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    96 slides in 12 minutes – Presentation Styles

    April 14th, 2010

    At a Becta LSIS Learning Innovation, Embracing Technology Conference at the NEC last year I had a twelve minute slot for a presentation on how the future of learning is mobile.

    I did use slides.

    Now the accepted model for powerpoint presentations is 2-5 minutes per slide, so if I was presenting according to the accepted model I would have had no more than six slides.

    So how many slides did you have?

    I used ninety six slides.

    Did you really?

    Yes I did.

    I remember been asked to send a copy of my presentation to the organisers, which I had to do via a version uploaded to the web as it was too big for e-mail. I then got a “worried” e-mail reminding me that I only had twelve minutes and that I might have too many slides. I did in fact cut a few slides, I think initially it was over a hundred… so cutting to ninety six was quite tough!

    Even at the event, I was taken to one side and reminded how important it was to stick to the timeslot I had been given.

    Then it was time….

    I use to have quite light slides when I started doing conference presentations, but was noted by someone else that my slides a few years ago were getting more text heavy… and it was true! I had more and more text on my slides.

    So I decided to stop how I wrote my presentation slides and think again about how and what I present.

    Most times text is on slides as a crutch to the presenter who may not know their stuff, or certainly doesn’t have the confidence to present without the security blanket of lots of text.

    I decided that if I was using words I would use phrases or key words. Where possible I would use images.

    So where do you get the images?

    Most times they are images I have taken myself or had taken for me. But for a lot of images I use creative commons licensed images from Flickr. There is a wealth of images available on Flickr and they can be used to convey lots of different things. If I can’t find the image I want, I have been known to get the camera and go and take the image. I also upload my images to Flickr, not just so others can use them, but if I am out and about and I want to use one of my images I needn’t worry about having it on my computer as it may be on my Flickr account.

    Images are very powerful and can convey and support what I am saying

    But what about the text?

    Presentations are not about text they are about presentations.

    Word documents are about text, so write a Word document or a blog post.

    I try to use a small number of words and where possible avoid bullet points.

    I have seen too many presentations that consist of bullet points with lots of explanatory text, often too small to read!

    But when I post my presentation online…

    Come on, really who is the presentation for, the audience in the conference room or the online audience.

    Remember that the core audience for a presentation is the live audience in the conference room. It is not the remote audience who will only read your presentation and won’t get the full benefit of your actual talk and any questions afterwards.

    If it is necessary to offer a more detailed presentation online. then video or film the presentation. Or how about creating one text heavy presentation for the online audience who won’t hear you and one for the live audience who will.

    Anyone who puts loads of text onto a slide so that it makes sense to someone who reads it online (notice the use of the word reads) then they might as well not present their work and just print it out and let us read it.

    Presentations that are watched are different to documents that are read.

    Use the right tool for the right audience and the right location.

    I can’t take all the credit for how I create my slides for my presentations, one of the articles I read gave me a real insight into making a good looking presentation. The article talks about the different presentation styles of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and reading it, it makes a lot of sense to me.

    So what of the rules about 2-5 minutes per slide?

    If you know the rules, you can break the rules.

    So how did I do?

    Yup, I delivered all ninety six slides in twelve minutes. Got lots of positive feedback as well. The feedback was on the content of the  presentation and what I said, and not on the presentation slides themselves.

    Job done!


    Next Generation Learning Awards 2010: Special Innovation Award: Gloucestershire College

    March 31st, 2010

    Next Generation Learning Awards 2010: Special Innovation Award: Gloucestershire College

    The judges praised the enthusiasm and commitment of all members of the college team, starting with the vision and commitment of the principal and senior leadership team. They found a high level of technological innovation that is in effect led by learners and their needs.

    The judges also liked the way the use of technology has brought about a rapid cultural change in the willingness of tutors to share good practice and resources both internally in the college and nationally. This is done traditionally via presentations given by staff members at events and conferences, but the college has also pioneered the use of online communities and social networking sites to share good practice.

