Message received?



If you can’t explain it simply. You don’t understand it well enough.

Albert Einstein

I have read about and looked for design in everything and everywhere this week.  I have read about the top trending typography designs for 2016, I know about  Aeron Weyenberg’s design genius when creating presentations: ‘When your slides rock, your whole presentation pops into life.’ I know about the rule of three so successfully used by Steve Jobs  and used so long ago by  Thomas Jefferson ‘ life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. So this week should have been easy.

All I had to think about was, what’s my takeaway? instruction? narrative?  Can I check off Garr Reynold’s list of design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning in my presentation ? Less is more, you can do this. Suffice to say, I am still at the exploring phase in my learning and am way off reaching applying, but it has been fun and challenging trying. My presentation is about using Twitter in classrooms.

My objective: To encourage teachers to have a go and see the benefits of using Twitter with their students

My audience: Lower school faculty and at some other point, local teachers  in the Luxembourgish schools

My message: Have a go but make sure students, teachers and parents know why you are using it

Here is my very hurried, badly designed, death by words presentation . It’s a combination of the ideas expressed by the students after a lesson with my class and our Grade 4 buddies on how we are using Twitter and my attempt at getting those norms and guidelines in. The idea of the conversation came from the buddies and I wanted to go with that as I thought everyone could connect to this idea. So although my audience would be different, I have to own up to admitting I  thought I could use some of these slides in my presentation to our faculty…now I know  I definitely can’t!

I really had to think about my message.

My aim was to keep it simple and light in the actual presentation, the details would come in the handout.

Show reasons why using Twitter is a great tool.

Encourage the audience to have a go or want to know more

Make it easy for them to try with ready made guidelines,letters for parents, instructions on how to set up and a multitude of tried and tested ways to use it in the classroom. I will accompany my presentation with a handout with all of these included.

After reading Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen and watching Jeff Utecht’s video I started with a sketch  book, sketching my ideas I wanted to get across.

Next step was trying to find the just right image. This took me a very long time. I started with a lot of slides and kept reducing them, trying to think about the check list. Each time I kept coming back to the story element. Does it read as a story?

In my first two attempts I had over 20 slides and I kept eliminating.

twitter slide show                                               twutter slide show 2

I struggled with the opening slide and finally decided on the second.

Original opening slide

Original opening slide

Final version opening page

Final version opening page

Here is the final version of the presentation, I think I still have too many slides and I know I am not there yet. My presentation is in two weeks, so I still have time to apply any feedback.  I have purposefully included citing the photos on each slide as a reminder to the audience that these images should be credited to the owner. I notice that most presentations cite the images at the end of the presentation, and perhaps the way I did it detracts from the design.

Below is a first draft of my slide notes and links to handout ideas.

Slide notes

1,2,3,4  A child’s learning is always growing, learning happens through conversations and exploring their many wonders and curiosities that they have. Twitter is like a conversation that can grow to answer their many wonders and curiosities.

5,6,7 Twitter helps us to connect to other classrooms around the world

It can let the parents in to follow and be part of our learning

9,10,11,12 Twitter is another tool we can use to help our students answer their wonders, curiosities, make connections, research, ask experts

15,16 It’s another way we can teach our students about responsibility and digital citizenship

19 Let’s help students to learn with the technology they are surrounded by

20 I’m still learning, I’m constantly building my skills just like my students. I still have a lot to learn but that’s the nature and beauty of teaching.  It has been so rewarding for my students to be connected through Twitter, it makes their learning fun and authentic.

I will include this in the handout. I have Kristen Wideens’s permission.






9 thoughts on “Message received?

  1. Magali

    Hello Suzy
    What a great presentation!!!! Wow!!! You really worked very hard!
    I’m so excited you that you’ll be explaining the use of twitter in the classroom to all of us!!!
    Thanks for sharing

    1. Profile photo of Suzy RamsdenSuzy Ramsden Post author

      Hi Magali,
      Thanks for your encouraging words.Any feedback about what works and doesn’t would be appreciated. I am still working on my handout as I want it to be as easy as possible for teachers to want to have a go. I’m down to do this at a Faculty Meeting in March. I have already persuaded our Grade 4 buddy class to use Twitter, so hopefully the word will spread.

  2. Profile photo of Andrew GroverAndrew Grover

    Hello Suzy,

    It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into your presentation and that you have thought of the end user’s perception and takeaways. Well done.

    I do not think that we model the process of creating presentations or content for our students enough. Often they see the final result; hopefully a polished and effective communication which helps them understand our intended message.

    What is often more valuable is talking to them and showing the process of how you arrived at the end point. By looking through your work above it is much clearer – and gave me more time to process the content – than had I only listened/watched your final slideshow. I will try to mimic this procedure with my students in our next projects.

    Super work

  3. Profile photo of Suzy RamsdenSuzy Ramsden Post author

    Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for your comments. I totally agree with your thinking about the process being so important to model to our students and that they don’t just assume we can easily come up with the final product. It was certainly a challenging process for me, but that was when the real learning was taking place. I will also be modelling this much more to my students in the future as I am sure it will help them to understand their own learning much better. This week I have been particularly struck by the assignment on digital story telling. We so often ask the students to follow through on projects without actually going through the process ourselves. So this week, I have been exploring Haiku Deck and using iMovie to produce content for my students. It’s time consuming and quite hard, but I ask them to do this all the time. I will be sharing my challenges with them and our whole class learning goal for this week is: “I stayed positive even when it was challenging”- starting off with my example!
    I’m still working on my presentation, but I am also using this as a perfect example to my students of asking for feedback and editing and revising our work.
    Thanks again for your feedback, it’s so important for the students to understand the journey to help them achieve a task or reach a goal.

    1. Andrew Grover

      Thank you for the rely to my post Suzy,

      Haiku Deck is something that I am not familiar with, I will be exploring that next week upon my return to the classroom after ski break. We don’t use Apple so I do not use iMovie but can recommend link to My students use it all the time, often to greater effect than their use of Slides or writing.

      Cheers AG

  4. Andrew Grover

    Thank you for the rely to my post Suzy,

    Haiku Deck is something that I am not familiar with, I will be exploring that next week upon my return to the classroom after ski break. We don’t use Apple so I do not use iMovie but can recommend link to My students use it all the time, often to greater effect than their use of Slides or writing.

    Cheers AG

    1. Profile photo of Matt KelseyMatt Kelsey

      Give PowToon #Slides a shot, too – I just ran across them today and they’re more famous for their web-based animation software, but #Slides looks designed along the lines of Haiku Deck.

      link to

  5. Profile photo of Matt KelseyMatt Kelsey

    I love the before-and-after in your post and the liberal use of screenshots – very effective in making me understand it.

    Garr Reynolds talks about the importance of beautiful photos in presentations, but I think illustration/comparison is the other thing presenters want to keep in mind. Meghan Ramsey exemplifies this technique – she uses composites of screenshots to really effectively discuss how social media affects teen self-esteem. link to

  6. Profile photo of Suzy RamsdenSuzy Ramsden Post author

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for your helpful feedback. I watched Meaghan Ramsey’s talk on teen self- esteem and social media use. I have watched it before but this time round I was really focussing on her use of illustration/comparison and it’s very effective. This really highlights the importance of her subject. I should think about this for my presentation. I will look at Pow Toon # slides, thanks for the suggestion.


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