Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Designing Effective Presentations

Every educator today needs to learn how to present effectively. But how much do they know about what makes an effective presentation?

Garr Reynolds, author of the popular book Presentation Zen Design, notes:
"For many of us, there is a hole in our education when it comes to visual communication... In the past, the tools for creating high-quality graphics and multimedia presentations belonged only to a select few. Today, those tools are in the hands of virtually anyone with a computer. However, possessing the hardware and software tools and knowing how to operate them does not a designer make." (p. 22, Presentation Zen Design)
My colleague Dave and I are very passionate about Visual Literacy. We want to give educators the tools to develop their Visual Literacy skills, and presented recently to our fabulous Primary Leadership Team on Designing Effective Presentations.

Embedding the presentation here would not make sense. If you could understand the content of our presentation just by looking at the slides, then we would have failed in our job. There would be no point presenting if you could just read our slides! However, we did create some other resources which might be useful to share.


We wanted our audience engaged in our presentation. We didn't want them to feel they had to take copious notes as we spoke. We prepared this handout, because there were a few key things we wanted them to take away from the presentation, and we thought this 1-page handout could be posted at a desk to refer to when designing presentations later.

Finding Quality Images

Finding the right images to support the message you are sharing takes time - and is time well spent. This slide-doc takes you through how to find quality images. It is geared for teachers at our school, so bear that in mind as you look through.

Focus on the Audience

Really understanding what your audience needs and is hoping to gain from your presentation is important. We had participants in our workshop consider the needs of their audience using this handout we adapted from Nancy Duarte's fantastic resource Resonate.

Additional Resources

Some of our favourite resources for presentation design can be found here:

We hope you found these useful! Please let us know if you would like further information about designing effective presentations. 

Monday, 15 June 2015

Digital Bytes 15th June 2015

In the last Digital Bytes for the academic year, we feature:

- Why Wunderlist Works - an app to manage task lists collaboratively;
- The 10 Most Valued Work Skills in 2020; and
- Apps that help limit time on the iPad.

All the best for a wonderful end to the year.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Why Wunderlist Works

My colleague Dave and I work on many collaborative tasks. Our antiquated system for managing these tasks was a post-it note that Dave kept on his desk, that we would occasionally look at and cross things off.

Our MS/HS colleagues Adrienne and Jeff had been talking up using Wunderlist to stay on top of their To-Do List, so we thought we'd give it a go.

What we LOVE

  1. Working across multiple platforms - I can access my Wunderlist on my iPhone or on my browser. There are a number of compatible platforms (including Android, Windows and Apple Watch) that let you check off your task list from whatever device you happen to be using. 
  2. Multiple Lists - I have a grocery list with my husband, a DLC Task List with Dave, a list with my sister in NZ who is visiting soon and wanting to know what to bring. The ability to have multiple lists makes it easy to manage the different aspects of your life.
  3. Adding Subtasks - There are many occasions when a big task needs to be broken down into multiple subtasks, and Wunderlist enables you to do this easily. Really handy to be able to feel like you're making progress on those huge jobs!
  4. Assigning Tasks - Dave and I can assign our big tasks to each other, or leave them for both of us. It's nice to be able to see quickly what you are responsible. 
  5. Reminders - Time based reminders can easily be synced with your calendar. We are using Sunrise on our phones to manage our Google Calendar, which works a treat.
  6. Commenting and Notes - We can comment or write notes on tasks, clarifying new additions or reminding each other about things that are upcoming. Great feature. 
  7. Attaching files - Adding a file, dropbox link or voice comment is another handy feature of Wunderlist. 

What we WANT

  1. The ability to assign sub-tasks would be helpful.
  2. Linking to a file in Google Drive (although we can add links in the Notes section).
  3. The ability to undo the last action  - especially useful for accidentally checking off the wrong item! It can be retrieved with a few clicks, however undo or command + Z would be quicker.
Why not give it a go with your team?

Monday, 8 June 2015

Digital Bytes June 8th, 2015

This week's Digital Bytes has a number of great articles.

There are a set of great templates for Google Slides presentations that include icons that can be manipulated in terms of size and colour

Kick off your summer reading with 13 great Minecraft books for yourself and your students. 

Finally, there is a fantastic article by Kristin Zeimke about the importance of digital reading.