people (helps the audience to connect at an emotional level). All the information you put on the ppp must be relevant (ask yourself: how much detail do I need?).
    – avoid cheesy sound effetcs. Stay professional and subtle. Use audio and video only when it is appropriate.
    – be prepared: know the audience and its expectations (what are they? how can I meet them?).
    – finish the preparation by reviewing your presentation with the slide sorter, it will give you a global overview and might lead you to some minor changes such as splitting a slide into two parts. Use san-serif font (Arial, Gill Sans).
    – get the audience’s attention: never show your back. Never switch off all the lights because the audience needs to look at you as you are the one delivering the message. Look at individuals rather than scanning the whole group. Don’t stay on the podium, use a handheld remote. Use the “B” key (blank) when you want all the attention on you. Never read text from a slide.

    These tips have made me seen the value of the ppp, that is more often used as an echo of the speaker’s voice than as an efficient support that helps the understanding [Sylvia Rosenthal points out in “Presentation21” that people remember better when they see a piece of information—65% of it after three days against 10% when they hear it]. I hope this summary will be a great help for your future presentations but also for having the students use technology properly as we have seen in the ELI video.

    • soledadre Says:

      I love it!! I’ve written everything down!! In fact I usually follow most of those tips in my presentations, but it is good to remember. For me the most important point is: do not write everything, please!! I’ve seen so many presentations in my university (not only from students but also from teachers) so full of letters!! When the slide is there you can stop reading it, and therefore you stop listening the person, and it becomes not a presentation but a reading. Please, just the ideas, the key points to follow the flow of ideas of the speaker!! But it gets even worse when the speaker starts turning towards the screen and reading word by word what is written as if it were new for him/her too… PPTs are our friends, but if we do not use them properly, they can become our worst enemy, and we bring them from home…

    • rosariopollicino Says:

      Marine, thank you very much for you summary. I use a lot ppt especially for my teaching but also as a presenting tool in general trying to be engaging in both cases. One thing I am realizing now, aftering reading your post, is that using ppt for presenting something must be more organized and clearer than the one for teaching. I mean, for teaching as we are used to either teach and a learn we can organize it easily we do know what to expect as a teacherand above all as a student. For presenting a work to an audience we really need to make the subject clear as they may not have any idea of what will happen and so the expectation of content might not help in understanding our messange while it actually does in class.
      Not going through all the list of useful advices but for sure it is good know it’s here in your post and I’ll visit it for sure again next time I will have to present one of my work. Thank you!

  5. rosariopollicino Says:

    Alex Reid’s post on Richard Miller’s MLA Dream:

    These two videos are extremely interesting as in 16 minutes they present how we went from the classic book representing a specified and limited content of information to the online endless resource of information which we can easily reach nowadays. To get to this point we had to go through some incremental changes that have brought the new concept of collaborate with texts, images, film and any sort of archive that is available online. Nowadays’ material, in fact, constantly changes as it is relates to ideas that are part of our culture belong to it rather than to us individually and under this strong point of view they should be shared. Yes guys once again sharing is the secret of improving the community of learners. We can share nowadays in a very fast and global way an easy example is you tube how ideas can be spread around the world in such a short amount of time.

    The point of this reading though and especially of Alex Reid’s post is if this is likely to happen or better what obstacles we believe there might be.
    The first and most important difficulty is the economic one. Universities should really accept that humanities are becoming more expensive that ideas need to be shared and that faculty should get these skills to teach students. Also the graduate and undergraduate should also develop those skills to better reflect the modern job market. Last but not least to keep studying with these new perspectives bearing in mind the new drive of our collaborative and sharing culture as ideas do not belong to us individually but to us globally.

    Now I am curious to ask you all as educators first and than as a student What do you all think? Do you like sharing ‘your’ ideas and do you truly believe you ideas ar enot yours and belong to our culture instead?

