After a few years of absence, I’ll be at BETT again this year. I’m arriving at lunchtime on Thursday and speaking three times on Friday. However, given my busy schedule over the coming weeks, I can’t stay for the (usually excellent) TeachMeet on the Friday evening.
Where I’ll be and when on Friday (24th January 2014):
I was asked to do virtually keynote for Sheffield Hallam University’s TELIC student conference. You can see the result here or embedded above. Slides can be found here (over 10,000 views in 24 hours after being featured on the Slideshare homepage!)
In addition, I presented on Open Badges at the JISC RSC Scotland conference on Friday. It was livestreamed so I’m guessing there’ll be a video recording somewhere. Until then, slides here or embedded below!
I’ve been at the PELeCON conference this week. After her keynote, Keri Facer mentioned in a couple of tweets that the Twitter wall being visible to the audience but not the speaker can be problematic. Everything was positive in Keri’s session, but this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone (see danah boyd example).
So it got me thinking about what I’d like, as a presenter, when doing a keynote. There’s lots of different reasons tweet about a session using the conference hashtag. For example:
To let those who aren’t there know what’s being said
To give a voice to the livestream audience (if applicable)
To provide links to what’s being discussed
For banter/puns/general merrymaking
For agreement, disagreement and questions
…and many more.
Whilst you’re presenting there’s no way you can keep up with the stream in the same way that you (potentially) can when in the audience. But it would be nice to know the gist of what people are saying in the backchannel.
Thinking about it, I casually remarked that some kind of Twitter screen in front of presenters would be useful. And if those tweets that had been retweeted (RT’d) several times could appear bigger, so much the better.
Chris Atherton mentioned this sounded a lot like Wordle and Pat Parslow riffed on the idea talking about the potential for sentiment analysis.
That idea look something like this with traffic light colours for sentiment:
The trouble is, that’s still too much to take in whilst you’re presenting. So, thinking some more, I reckon all that’s needed is the top three most RT’d tweets. Which would look something like this:
Update: slides and audio for #cetis12 presentation now available!
Apologies for the relative drought here over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been working hard on some presentations that I think you’ll want to see.
You know what? I’ve been at JISC infoNet almost two years now but something I’m still getting to grips with is the different peaks and the troughs over the academic year. They’re just not the same in Higher Education as they are in schools. For a start, some of them are my own choice.
This past few weeks have definitely been a peak for me, one that will last until mid-March. All of my writing energy recently has been going into preparing three talks I’ve got coming up:
Are Open Badges the future for recognition of skills? (JISC CETIS conference, Nottingham, 23 February 2012)
Why we need a debate about the purpose(s) of education (DML Conference, San Francisco, 1 March 2012)
The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies (TEDx Warwick, Coventry, 10 March 2012)
So, three different topics in three very different formats. The Open Badges talk tomorrow is part of a wider session and will be fairly relaxed and informal. The Purpos/ed one is an Ignite talk where I get 5 minutes (exactly!) to talk about my subject. I’ve got 20 slides and they’re advanced automatically every 20 seconds. Eek!
Finally, and the one I’m most excited about giving, is my TEDx Warwick talk. I’ve been using and adapting the advice in Nancy Duarte’s books Resonate and Slide:ology to help get my message across. I haven’t quite finished this one yet (and I’d better get a move on because they want my slides two weeks in advance!)
I hope you understand, therefore, why updates here might be quite light until March 11th. I’ve posted a couple of quick things over at literaci.es over the past week and I’ll make sure I update my conference blog. Other than that, why not get involved in the OpenBeta process for my new ebook, if you haven’t already? And, if you can, why not join me at TEDx Warwick?
I’m very much looking forward to a couple of speaking engagements coming up over the next couple of weeks. Happily, they’re both free.
Tonight (Wednesday 18th January 2012, 8pm) I’m spending some time with Scottish educators David Noble and John Johnston and their new Radio EDUtalk project. I’ve known John and David for a number of years as they were regular contributors to the EdTechRoundUp.
I’m going to be discussing my Ed.D. thesis on digital and new literacies with a Q&A session and opportunity for discussion afterwards. It would be great if you could join us.
Click here to listen live at 8pm GMT on Wednesday evening (time zone conversion here)
Learning Without Frontiers festival (#LWF12)
Next Wednesday I’m running a workshop entitled Education for the Apocalypse with Keri Facer (who’s also doing one of the keynotes). Because of the interactive nature of the workshop I doubt it will be recorded, but the good news is that it’s FREE as part of the festival running alongside the LWF conference.
