Think Thank Thunk’s Rules For PowerPoint Awesomeness

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been morally opposed to PowerPoint for most of my life. I think it had to do with a terrifying experience I had as a boy scout. I was earning future-corporate-whore merit badge, and the endurance test was to watch a crowded PowerPoint presentation for longer than any of my peers could stand. I won, but at what cost to my humanity?

So, I’ve recently embraced Keynote as my way of sticking it to the Man while still getting to do all of the cool things the Man does on the weekends. That, and I would get too excited, off track, and otherwise pumped about storytelling, that I would often forget crucially important administrative announcements during class (read: Cornally is not a good teacher)

Here is my presenter’s modus operandi: (Mostly shamelessly stolen from other blogs and better presenters)

1.  Font Size > 30pt. No exceptions.

Seriously. I’ll find you.

2. Paragraphs are for writing. Presentations are not writing.

People can read faster than you can talk. Don’t let them read.

3. A picture is worth 1,000 6.022 x 1023 words.

That’s exactly one mole of words. Which, in their gaseous form, would take up about 22.4 L, consequently the amount of mustard gas your audience will want, if you forget pictures.

4. Slides should make almost no sense without the accompanying speaker’s audio and/or video.

In other words, is your blabbing really necessary? I should hope so.

5. Transitions & Builds are cheap parlor tricks.

No one has actually come to your presentation with a quarter in their ear. They are not going to find anything enjoyable after the 3rd time some text box takes 2 entire seconds to materialize as if an alien was beaming it down onto your slide. Stop it, for the kids.

6. Do not pretend that your audience will tolerate bad layout.

There are a few elementary rules for layout that make the human eye love looking at it. The rule of thirds, golden ratio, gestalt principles, etc . . .

7. Minimalism

We’re talking early-Philip-Glass minimalism people.

As a Teacher:

I try to model these principles during direct instruction, which is only one of a slew of techniques good enough for teaching our youth. I spend about 20% of my total class time with my students in direct instruction. Which means 80% is split between inquiry, students teaching each other, assessment, and whatever else.

When my students present their findings to me, I want that time to be as instructional as possible, and nothing kills that faster than a shabby PowerPoint presentation.

So, model I must. Hey, maybe my modeling career would take off, if only I had Kate’s skin.

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