    • loisramirez Says:

      This was a very eye-opening video, but what struck me the most was the summarizing words in the video, Creativity, Curiosity, Collaboration. Rosario, just like you mentioned it seems that sharing our ideas and expanding beyond the paper is the key element in order to spread our knowledge to others. To answer your question, as an educator and a student I believe sharing our ideas is a necessity, I mean in our teaching methodology we spread our knowledge to our students by utilizing methods taught to us and in some cases we come up with our own methods (this is the part where we share our ideas). In an ideal environment, the student shares their ideas as well not only to its fellow classmates but with the “teacher” itself, creating a feedback loop (I am a firm believer that we never stop learning). As for our ideas being ours vs. part of our culture, I would first have to fully define Culture; not an easy task. I think we as an individual contribute in both passive and active ways to the creation of our “Culture” therefore I think that our ideas start as our own and then, if shared, they become part of our culture. I think the 3 c’s (Creativity, Curiosity and Collaboration) all form part of our Culture.

  6. loisramirez Says:

    Diego Leal’s BRINGing it OUT a notch K12 Online Conference 2009 Keynote. puts into perspective the idea that learning in the classroom is not as evolved as we think. He does a comparison of the materials that his teachers used while he was in school and how these are variations on the methods learned by the copyist of the Middle Ages. He uses his old notebooks as an example that demonstrates how a simple margin became the limiting frame of his learning. Through the use of his notebooks filled with paragraphs regurgitated by a teacher in form of dictation, and colorful maps copied from other texts (as a tool to enhance creativity, but how can this happen when it is a mere copy?); he confirms what many of us have probably asked in the past, why am I learning this for? And what is the purpose of it? This is what he calls the modern copyist.
    Leal says that the student only knows that the class will only get harder and that if he does not understand what it is being taught he would just have to go through it all over again. The lack of understanding of the curriculum or ability to have a say on what could be taught, limits the input and interest of the student in its learning process. In addition to class curriculum editing power being only given to the teacher, other subject areas seem to be completely independent from each other. Creating once again a limitation in the student’s learning possibilities.
    He explains how the new generations of students are making use of new technologies, but these practices are being implemented in the same “copyist” style. He blames this effect on the lack of creativity from the instructor’s part.
    He gives a great example of how we can use new media and technologies to reach other people beyond our classroom. This is the story of a small public school located in a marginalized section of a Colombian city. The project “give the keys” was started by a technology teacher who, saw that limiting the student’s access to the school’s computer lab was hindering their learning process and creating a barrier in between student and media. She began to slowly grant access to the students through the usage of student monitors; creating a snowball effect in which the students began to take pride on their school’s resources and its maintenance, something that might seem counter intuitive yet yielded a great result. In seeing the success of the technology program, other members of the community such as working mothers and senior citizens were given access to the computer lab. The program has now grown and diversified, “Give the Keys” is composed of various subjects beyond media and technology.
    Leal brings up great ideas, we have been taught to stay within the lines of each subject matter, and this is the approach many of us have in terms of technology. It is only possible to start building the bridges if we start thinking outside the box. We need to find ways to reach others by enabling the media gap and language barrier. Leal uses the idea translation as a method to learn about a subject a passive way to get a student to learn more about a topic and an active way to build the bridge and reach other people that are on the other side of the gap.

    • marineuconn Says:

      Thank you for your great summary Lois! In my opinion, the author brings up a key question: how to connect students and teachers in an effective way?
      – “to have a say as to what could be taught”: if students had the opportunity to express their own interests, expectations and desires for the class, their motivation and participation would probably increase. One way of doing this is to give them the opportunity to discuss the lesson plan together with the instructor–students would bring up new components (coming from their own experiences or from their different learning backgrounds) or decide to leave out some other components. To my mind, this co-work would enrich the lesson plan and adapt it to the students’ expectations in terms of form and content; it would also give the students decision making power. New technologies like web 2.0, because they are multi-centered, might change the expected passive attitude of the student.
      – “the lack of understanding of the curriculum”: if they feel lost, students may withdraw from class. Sometimes, their difficulties are due to a lack of feedback or interest from their instructor. A community of learning would at least connect them with other classmates, if not with the instructor him/herself.


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