Show, don’t tell

The quickest way to lose an audience is to start your slides with a big block of text.  I’m amazed at how often I see this happen in meetings.  Teachers spend so much time putting together amazing presentations for students, but for some reason we often short change our colleagues.  Images engage us, make us wonder, invite us to think.  Inquiry and imagination are both invited in by the powerful images we embed into our work. Give your audience a moment to pause, and try to guess where you might be going with your visuals.

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”
Pablo Picasso

Relying on pictures forces the teacher to think as a storyteller.  When I am putting my slide deck together I am thinking about mapping out a journey.  What do these ideas look like?  What tone should I set? How can I visualize the learning outcomes?

The added design step pays off.  Students need to practice reading images.  Advertisements bombard us, but when and where do we take the time to help our students unpack the way they work?

Reading images is a big part of what IBDP Language and Literature teachers do.  In our course everything is a text.  We look at approaches to decoding and constructing a wide variety of text types.  We consider the ways biases, stereotypes, and prejudices are overtly spread.  We think about the relationship between words and images.  We analyze fonts.  In short, we think about everything one might have to read in a lifetime and we do our best to prepare our students with a library card for that world.

If we are going to learn to read images, we might as well use images along the way.  A few years ago I fell in love with Haiku Deck.  I loved it when it was just a mobile app.  Now Haiku Deck is everywhere.  This is a good thing.  Haiku Deck operates with Creative Commons images.  Here is the sample deck I use with my DP class when we prepare to ‘read’ an advert:

Reading – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

How can we help our students read images while using images? Can we inspire the next generation of presentations to be? Can we make room for our audience to engage with our topic with an image?

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Photo Credit: Tahmid Munaz™ via Compfight cc

Published by TriciaGpers

I blog about all things Global Perspectives!

2 replies on “Show, don’t tell”

  1. Well said! I have seen a couple “big blocks of text” this week- I think perhaps as teacher training every teacher should have to go a month in which every time they want to create a powerpoint they need to make a haiku deck instead- a sort of visual story telling bootcamp. Really happy to see a couple of the 9s/now 10s still have blogs going and you got Phil on the bandwagon. Keep sharing your genius!

    1. Hi Amy,
      The blogs are evolving! I’m excited as well. You are absolutely right—if we want better presentations we need to make time for it in staff PD. No more big blocks of text!

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