Last spring, I was recommended the book “Presentation Zen” by one of my colleagues Mark Heil. As a history teacher, I give ALOT of presentations. Sometimes there is just no better way to cover teacher directed information with pictures than using a Keynote or PowerPoint. This summer, I purchased the iBook and (ironically) it was the first one to be read on my iPad. The book was really insightful and made me realize that I had be approaching the idea of ‘presenting’ all wrong. Also, it gave me confidence in the creativity I could have in this arena. So, I went to work. Understanding that I could not revise all of my presentations at one time, I started with a few. The following concepts have really stuck with me when designing presentations for the class:
In the beginning: Tell a story. Brainstorm and organize the story before you even get started with the slides
During the Process: stick with a color theme, use larger fonts/color to emphasize words, do not overload the slides with words, eliminate bullets
For the Presentation: again, tell a story do not ‘read’ the words off the screen, engage the audience, leave your listeners with information in their hands (a brochure, flyer, etc.
One of the presentations I created for my Modern World History class was on the transition from the middle ages to the renaissance. By incorporating pictures, emphasizing font, and the use of borders and shapes it makes communicates the information more effectively than simply bullet points. The presentation in more memorable to the students when I can couple the appealing visuals with the story I am trying to tell them about the emergence of the renaissance. See the before and after below.
In the Classroom
As an end-of-the-unit culminating project, I had my economics students create Microeconomic PechaKuchas. They were to use concepts from the unit but, could choose the topic of their choice. Below is one of the students presentation on consumerism.