One Hour PowerPoint: David & Jakes Rock

Posted on June 30, 2008


David Jakes and Dean Shareski made me smile this morning in their NECC 2008 presentation: One Hour PowerPoint. Wesley Fryer has published excellent notes of the entire presentation.

Their work resonates with me particularly because I’ve only recently happened upon the concept of abandoning templates and bulleted presentations in favor of powerful visual slides accompanied by thoughtful dialogue (either face-to-face or audio recording). Last week before coming to NECC, I presented `my first workshop to other teachers on this concept, creating a wiki where I’ve housed several resources. [Note, the workshop was a two-day one exploring non-linear PowerPoints day one and beyond templates and bullets in day two. The Power of Story page has several resources on the visual concept.] I’ve been devouring any resources I can find on using visuals and storytelling, fascinated with the concept, wondering why it never occurred to me before now. It works. It’s powerful. It makes sense. I’m an English teacher. Me, of all people, should understand the power a good narrative to move an audience. Why not apply this concept to all presentations–whether the intent is to inform or to persuade?

Books to Inform and Inspire

I’ve ordered several books from Amazon, and I hope they’ll be waiting for me when I return home. Jakes mentioned The Back of the Napkin. Other titles I’ve ordered and hope I’ll be recommending include:

Pink’s Johnny Bunko is a model of the concept of merging storytelling and visuals to sell an idea. Garr Reynolds’ presentation (embedded below) is another awesome model: a book talk (via slideshow) that uses storytelling to endorse a book. Cool! Wouldn’t this be an awesome project for our students-to create book talk slideshows that merge powerful visuals with storytelling.

Jake & Shareski Push My Thinking

I’m sure these titles will push my thinking and result in revisions to my workshop (I present the same session again in August). Jakes and Shareski have given me a few ideas I want to incorporate:

  • We need to teach students to find and attribute photos. I didn’t know about Flickr Storm-very cool. It allows users to search by topic for photos and add them to a tray. It then generates a URL for the tray; the user can return to all the photos with the URL. Awesome! If students search for photos with Creative Commons license (Jakes recommends using Attribution License-you can use photos as long as you attribute the author), they’re much more likely to be “ethical users.”
  • You Tube Video PowerPoint Add-on makes embedding a video in PowerPoint a one-click operation. I have to do a bit more searching to find this.

Jakes ended the presentation noting we need to do a better job of teaching our students to be better face-to-face communicators, capable of harnessing digital tools effectively-templates and bullets aren’t so effective-to sell their ideas in ways that are convincing and memorable. I couldn’t agree more.

Students As Innovative Thinkers

I’m excited about employing these ideas in my own teaching-in workshops and in my classroom. Ultimately, I’m excited about pushing students to think both critically and creatively, to be innovators, to learn to craft-through words (printed and spoken) and visuals-compelling content. These skills translate to all subjects, beyond the school walls, into their futures. I’ll be mulling over these ideas, scrutinizing my own English 11 curriculum, looking for ways to integrate these concepts. They’re too important to omit.

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