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PowerPoint: Students Use Pecha Kucha To Streamline Presentations

19 October 2007 No Comment

Student presentations usually fall into a couple of areas. Either they have way, way too much content-usually stuffed into just a few slides, or they have too little content. Usually, this is because students don’t get a lot of exposure to learning about presentation technique or get to see many quality presenters. Some teachers have combated this by showing clips from Ted talks which has some incredible presenters on a wide variety of content. And others spend time coaching their students on their presentations. Lately, I’ve noticed some teachers exploring different styles such as the Takahashi method which uses giant-sized plain text slides, the Guy Kawasaki method which uses a top ten format, and the Beyond Bullet Points method which focuses the content into a story instead of just data and bulleted points. Another great method that might find some interesting results in the classroom is Pecha Kucha.

You can read here to find out more about it’s history, but basically it follows this rule: You get to use twenty slides and every twenty seconds the slide changes. This sounds strange at first, but it forces presenters to be concise with their points and efficient with their slides. (You can check the above mentioned link for a good example of Pecha Kucha in action.)

Traditional PowerPoint style doesn’t allow for using higher order thinking. Usually it just turns into a practice of recall with them just listing every known fact about a certain topic. With Pecha Kucha students have to grasp the main idea of the information, summarize it, and then form a streamlined story that a audience can understand.

Here’s what you might want to try. Have the students research all their facts, but don’t let them touch PowerPoint. Make them focus the information into 20 key statements. Each statement should focus around one main idea and take up no more space than what would fill two lines with a 30pt font. A structure might look like this:

  • One or two statements that introduce the idea that they are presenting
  • Three statements that would serve as their three main point (no more than three)
  • Three or four statements to support each point
  • Two statements that would close the presentation. (What should the audience do now that they are informed?)

Now that they have their information in a good layout, have them brainstorm on what visuals would best illustrate each idea. Visuals should be large(full screen if possible) and directly related to their content. They could sketch out their visuals on paper or write out ideas for what the visuals might look like. Now let them use PowerPoint to finish the layout of their presentation.

Used this method before or found others that might be worth a try? Let us know in the comments.

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