Our workshop runs from 5pm to 6.30pm on the Wednesday if you can make it to London Olympia in time. Here’s the session overview:
This session will take delegates through a fast paced collaborative process that will encourage them to explore radically different approaches to education in the light of economic, environmental, technological and political changes. It will explore emerging trends and significant potential disruptions, and encourage participants to confront their own fears and aspirations, and find practical steps towards creative educational change.
The LWF12 programme is available here and the hashtag for our session is #E4A.
You may have noticed the grey bar at the very top of this blog indicating my next speaking engagement. This is powered by Lanyrd, the ‘social conference directory’ – with full details of the conferences I’m speaking at, attending and tracking available here:
There’s some wonderful stuff going on out there, some great research and some fantastic theories. But people really do need to work on how they present their findings. There was much to disagree about in Donald Clark’s ranty, profanity-laden opening keynote, but finding ways other than the lecture to deliver stuff was something about which he was spot-on.
2. People eventually get the respect they deserve.
Those who plug away, roll the dice, and tirelessly promote something beyond ‘their job’ are eventually noticed. Of course, that’s not the reason they do what they do, which makes it all the better. Kevin McLaughlin and Cristina Costa, people I consider an integral part of my Twitter network, shared the prize of ALT Learning Technologist of the Year. I couldn’t be happier for them! 😀
3. It’s who you know not what you know
I used to think that the phrase “It’s not who you know, it’s what you know” was a bad thing. Not at all, it’s how people come together, stand on the shoulders of giants and achieve amazing things. Of course, there’s always going to be exceptions and those who use it for nefarious purposes, but on the whole people in education are good eggs.
This post has been a long time coming, but there’s three specific short-term causes to it appearing now:
I’ve seen some fantastic content and ideas be let down by woeful presentations recently.
Before next week’s JISC infoNet planning meeting, I’ve been asked to give some advice to my colleagues about presenting effectively.
My Dad had an interview for a promotion last week and I helped him with his presentation.
Every awesome presentation has the following. Yes, every single one.
A call to action
One or more ‘hooks’
Little on-screen text
How to plan the ultimate presentation
Start with your ‘call to action’. What do you want people to go away and do/think/say? Put that in the middle of a large piece of paper, or – better yet – a large whiteboard.
Around it, write down everything that you want to say on the topic. Spatial location indicates relatedness (i.e. the close it is to another point the more related it is to it). Draw a circle around every point. You’ve just created a Rico Cluster!
Next, identify your key points. They’re the points within circles that give your presentation its structure, those that would be noticeable if absent.
Finally, think about the order of your presentation. It goes something like this:
Hook –> Challenge –> Story –> Call to action
Designing the visual element of your presentation
You should by now know what the start and the end of your presentation is going to entail. You should have an idea of how you’re going to ‘hook’ the audience’s interest and then provide a ‘call to action’ at the conclusion.
Notice that I haven’t mentioned anything about the length of your presentation yet. That’s because it doesn’t really matter whether you presentation is 5 minutes or over an hour, the principles are the same! All that changes with the length of your presentation is the amount of content you need to prepare, and strategies for dealing with the wandering concentration of your audience. More of the latter in a moment.
I’m going to outsource the rest of this section to two wonderful resources I’ve come across recently. The first is mis-titled in my opinion: The Top 7 PowerPoint Slide Designs is actually about the structure and design of your presentation as a whole, rather than PowerPoint. It’s always good to have examples up your sleeve to broaden your repetoire.
The second is embeddable. I just love the focus on passion and significance coupled with practical advice!
Of course, you don’t have to use slides! For my Director of E-Learning interview, I made up a hashtag on Twitter and put that on the screen whilst I blu-tacked A4 sheets of paper to several walls… :-p
Kicking-ass when delivering the presentation
We’ve dealt now with the hook, the call to action, and having little on-screen text. This final section, then, deals with pace and imagery. A grasp of the appropriate use of pace is one reason why very good teachers are almost always very good presenters: they know when to speed things up and when to slow them down.
For example, if you’re letting people know about this amazing, exciting new thing then you’ll talk really quickly with lots of enthusiasm in your voice. If you’re emphasising a key point, on the other hand, you may want to take your time. Either way, it’s very important to practice. Use a video camera. Failing that, talk into the mirror. As a last resort, talk to a chair in the corner of the room. Seriously.
