Reflections on Presentation Design and Instructional Technology

Monica with timeless backgroundSummer is quickly coming to a close!  My LIBS 602 course on Production of Instructional Materials is coming to an end.  As I headed over to school this afternoon, I could already begin to smell the start of another school year.  I welcome my 14th year in education this fall; I know this will be my best year ever!

There are some important take-aways I want to catalog in this post.  I want to record my reflections and revisit them for use throughout the 2014-2015 school year.  Here are some of the essential presentation points I learned in this course:

  • A good presentation is one that tells a story.
  • “Death by Power Point”  is so 90s!
  • Graphic design takes much more work than one might expect.
  • Presentation design should focus on the user’s ease of accessing information.
  • Don’t get caught up in all the gadgets and the glitz and glam!  Use too many of these in a web-based platform, presentation, website, infographic, etc. and it will just scream NOVICE!
  • A proper presentation is one that practices restraint.  White space, clean lines, and a font that matches the viewer interface (san serif on a projector, serif on hardcopy).
  • Rule of thirds in image placement.
  • Want the words to be the focus?  Blur the background image.
  • Want the picture to be the dominant focus in telling the story?  Then it keep it sharp.
  • Look to the friendly color wheel for ideas that are complementary or analogous.
  • Full screen images are dramatic – This was a big one for me as I stepped away from bordered Power Points into the land of Haiku Deck.
  • Consider how you use space; move objects around for visual interest.
  • There are so many graphs and charts!  Think about the purpose of the information you are sharing before selecting one that looks cool!

All I can truly say is… I love my Presentation Zen Design text by Garr Reynolds!  I love it for the visuals as much as for the information it provides.  I know I will definitely share some of the presentation principles I’ve learned with my 7th graders as we explore research, presentation, and informational resources in Readers and Writers Workshop.

In terms of tools learned this semester, I am amazed at how many fantastic tools are out there.  I can’t say I’ve used every single one , but I’ve tried many and my classmates have shared many authentic examples.  My last few favorites that I will be sure to share as 7th grade tech team lead next year include:

  • Haiku Deck  – presentation tools
  • PowToon – presentation and animated video presentation tool
  • Audio tools: Audacity
  • Voice QR codes – I was only using them as links to videos, images, and sites before!  Now they can be feedback or answer keys. :0)
  • EduCanon – One that I am super excited to share!  Many of my content area colleagues are into the Flipped Learning Model and this makes it super easy to embrace and try out.
  • AASL Best Tech Sites Link – I could probably live off these tools alone for the entire 2014-2015 school year.
  • Augmented Reality – I learned about this in Dec. 2013 and I’m still intrigued.  Hopefully, I will have enough time to really explore this with my students.
  • WORD PRESS BLOGS!!!!! I’ve already secured classroom accounts for my future writers.  I can’t wait to see what we blog about.  If I had not tried this platform out and challenged myself this summer, I would’ve never ventured out to embrace this idea.

In summary, this summer has changed my outlook on presentations.  I’ve given them many times.  I know how to prepare for them.  I know to insert activities to keep the audience engaged.  HOWEVER, I did not know how to make them more visually stimulating.  I feel like the simplistic, balanced, narrative approach that Reynolds discusses has shaped my vision of what a 21st century presentation should look like.  No more death byPower Point…presentations should be more like a TED talk.  That’s my big takeaway and helps me bring my skill set to a new level.  Along the lines of technology, I realized that there are a million great tools out there.  Sometimes you just have to tinker with something to figure out if it will match your instructional needs.  I am thankful for the “incubation period” we had in this course.  I’ve explored, built comfort, and gained enthusiasm that I will certainly share with my peers!  Here is to a wonderful 2014-2015 school year to everyone reading this blog.




3 responses to “Reflections on Presentation Design and Instructional Technology

  1. Love your reflection, Monica! I also really appreciate your recap – I might refer to it as our new year begins. I completely agree about “living off” the AASL link of tools for the year. Haha! I feel enthusiastic for the new year after reading your post, and wish you well as you begin your new position!

  2. Great summary! That is exciting about your class blogs. I hope I can see what all your students come up with. I’m sure the 7th grade tech team will be blown away with all that you have to offer.

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