I admit that up until recently, I hadn’t given much thought to the visuals in my presentations, much less presentations in general. I didn’t typically use them in my teaching. Our play based approach to teaching Early Years had been my excuse. We didn’t “teach” in the sense of teachers standing at the front, lecturing or presenting.
So, I didn’t create presentations…”the kids can’t “read” them, it’s too much trouble to look for appropriate images, the kids can’t sit still long enough to justify going to all the effort…” etc.
I cringe at my earlier thinking. Of course young children can “read” a visual message. Finding great images is easier than ever. Kids can “sit still” or focus on and understand a message–if it’s appropriate and delivered appropriately. Teacher-delivered presentations in the form of “mini lessons”–tiny nuggets of information or ideas, is still acceptable in a Play Based Environment.
Based on this week’s readings, I considered the different ways I could have incorporated more visual literacy into my teaching:
A new way to teach Early Literacy in Early Years?
Had I known about the Takahashi Method of Presenting (large “King size” text, filling the screen, but only an idea or word.) I might have given this approach a go.
His slides, though they are all text, are visual, visual in the sense that (if you read Japanese) they are instantly understood and support his talk. -Garr Reynolds
When working with those in the early stages of reading, this approach could work well, otherwise–as Takahashi himself says, “If you have bullets or sentences, the audience will read those and may miss what you are saying.”
A new way to teach Numeracy in Early Years?
For those savvy early counters, I ought to have jumped in with The Kawasaki top ten method:
…I’ve developed a Top 10 format. All of my speeches are in Top 10 format, because if you think I suck, I at least want you to be able to track my progress through the speech so that you know approximately know how much longer I’m going to suck.” –Guy Kawasaki
Is teaching selling an idea?
I could have utilised slides with Large contrasting images representing ideas or methods, to sell an idea, a technique employed by Seth Godin.
It seems to me that if you’re not wasting your time and mine, you’re here to get me to change my mind, to do something different. And that, my friend, is selling. If you’re not trying to persuade, why are you here? –Seth Godin
All kidding aside, the before and after slides shared by Presentation Zen slides really drove home the idea that VISUALS MATTER.
This year, I am out of the EY classroom and beginning to create presentations for a variety of audiences and purposes. My first challenge was a staff presentation to Early Primary, selling/highlighting a school wide e-portfolio initiative using Seesaw:
Currently, I am using a “Seesaw Introduction to K-5 Presentation” from the Seesaw creators themselves. I am constantly tweaking it to suit the purpose and audience, based on my reflections about how it went over in class that day, and the needs of each grade level.
My tweaks are not so much in terms of visual appeal and more in terms of clarity of message–is the font large enough? Have I included enough info/instructions? Now I am thinking there is too much info…young kids will forget anyway and ask for verbal clarification.
In future I will continue to be mindful of the techniques mentioned in 6 tenets of design:
Decoration, for better or worse, is noticeable, for example — sometimes enjoyable, sometimes irritating — but it is unmistakably *there.* However, sometimes the best designs are so well done that “the design” of it is never even noticed consciously by the observer/user. –Dan Pink, A Whole New Mind
Sharing Online – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression. –Brian Sutton-Smith
Empathy allows a presenter, even without thinking about it, to notice when the audience is “getting it” and when they are not. -Garr Reynolds
Symphony…is the ability to put together the pieces. It is the capacity to synthesize rather than to analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns rather than to deliver specific answers; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.” -Dan Pink
Few things can be more rewarding than connecting with someone, with teaching something new, or sharing that which you feel is very important with others.