    It also enjoys more formal working partnerships. For example, it is working with the Royal Forest of Dean and Stroud Colleges to implement mobile learning there, and has a successful collaborative working arrangement with local schools to deliver diplomas.

    The college recognises that a strong infrastructure needs to be in place to support technological innovation.

    Trained advanced practitioners are used to disseminate good practice in using ICT across the college and more widely. These practitioners are well resourced and given the right equipment to develop, for example, mobile learning and assessment. One example the judges noted was the use of specialist software to mark and annotate students’ multimedia portfolios that were then presented to external validators.

    The judges felt that for the future, all-round embedding of the vision and strategy for ICT and ILT will see the college move from strength to strength in the coming year.

    From Becta.


    TEN Open Day

    March 10th, 2010

    Today was our Open Day as part of Gloucestershire College’s role in Becta’s Technology Exemplar Network.

    The focus was not just about how Gloucestershire College use technology to enhance, enrich and support learning, but was also an opportunity for delegates to discuss, debate and have a conversation about Web 2.0 and Social Networking.

    The day followed an “unconference” style format with the emphasis on discussion and debate, and less on presentations and “sit and listen”.

    We advertised the day with the following:

    With the wealth of learning technologies and web 2.0 tools and services available to Further Education, this open day, will provide an opportunity to see how Gloucestershire College are using learning technologies to enhance and enrich learning. The open day will also give you an opportunity to discuss and debate with others how Web 2.0 and social networking can be used in Further Education.

    The day will focus on the use of Web 2.0 and Social Networking and how they can be used to enhance teaching and learning.

    The day will also give you an opportunity to tour the college to see how we use ILT and how we have embedded learning technologies across the curriculum.

    The day will consist of a formal introduction followed by semi-structured unconference format in which delegates will be invited to discuss, show and tell, collaborate, share and learn. The day starts at 10.00am and will finish at 4.00pm

    As well as learning from us, we want to learn from you.

    I was very pleased with the way the day went. The delegates really enjoyed the day, the tours, the discussions and lunch!

    Plenty of time for coffee too.


    Becta Technology Exemplar Network Mini-Network Event

    March 3rd, 2010

    Today is our Becta Technology Exemplar Network Mini-Network Event (that’s a bit of a mouthful).

    So what does that mean in English?

    Well…

    Gloucestershire College is one of sixteen education and skills providers from across England to have been granted Technology Exemplar Network status

    The Technology Exemplar Network is designed to help colleges and other learning providers use technology more effectively.

    The Technology Exemplar Network was launched in 2008 with ten members and is jointly led by government technology agency Becta and the Learning and Skills Council. It works to share best practice for using technology between different learning providers across the country.

    Gloucestershire College was chosen because of our work in mobile learning (the MoLeNET projects for example) and Stars and Stripes, a record system we use with our learners to improve retention and achievement.

    There are nine other FE Colleges in our mini-network who are termed participating providers.

    The concept of the network is to cascading that experience and expertise to their colleagues in the network.

    During this event the Exemplar should ensure that mini-network members discuss their requirements for participation. This will enable the Exemplar to develop a suitable programme of network engagement activities going forwards.  These may include on-line collaboration opportunities, on-line conferences/events, provider site visits and further face to face meetings and events. This programme of activity will take place from January 2010 to July 2010.

    I personally think it is a little more than just Gloucestershire College saying “this is how good we are and this is how it’s done”. For me the mini-network is an opportunity for FE providers to work together to share and collaborate to ensure that they use technology more effectively.

    We will be using an unconference open format for the event, this is to maximise discussion and networking and minimise didactic transmission of information.

    Should be interesting.

    Twitter tag is #bectaten


    The Future of Learning is Mobile Presentation

    October 22nd, 2009

    My presentation slides from the joint Becta and LSIS Conference on Learning Innovation, Embracing Technology where I gave a presentation entitled, The future of learning is mobile.

    There is an audio recording of the presentation.