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: We’ve decided to postpone the Purpos/ed event and I’m no longer involved with the Google Apps for Education workshop.
I’ve got a busy time coming up. Of the following seven events, I’m either organising or speaking at six of them. I’m also looking forward to going on holiday to Malta (or, more accurately, Gozo) in the middle of this at the end of October!
Mobile Learning Now and the Future (28 September)
Today I’m off down to London to present at the above event at the College of North West London. I thought it was going to be fairly small, but it seems to be turning into a bit of a who’s-who of mobile learning. I’m presenting with Steve Boneham from JISC Netskills about Implementing Mobile Learning in Your Institution based on the Mobile Learning infoKit.
Future of Technology in Education (7 October)
Tickets for FOTE are free and usually go very quickly. Last year I managed to snag a ticket but then had to look after my son as we had childcare issues. I’m delighted to be able to make it this year and to be presenting with my colleague (and co-kickstarter of Purpos/ed) Andy Stewart. We’ve got a slot in the #140challenge meaning we’ve got 140 seconds to talk about our vision of the future of technology in education. We’re going to argue, provocatively, that it’s fairly bleak.
I’m a big fan of Mozilla’s work, and especially the more recent educational stuff around Open Badges. Matt Thompson asked if I was going to this festival – yes, of course I am! Can’t wait.
Google Apps for Education: from Zero to Hero (16 November)
Along with fellow Google Lead Learner, Zoe Ross (DoDigital) and Google Certified Teacher, Steve Bunce (Vital) I’m helping organise a day-long workshop on Google Apps in Gateshead. It should be very Google Teacher Academy-like and inspirational! Get your ticket here.
Guardian Innovation in Education (17 November)
I was surprised and honoured to be on the keynote panel for the Guardian Innovation in Education event this year along with Lord Knight, John Dunford and Ian Fordham. We’re talking about the impact of technology on education and I’ve been interviewed as part of the lead-up to the event.
Purpos/ed Oxford: Hacking Education (19 November)
If you’re thinking of joining me at just one of these events, make it this one! Purpos/ed Oxford is all about ‘hacking education’ for the better and we’re delighted that Prof. Keri Facer (who inspired Andy Stewart and myself to start Purpos/ed in the first place) will be there in person this time. We’re going to be crowdsourcing the sessions and it promises to be an event not to miss if you can make it!
First of all we had a bit of a scare with Hannah’s pregnancy. The risk of the baby being born with Downs Syndrome was elevated from 1/1000 to 1/28. She had an amniocentisis (which means she needs to take it easy for a couple of weeks) but everything’s fine. Oh, and it’s a girl! (due late December) 🙂
And then, whilst at nursery on Thursday, Ben decided it would be a great idea to stick a chickpea up his left nostril. Cue my coming home from work early. Two hospitals, three doctors, some pinning down from Daddy and a bloody nose later, it was out! I don’t think he’ll do that again…
Whilst I’m no longer committed to blogging every day, it would seem that being free to post every day (and not necessarily with images) means I might as well be!
I’ve also been experimenting with Posterous, importing this blog to http://dajbelshaw.posterous.com. It was mainly an experiment (took 5 days, worked flawlessly) but it actually looks great and works really well. Hmmm….
Well, not since the BUPA Great North 10k, actually, but I was really pleased that I managed it in 49:30. That’s underneath the 50 minute target I set myself! My main target was to get around the course in under that time and at the end I felt I could have gone faster. I’m aiming for 45 minutes for the next one (although it’s a half-marathon next according to the plan)
Many thanks to those who sponsored me. Overall, including Gift Aid, UNICEF received over double the target amount! 🙂
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: