Friday, January 31, 2014

IW: February-Presentation Tips and Tricks

As an educator, you probably have participated in many workshops or learning experiences. Likewise, you also may have been a presenter in a workshop.

Think about the presentations that were particularly interesting or inspiring to you.  What made those presentations so appealing and interesting to you?  Or what tips or tricks did you use in your own presentation to make it enticing to your audience?

As we prepare for the Inspired Learning Conference on April 26th, what presentation tips or tricks would you like to share with your cohort members?


  1. My favorite presenters are ones who pick one or two tools to teach and then allow the attendees time to use it and ask questions. When presenters covered too much, I would leave overwhelmed and frustrated. I also enjoy learning things that I can start in my class immediately.

  2. The best presentations I have seen are ones that allow people to work and participate during the presentation. If I use a tool immediately and see what it is all about I am more likely to use it moving forward. I also like a presentation that is differentiated to meet the needs of new learners and more experienced learners. People who were just starting out were able to get more individualized attention, while others were able to experiment with the tool during that time. Last year for the Inspired Learning Conference, we also had a great addition to our presentation. We created a page with links and resources for our attendees to refer to. It not only allowed them to follow us, but they were also able to access and look at everything we were talking about and referencing. This allowed it to be interactive and helped with engagement. It also cut down on questions because everything they needed was in one place. The final thing I think is important to a good presentation, is energy and excitement for you topic, this is key. People who aren’t jazzed about what they are presenting, leave you not feeling jazzed about what they are sharing about. When they are excited by the possibilities you are too, it is almost unavoidable!

    1. Nicely stated! If we all taught To Kill a Mockingbird with the enthusiasm of a walnut, that is the book that gets forgotten. We teach it as though it is by far the greatest combination of words to ever be published on a page, then students have no choice but to say that yes, okay, I guess it is a pretty good story.

  3. I agree with Erin and Peggy. When I go to a conference or workshop, I find myself thoroughly energized and excited when the presenters are enthusiastic about their topics. I also need to have time to process the information. The best way for me to do that is to explore the tool/app/script so I begin to feel comfortable with it. That is one of the things I really appreciate about this Inspired Writing class. We learn the information, tool, etc. We have time to practice using it in class, and we have time to collaborate with our peers about how we can immediately put it into practice in our classrooms. That is what I am hoping to do with our presentation in April.

  4. 1 This is an interesting question since I went to a conference last week and witnessed one of the worst presenters and one of the best presenters I’ve seen at the same time. They were co-presenters at the closing keynote on RtI for Freshmen literacy. The contrast was stark and revealing. The appealing speaker took charge of the room, not lacking for confidence - his voice had inflection and was loud enough to be heard easily. He moved around the room which was set up theater seating style. He looked individuals in the eyes as he presented. His slides were simple, uncluttered and had limited text. (although I could envision even better slides with Haiku deck) The teachers could relate to his humorous stories or comments. His enthusiasm was contagious. He engaged the audience with participatory questions and feedback making sure we “got it.” I don’t teach freshmen but I found myself snapping photos of his slides for future reference because he was so engaging.
    Unfortunately, his colleague provided just the opposite experience by standing solely behind a table leaning on a podium while holding a microphone next to her lips. Her slow monotone speech with long pauses between thoughts put me to sleep.
    2. Presenters last year did such a great job that I would love to use some of their techniques;
    high energy, clear explanations of processes and tools used, time to ‘try out’ the tools with guided help and links to resources to access later.

  5. The best workshops/conferences I attend are the ones where I can come back the next day and implement something I learned in my classroom. I do not enjoy a lot of "preaching to the choir" or getting to know you activities. I like "hands on" activities that give you time to create something to use in the classroom, experiment with a new program, etc. I also like it when the presenter differentiates according to the attendees experience levels. I lose interest if we go too slowly or become frustratingly overwhelmed if we go too quickly. Finally, I want to feel the energy of the presenter. If they are excited, chances are I will be too.

  6. The single most important quality of a good presenter is sincere enthusiasm for the material in his/her presentation. I have struggled to stay awake through extremely interesting workshops that have been undermined by the sense of drudgery or routine with which the presenter labored. On the other hand, dull and redundant subject matter has been brought to new and invigorated life by presenters who so clearly loved their material I couldn’t help but love it too, and see it afresh.

    Secondly, mastery of the presentation mediums is an essential component to a good presentation. Over-crowded and barely readable slides, overuse of animated transitions, and broken links to sound or video components have all marred otherwise valuable presentations.

  7. I think there are quite a few things that a presenter can do to 'woo' their audience. First, the person must be authentic to who they are. One of the hardest things for me to sit through in a presentation is someone trying to be someone that's not authentic to who they are. And, at the same time, someone who IS authentic…quirks and all!, really draws me in an enrolls me in what they have to say.

    The next thing that 'works' for me in presentations is when the presenter knows their audience and caters to them and uses their time wisely. Sometimes it's appropriate for the audience to participate in interactive, hands-on activities…and sometimes it's a poor use of time!

    Thus, for my presentation on WeVideo, I intend to be myself, quirks and all, give the audience the information they need, and then allow them time to play with WeVideo, making the entire presentation useful and relevant and authentic!

  8. As I reflect on presentations that were particularly interesting or inspiring to me, I think that I appreciate presentations:
    That “show” instead of “tell”
    Give me time to experiment with new technology
    Give me time to work on implementing my new learning before I leave
    Give me examples to access afterward
    Give me resources that I can access afterward to continue to grow when I am

    This will be the first time for me to present to an audience and I must say that it is outside of my comfort zone. I hope that my enthusiasm for the topic (which I have in abundance), will help to raise my comfort level with the task! I am grateful that I have such great teammates to help--I can’t imagine doing this without them!

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  10. At a co-teaching workshop I experienced some of the most engaging teaching tips yet. This, of course, was most likely due to the fact that the presenter, Anne Benninghof, shared some fairly surprising (or not-so-surprising) facts about the way students learn, and therefore the way she was choosing to present to us. The short and sweet version goes as follows:
    Hands down most learners, young and old, label themselves as either "Visual" or "Auditory" learners. So, sitting in a desk, in a classroom, listening to a teacher and viewing a PowerPoint or two, speaks directly to them. An even larger percentage, conversely, of learners who actually drop out of school, are those who label themselves as "Kinesthetic" learners, implying that if they are not physically engaged or moving around during an activity, they are most likely not doing so well with learning and/or engaging in whatever we are trying to teach them. We also received some use-it-when-you-need it tools that I immediately implemented into my classroom the next day. A mix of presentation opportunities for all kinds of learners as well as some applicable materials seems to make the most sense to me.

    That being said, like many of you have already confessed, I have never presented for a group of adults professionally, so I am still working through how that might look. A Prezi and some work time seems to be the foundation for the presentations, and I think it will work well to keep those listeners' interests.

  11. The best presentations are ones where I can use the ideas presented immediately. Sometimes I can revamp what I am already doing to use the tips learned right away. In this effort, I think time is my enemy. If I can't use the skill right away, I tend to forget about it and move on to the next thing. The notes and thoughts are stashed away and pushed to the back of my mind and usually forgotten.

  12. As others have mentioned, audience participation is definitely a key ingredient in making a presentation memorable. I also think providing avenues of integrating the content directly into the teacher's curriculum also add to a presentation's success. This can come from various tools, suggestions, or reflection and sharing out by the attendees.
    I think learning from other attendees and having the opportunity to share and brainstorm also makes for a memorable and valuable experience. This is really where I tend to find the most value and application to presentations because then I get a variety of ideas and avenues to apply the learning.
    I think the last thing that really makes presentations worth while are having resources to access and take with me when I go. Having new web tools, templates, or lessons gives me that much more incentive (and likelihood) to implement the learning in my classroom.
    While we will be presenting different strategies to use technology in the classroom, I think it would be helpful to supply templates and some sort of spreadsheet/form where others can provide examples or scenarios in which the tools or learning may be applied in their classrooms. I also think putting on a bit of a show, at least through delivery and humor, makes for a more engaging experience.

  13. The best presentations for me engage me immediately with the promise of utility in my classroom. I appreciate knowing how to apply ideas in different ways, and then I must have the chance to try it out right away. Taking notes is not a great use of my time, and often I don't use the notes, so I also like to have access to resources made available by presenters.

    Finally, time with an expert who helps me set up new tools or helps us use a new tool right away and shows examples of how they have implemented ideas in their work is important.

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  15. As an educator, I have attended many presentations. I also give presentations pretty much every day in my classroom. I find that what makes presentations valuable and engaging for me also makes them valuable and engaging for my students.

    First, I like presentations that are concrete, meaning something I can apply right away or I see the purpose of. When I attend conferences like CCIRA, I am always looking for things that I can use or modify right away. As a teacher, I also try to give my students practical uses for the skills we are learning in class and ways they can use them outside of the classroom.

    Another element I find effective is having resources to refer back to after the presentation, especially resources that are organized and easy to use. I found that when I presented at the Inspired Learning Conference, handouts that I made with step-by-step instructions were valuble to those in the presentation and my collegues here that weren't able to attend the presentation. Likewise, in my classroom, I try to link assignment explanations and resources to my class website so students can refer to them at home and in the classroom.

  16. I liked the ones that both had a topic that would help me use technology effectively and gave me time to set it up. Tracy did that with Twitter and I showed what Mystery Skype was but didn't give them time to create a Skype account if they didn't already have one. That is something I would ask the participants next time. If most of them needed to set the account up. I'd walk them through the process.
    Edmoto or I already forgot the one that helps organize student work. I need to go back over what I created that day and explore some more.

  17. The presenters I enjoy most are enthusiastic, sincere, and humorous. They keep their audience engaged and actually have people move out of their seats. When I attend a conference or teacher training, I sometimes am amazed at the amount of time my butt is in a chair. It makes me think of how much time students sit in seats all day long. Ugh! Memorable presenters introduce lessons or activities I can use in my class the very next day if need be, and my students will definitely be moving out of their seats, too.

    When I presented at the Inspired Learning Conference last year, I was a nervous wreck. My teammate had another commitment and was unable to be there. Once I had an audience, everything was fine. It seemed like seconds later and Dana was signaling me that my time was over. Time flies when presenting. Just breath and enjoy you time "on stage" as a presenter.

  18. I think a conference or presentation becomes successful when the presenter pays attention to the audience's needs. A presenter needs to be able to read the audience, whether the group is ready to move on or if they need more time. The people that are coming to a presentation because they want to learn something they can use in their own classroom, and if the class is not going at the correct speed it can get frustrating for those in the audience. The presenter needs to be flexible to have the class go in a slightly different direction than maybe planned, or to speed up or slow down, depending on what the group needs as a whole.

  19. I think the most useful presentations I have been to are ones that are providing actual tools and ideas to teachers. I think that many of us at this point have our own views on education. In my opinion, I prefer to get tips and ideas that I can take back to the classroom that day. I would want to hear things that will make my life easier or help my students learn more or in a different way. I personally enjoy hearing about new websites that I may not have heard of yet. Overall, I just enjoy hearing from my colleagues about things that can help all of us be better at what we do. I also prefer to be able to talk freely with the others who are hearing the presentation. I really think that our best thinking comes from talking and processing through ideas together.