Monthly Archives: September 2016

Finding My (Presentation) Zen

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.

Reconciling Play Based Learning with Teacher Presentations

 

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?

Play and Literacy unite, photo my own

Play and Literacy unite. Photo, my own

 

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:

 

Digital Portfolios using SEESAW

First staff Presentation “selling” e-portfolios, using Seesaw. Created with Adobe Spark Page.

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.

 

At this point I have so many versions and copies of copies that even I am having a tough time keeping them all straight.

 

For my Digital Design club, I have created this short Intro to Sharing Information Online, utilising SlidesCarnival as I promised I would last week:

 

In future I will continue to be mindful of the techniques mentioned in 6 tenets of design:

 

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

Story 

Sharing Online – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Play

The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression.  –Brian Sutton-Smith

There is both joy and work involved in this play. Photo, my own

There is both joy and work involved in this play. Photo, my own

Empathy

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

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

                                   

Meaning

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.

A student proudly shares his dinosaur stop motion movie with his peers. Photo, my own

A student proudly shares his dinosaur stop motion movie with his peers. Photo, my own

 

Finding Photos is Easy. Crediting them is Hard(er)

Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.

-GUY KAWASAKI

The above quote found at the bottom of the article, The State of Storytelling in the Internet Age. This sums up my efforts at putting together a blog post for this week.  

I did a lot of reading and note-taking and summarising before actually looking at this week’s assignment: use a CC image in class and describe how I plan on using it. Hmmm. Scratch most of what I have been working on.   

My “Digital Design” after school club comes to mind. Last week I challenged them to “make their mark” as part of  International Dot Day. We all worked “collaboratively” on a Google Slideshow (big learning curve here, as many slides were accidentally deleted by students, brand new to the Google Environment).

I initially asked them to explore the possibilities within Google Slides, by using shapes, text and animations. Immediately, some of the older, more experienced students asked if they could create their mark in a different program and import it into the slideshow. I told them this was fine–I was curious to see what they came up with.  

Our final product:

I was excited to see how some had created animations on the ipad using ABCYa! Animate; others created a simple animation Hopscotch. Most followed my guidelines and played about with animations within Slides.

I did notice that some students had searched in images for “dot” animations/gifs and inserted them into their slides. I wondered how many of these images were CC, and wasn’t entirely sure how Google Slides image search engines operated.  

So, after a little digging and clicking, I noticed this:

I thought inserting images into Google Slides was too easy...

I thought inserting images into Google Slides was too easy…

Hmmm. So, it seems the kids were freely using pictures–Slides makes this very easy!– but they were missing the attribution part. I used a few of the gifs the kids had selected and tracked down their attributions.

I’ve come up with a new quote to complement the first:

Finding/Inserting Photos in Google Slides is easy.  Properly Crediting them is hard(er). 

I decided to create a short presentation for my club about CC images and how to attribute them. I included this useful Edugraphic: You can use a picture if…

When creating the slides, I kept in mind the CARP elements of Design:

  • Contrast –bright background, red circling/arrows and dark text
  • Alignment — bullets lower left, titles in the center
  • Repetition –background colour, font
  • Proximity –again, same kind of info/directions in the same place (mostly lower left corner)
Great Repetition. I love you Unsplash.

Great Repetition. I love you Unsplash.

Options to further jazz up this or (more realistically) my next presentation:

  1. I could add some free CC youtube musica super great find in my readings this week.
  2. I could save myself the trouble and utilise the beautiful pre-made slides from SlidesCarnival  –I will have to find a way to use the Halloween Themed Deck at some point…too cute!
  3. I could look into the art of combining fonts –an art form I wasn’t even aware of before viewing Kerri Lee Beasley’s Google Slide Design Secrets.  
  4. Pay closer attention to the Rule of the Thirds, when designing my slides, as well as include more “insanely great visuals” — any of the links from “stock photos that don’t suck” will do.  
Alignment. Cool Photos that don't suck. I love you Unsplash!

Alignment. Cool Photos that don’t suck. I love you Unsplash!

I am not sure how this presentation will go over with my grade 3-5 students –I hope it doesn’t kill their enthusiasm. I will simply repeat my made up mantra, “If we use it, don’t abuse it, we must credit it.”

 

 

** I am experimenting with images from unsplash.com .  Here is their Attribution policy:

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

10 Things I will Change About my Blog

 

Thanks to the article, How we read online, I will strive to apply much of my new learning in this and future blog posts.  Here are my top 10 changes:

  1. I will keep my sentences short and to the point. See any Seth Godin post for great examples. 
  2. I will leave plenty of white space and avoid large chunks of text, since People shudder large blocks of text; I know I do. 😉
  3. I will employ more
  • Lists
  • Bullets
  • Occasional Bold
  • Sentence fragments

to make reading easier for the typical online reader.

4. I will change my blog’s theme to one with (IMO) a “cleaner” font and alignment, one that allows for more white space.

5. I will change the cover image (the magnified lady bug was too blurry, red colour too “angry”) to one that better suits the length of the header.  Image is still student created, but with more colour variety and uses Repetition as a design element. See below.

Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 11.44.16

BEFORE: Too much red? I’m not angry…

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition: My new Header Image

AFTER: Repetition, Repetition, Repetition: My new Header Image

6. I will more thoughtfully consider the design principles in C. A. R. P. /CRAP when creating, (Design Secrets Revealed by Kerri Lee Beasley is a fabulous e book/resource!)

CARP Posters, courtesy of Kerri Lee Beasley. Feel free to download a copy here.

CARP Posters, courtesy of Kerri Lee Beasley. Feel free to download a copy here.

7. I will become a better expert at “detecting crap”, according to Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner.   (The two “Contrasting” Dove and Greenpeace videos in the intro of Questioning Video, Film, Advertising and Propaganda: Deconstructing Media Messages are excellent examples of the “C” in CARP…or Crap?)

8. I will try very hard to avoid puns (but just can’t seem to resist.  See above.)

9. I will not freak out when my not yet 3 year old twins spot the Golden Arches (A relatively simple design, with far reaching symbolism) from across the road and immediately beg for “donald’s,” and instead be impressed with how their “keen intellects are hard at work decoding their environment.”  

Golden Arches courtesy of Mike Mozart at Flickr.

Golden Arches courtesy of Mike Mozart at Flickr.

10. Finally, I will write more about the things I really want to write about–mainly my reflections on finding my bearings in my new role as Ed Tech Coach at my new school.

If things get personal, that’s okay, because in all likelihood, you, the reader, aren’t reading everything anyway,  since:

 

“[U]sers (readers) are selfish, lazy, and ruthless.You, my dear user, pluck the low-hanging fruit. When you arrive on a page, you don’t actually deign to read it. You scan. If you don’t see what you need, you’re gone.”  -according to Jakob Nielson

And you generally prefer shorter articles over long(Note: I didn’t actually finish this article.)

Finally–you  may have simply glazed over the words and bullets that formed the F shaped pattern:

Screen Shot 2016-09-10 at 14.58.20

Eye tracking Studies reveal the F shaped way our eyeballs view a webpage. Screenshot courtesy of the article “F shaped pattern For Reading Web Content”

This is why Headers &  Subheaders,  along with

  • Lists

  • Bullets

  • Numbers

are employed with abandon:  they form the letter F.  Although to really draw the you in, I ought to include pictures of 

noun_624281_cc

Faces grabs your eyeballs

or

Cleavage grabs your eyeballs

Cleavage grabs your eyeballs…more low hanging fruit…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deep apologies for the above, I am merely illustrating the F shape, the eyeball theory and testing my readers’ ability to detect crap.