How can visual imagery support your curricular content?

What is a Rock?


Creative Commons: aeu04117

I used to think that a good PowerPoint presentation mirrored what you were saying to your audience – exactly. What I was saying should be on the screen so that my audience had 2 feeds … visual and audio. I even taught my students to do this … and got wordy, jumbled presentations that were easy to assess (just print and read) but made me question if they were really good presentation tools …

My thinking has changed. After attending a very inspiring presentation by Garr Reynolds last year, I started to think more critically about what I was teaching regarding presentations, and it’s effectiveness for my students. Was I teaching to assess easily, OR to give students a strategy/tool which they could use when necessary? Looking at his Presentation Tips makes you go deeper and really analyze what you are doing. The delivery is of course important, but I have become much more interested in the slides I develop, and how they can almost be treated like a work of art which is intended to make your audience want to know more. Good slides also encourage your audience to inquire about whatever you are presenting on, making personal connections and wondering about where you are headed.

I find Garr Reynolds’ guidelines really useful:

  1. Keep it simple … please.
  2. Limit bullet points & text .. there is nothing like a screen full of words to keep your audience tuned in.
  3. Limit transitions & animations … and really ask yourself what they do for your slideshow. I know they are fun to include, but do you REALLY need them? This is a tough one, as it is often the first thing kids want to play with and embed within their presentations … and high on their priority list.
  4. Use high quality graphics … we have all seen them – those really blurry images on a slide that just make you want to stand up and shout.
  5. Have a visual theme … and avoid pre-made templates …
  6. Use appropriate charts … again, purpose?
  7. Use color well … hard for someone like me who has NO sense of fashion.
  8. Choose your fonts carefully … and consistently
  9. Use video and/or audio when appropriate … again, purpose?
  10. Use the Slide Sorter view to check the flow of your presentation … something I don’t do now, but probably should. I gives you a nice overview of what you are doing for your audience.

I think the example below is a great model of what we can do with a slideshow presentation.

With this in mind, I have taken the image above (of a rock) and developed a short slideshow (using PowerPoint) to introduce our first FOSS science unit for the year – Earth Materials. My goal is to have images and key text points initiate thoughts and discussion at the start of this unit.

Here is what I created and uploaded to SlideShare:


I will let you know how it goes!


~ by yamaguru on October 10, 2009.

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