The Lost Language Art – Presenting

For a number of years I have been getting more and more concerned by the terrible quality of students’ presented work. Many times I have walked past posters created bystudents in Grade 8, 9 or 10 and seen products that look exactly like they do in Grade 2 and 3. Big bits of paper with pictures or text that have been printed out, cut out badly and then  stuck on badly. Headings that have run out of space and had the last letter squeezed in at the end or even underneath! White-out. Spelling errors. Pixelated images. Text that has been copied and pasted. Irrelevant text. Horrible, nauseating colour schemes.

The same goes for Powerpoints. So many of them are poorly created. The images are selected without thought for visual communication. There is always way too much writing. Horrible clip-art is strewn about them like a plague. The students bore everyone stupid by reading every word. The colours ae a psychedelic nightmare of blends from red to fluoro-green!

Does any of this ring a bell, a loud and piercing bell?

The time has come to stop the rot. Who is with me?

One person is Will Kirkwood, IT teacher here at NIST. He’s running a series of lessons that he is calling his “Presentation Roadshow” in which he is opening our students’ eyes to presentation issues such as layout, colour choice, image selection, reducing text to a minimum and so on… He is also exposing them to new presentation tools and strategies like Prezi and In Plain English videos.

I’ve also been doing a lot of work with the students on poster design and the students have created some outstanding posters that really reflect that main points I hoped to get across. This website was an invaluable tool in the process. Getting students to think about themselves “as designers” has been really empowering and effective.

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One comment

  1. Mrs Dem

    I am with you!!! I was just having a conversation about this with my 13 year old son last night. Looking through his school books it seems that anything will do. Writing scribbled out, hand-outs not stuck in and if they are they look as though they have been cut with a blunt knife rather than a pair of scissors. As a teacher, I see this carelessness everywhere. What a great idea to introduce a series of lessons on layout and design. I’m sure you will have success. I believe we must provide explicit quality criteria for our students so that they can see the standard that they need to work towards.

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