While reading through this week’s various articles and presentations, there was one idea repeated throughout – simplicity. I started thinking about my own design inclinations: jazzy, showy, colorful and busy. Basically the opposite of simple. I needed to do some serious weeding of my Google slides garden.
Looking back through my presentations, though, I decided to pick one that is actually lacking in visual aesthetics and errs on the side of basic & boring. This presentation needs some work, particularly in, as blogger Garr Reynolds refers to them, the areas of “Empathy” & “Play“. Reynolds believes that with empathy, the expert designer has “the ability to put themselves in the position of the user, the customer, or the audience member.” Being able to view my presentation through the eyes of my teenaged audience is key and will ultimately determine my efficacy as a teacher.
For the design area of Empathy, I would update the theme – make it more colorful, bold and eye-catching. I think I would alternate the use of images for whole backgrounds and include more block quotes than long lists of bullet-pointed text. (The ultimate in “Death by Power-Point“)
Garr also notes the positive effects in adding elements of “Play” into presentations. In his discussion of the power of laughter, Garr quotes the Indian Physician Madan Kataria:
“Laughing people are more creative people. They are more productive people.”
The take-away? Laughter IS the best medicine! And when the audience is full of teenagers who want to be anywhere but in the classroom? Providing little moments of humor in a presentation can be the difference between blank stares and drooping lids to actively engaged learners. Looking back through this presentation, I can see that I need to be more purposeful in integrating those little moments of humor, whether in the form of a light-hearted slide or in my own presentation notes.
Now, back to work on weeding that garden…
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos via Creative Commons