Quick PPT

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Oct
  • 30
  • 2008

Instead of drawing pictures to help make your points, find images that show what you want to draw. Arrange them in PowerPoint, using a black or white background on the slides. Do not use one of PowerPoint’s templates for this.

stop with some past utterance of geniusUse only images to help you communicate. Discussion with your audience will do the rest, so there’s no need to type anything on your slides. Each image helps your audience grasp the point you’re talking about. Don’t let words on the screen cloud the idea or make you think you don’t have to explain. Better not to use words than to fall into that trap.

Don’t even think of monkeying around with transitions. Keep this simple because you’re in a rush and don’t want to mess this up.

If you have time, pick words with enormous care. Pretend your computer will explode if you use too many words, but you don’t know how many that is. Use only what’s absolutely necessary.

The Files

The Story

the enemy of genius by over influenceEvery year that I teach the Why Read? unit, I draw the same things on the board, erasing and setting up the same illustrations each period. One of my goals is to put PowerPoint to better use this year (relax, my previous stance was to not use it at all, a much better position than the opposite). The morning before my lecture on Emerson, I grabbed actual images of the things I typically draw on the board and threw them into a PP slide deck. The finished result shows the rush and will certainly be polished up before used again, but it fits the teacher-using-PowerPoint oath: first, do no harm. Armed with my trusty Apple remote control and iRed Lite, the lecture commenced.

English dramatic poets have Shakspearized now for two hundred yearsIt was a lot more interactive this time. I wasn’t so concerned with drawing; my back wasn’t to my audience; the remote allowed me to change slides from… well, a few feet away at least. I think that seeing actual images of these points, rather than crude drawings, helped students make sense out of ideas I’d typically have to fully explain. They were able to meet me at least one quarter of the way toward understanding. Add to all this the ability to flip back-and-forth between images as talking points demanded and this was a success.

genius looks forwardI used this same technique when coaching classes through the finishing touches on their visual essays. Using a slide with poor placement, font choice, and font color, I provided options for improving each choice. Direct instruction on what each slide did to the presentation was followed by time for teams to work on their product, hopefully employing the techniques I demonstrated. Setting the deck in kiosk mode (Slide Show >> Set Up Show >> Browsed at a kiosk), seven seconds per slide (Slide Show >> Slide Transition >> Advance slide >> Automatically after ___ seconds), the class had the entire presentation on repeat to remind them of what I’d shown while they worked on their own slides.

Tomorrow will see us writing about Emerson. It’s been over a week since I presented this, but let’s see what they remember.

P.S. I didn’t upload these to SlideShare because image crops, reverse images, opacity settings, and such typically don’t render well there.

1 comment

1. J.D. Williams says:

[10/31/2008 - 5:34 am]

If you want to turn your power points into movies, or keep the animations, you might want to check out http://www.authorstream.com

I’ve been using it in my classroom this year instead of SlideShare. After we use a presentation in class I’ll do a voice over and upload it for absent students or students that want to review.