It’s obvious, but seemingly not understood by many. Your presentation is not the slides! Your presentation is the sum total of the experience people get when watching and listening to you present. That’s why imagery is extremely important. It’s more than appropriate and good-looking pictures on a screen. It’s about being evocative. It’s about using metaphors. It’s about conjuring up a world where people can’t help but respond to your call for action.
I’d love to help people present better. I’m not perfect myself – no-one is – but having a commitment to getting better at something means you’re half-way there to being better at it. And yes, these things can take huge amounts of time to do properly. One recent presentation of mine took, altogether, one hour for every minute I spent presenting! But, as Yoda famously says in Star Wars:
It’s easy to create a bad Powerpoint presentation. That’s because it’s easy to be fooled into thinking that because your audience is looking at something, they’re engaged with and by it. What is gained in clarity can be lost in repetition and boredom. Below are some ways to use Powerpoint more effectively and alternatives to spice up your content delivery.
First, though, here’s Don McMillan explaining some of the REALLY bad ways people use Powerpoint:
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5 quick tips if you MUST use Powerpoint…
Never use a font size smaller than 24pt. If you have a large classroom, you may need to go even bigger than this. Stand at the back and check!
Limit the number of words you have per slide. Don’t use them as an aid to remind you what to say. They should enhance what you are talking about, not repeat it! A great way is to limit yourself to 5 words and 5 bullet points. Alternatively, just use an image to represent your idea/concept/instruction.
Find graphics that represent things you do frequently in lessons (perhaps from clipart) and always use these when doing a similar activity. For example, a pen writing for when it’s time to start work or two people talking for discussion/group work. These help reinforce good habits and aid classroom management.
Use contrasting colours. The easiest way to do this is to choose an option from the ‘Slide Design’ menu. Otherwise, remind yourself of the colour wheel.
Limit the number of different slide transitions in a presentation. One or two is classy, lots of different ones looks unprofessional.
There are lots of different tools that do a similar job to Powerpoint. For example, Keynote on the Mac and OpenOffice.org Impress (all platforms). But you don’t want to simply replicate Powerpoint’s functionality, you want to move beyond it.
Method 1 – Online presentations
Creating presentations on, or uploading presentations to, the Internet can be extremely useful. Not only does it give you access to better visual effects than Powerpoint can offer, but it makes them readily available to your students outside the lesson. The following three slides are taken from part of the very first lesson I had with Year 7 this academic year:
This is the same presentation when I uploaded it to Google Docs and tinkered slightly:
And here it is in the wonderful SlideRocket after using some of its functionality:
Zoho Show is another option. All of these are completely free or have a free basic option. I’d recommend Google Docs if you’d like to collaborate (or students to collaborate) on presentations and SlideRocket for fancy effects. The latter has a desktop version, although you have to upgrade your account to a paid-for version to be able to download it. Of course, if you just want to make your presentations available online, you could use SlideShare…
Add a short video clip to your presentation. Find it on YouTube, or another video-sharing site. Download and convert it (in this case to MOV or WMV format) via Zamzar.com. There’s an elearnr guide on how to do this here. 🙂
Ask yourself, “do I really need to use a Powerpoint-style format?”. If the answer is “perhaps not!” then check out some of these suggestions:
Glogster – we’ve already been through glogs on elearnr. They are a great, visual way to present as you can embed videos, audio and images quickly and easily.
Mindmap – why not demonstrate good practice and create a mindmap to present ideas? Students can learn organizational skills from this, and there are a number of collaborative mindmapping sites, including MindMeister, bubbl.us, Mindomo and Mind42.
Wiki – a wiki is a collaborative website. It’s also a great place to embed content from other websites and therefore a useful presentational tool. Your audience (i.e. students or other teachers) can also add their ideas and thoughts to it at a later date – if you want them to! I like Wikispaces, but it doesn’t seem to play nicely with our school network. I’d recommend, therefore, Google Sites, Wetpaint and PBwiki. I use Google Sites to run learning.mrbelshaw.co.uk 🙂
Keep up-to-date with new ways and ideas for presenting ideas, concepts and content. The following are websites that can help:
I’ve been a paid-up user of Animoto for a few months now, ever since I saw how powerful it’s behind-the-scenes trickery was. I blogged about its potential over at dougbelshaw.com, providing a sample video that I used to encourage more Year 9 students to opt for History next academic year.
I’m delighted to discover, therefore, that Animoto is now free for educators. It’s a fantastic and engaging way to introduce a topic, present photos of a trip, or allow your students to have some fun! 😀