Presentations

About Presentations

Pear Deck is a fantastic Add-On to Google Slides that allows you to bring your presentations up to the next level.  Engage your audience with instant feedback, open response questions, easily link to other websites or videos, allow participants to go through parts of your presentation on your own, and more.

A presentation on a topic can be engaging, exciting, and thought provoking.  Or it can be dull and uninteresting.  Luckily, with technology all around us, a few minutes of planning, and this step by step guide, anyone can produce an excellent presentation of information.  Here’s what to do.

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Introduction

A presentation on a topic can be engaging, exciting, and thought provoking.  Or it can be dull and uninteresting.  Luckily, with technology all around us, a few minutes of planning, and this step by step guide, anyone can produce an excellent presentation of information.  Here’s what to do.

Know Your Stuff – Get Prepared

To create a presentation, you need to have information to back up what you are saying.  There may be a number of websites, articles, videos, tweets, or experts that you need to organize, summarize, or cite.  There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Write it Down – Get out a pice of paper and a pen and BRAINSTORM.  Think about everything you already know about the topic you are presenting.  Think about things you might have heard, people you might have come across on social media or through reading, videos you might have seen, and write them all down.  Pen and paper is great for organizing your initial thoughts.  
  • A slightly higher tech version of “writing it down” is using a product called the Rocketbook.  If you want to be a little techy, I recommend the Rocketbook Everlast notebooks and use them to put down my initial thoughts.  You use an erasable pen and write on their paper, then take a picture of the page with their app (iOS / Android).  The app will allow you to save the pic to a number of services, and can even transcribe what you wrote so it’s all typed up for you!
  • Evernote is a tool that has been around for a LONG time, and has a lot of great features.  You can clip parts of articles on the web, entire webpages, create your own notes/outlines, collaborate on notebooks with group partners, and more.  Get started with Evernote here.

Determine Your Key Points

As discussed in this video about TED talks, Chris Anderson suggests that your presentation or talk should focus on the following:

  1. Focus on one major idea
  2. Give people a reason to care
  3. Build your idea with familiar concepts
  4. Make your idea worth sharing

Anticipate Questions and Arguments

Thinking critically about your presentation is important because part of your goal is to have your audience think critically about what you are presenting.  By putting yourself in their shoes, you can better prepare your presentation so you are effectively getting your point across.  Here is a cheatsheet to help you think critically about your presentation.

How Will You Present?

The typical way students present information is to:

  1. Create a Powerpoint/Google Slide presentation.
  2. Throw a whole bunch of words they copied from the internet onto a few slides.
  3. Stand up and read the slides.

Presentations can be SO MUCH BETTER and whole lot more fun.  Here are a bunch of different ways (101, in fact!) you can think about presenting your information


Prepare Your Presentation

Presentation Do’s and Don’ts

Scroll through this infographic to give you some ideas for Do’s and Don’ts of creating your presentation.

Choosing a Template

Assuming you are using presentation software like Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint, there are a number of templates available to you to choose from.  One common pitfall that students encounter when creating a presentation is selecting and/or changing the template or theme associated with the presentation.  Fundamentally, the theme of the presentation should have less to do with the content of what is being presented, however there are times when the theme and overall “look” of the presentation can help get your point across better.

My advice when selecting a template or theme is to choose one that is visually appealing and go with that.  If you want to change the theme later go for it, but remember that the theme is less important than the content that is being delivered through the presentation.

Trees made from red berries line the East Colonnade during the 2018 Christmas Press Preview at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Choosing Content

Engage Your Audience

Having an audience is great.  Remember that your audience is a group of people, with their own thoughts and their own voices.  They may be agreeing with you, they may have questions, ideas to share, or arguments against your point.  Whatever the case, give them the opportunity to interact with each other and you at points throughout the presentation.  There are several tools that you can use to engage your audience and can be easily linked or embedded in your presentation.  Here are a few:

Padlet

Padlet allows the creator to pose a question or a topic and allows users, with the link, to post comments, ideas, and reactions to the creator’s post.

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere allows the creator to pose a question gauging opinions or understanding and then see the results displayed in real time.

Flipgrid

Flipgrid allows the creator to invite users to a board where the users can post reaction videos (thoughts, opinions, ideas) to a question or topic.

Assessing Presentations

Once your presentation is complete, a good practice to get into is to assess the whole process of the presentation; from research to the actual presentation.  Here are a few rubrics and checklists that would be useful.


Level Up!

When using these or any other digital tools with students, be sure to check the Terms of Service to make sure your students meet the age requirements for using that tool.  It’s also a good idea to let parents know what tools their students will be using in your class.