Giving presentations...

gardenbug(Canada zone 5)September 27, 2006

Whether garden presentations or other types, we all are exposed to public speaking of one sort or another. Personally I am sick of Power Point presentations. I received this message from my DH this morning after his 8:30am lecture. I think it is food for thought for us all.


I arrived in my classroom 10 minutes early... figured I could review the slides a bit to be quite on top of the presentation.

Presentation is given by means of a computer and projector in the classroom, which in turn is connected to the internet, whereon reside my slides.

I logged into the computer and it informed me that I should wait for "my settings" to be found. Five minutes of waiting convinced me that nothing good was going on.

I phoned the AV emergency phone number (yes there is a phone in the classroom). The respondent gave a good laugh, I think to try to cheer me up. He suggested I should wait longer. After a bit of discussion, I convinced him --- or at least me --- that waiting longer was not helping

So, after some fiddling and advice from him, I turned off the computer and rebooted it.

The computer then told me it was loading MatLab and many other pieces of software with alphabet soup names.

By this time, the classroom was full of students and I was completely without notes or slides to give the lecture.

So what to do?

I took out a piece of chalk. The class fully understood the general situation, as the progress of the computer was being projected onto the classroom screen.

I proceeded to try to remember what was on the slides and to present it as a chalk talk.

With what result?

It went much better that way. Of course, I was much more spontaneous. I had to expand and correct my diagrams as I went along. By half way through, students were asking question and participating. By the end of the class, it was fully interactive with students taking positions and recounting their related experience from summer jobs.


PS: Technical details:

A student volunteered his laptop and during the class jury-rigged his laptop such that we could eventually show the slides using his machine. I showed some slides, but not most of them.

And by the end of the class, the classroom computer was still loading more software.

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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

That's very good, Marie. Good for your DH. I really believe the 'live' presentation is always the best.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 12:48PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Marie, food for thought.

Poor Ric! What a drama. I'd have been beside myself. I got to a seminar one time with none of my teaching materials or painting supplies. They were lost by the airline. Well, I taught the class from memory and used borrowed brushes and paints and it all went well.

I'm curious as to why you are sick of power point presentations? I think it can be as creative and interesting as the person designing the presentation.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 1:28PM
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Good for him that he was able to stay calm and go to plan B.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 1:45PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

"as creative and interesting as the person designing the presentation"

I think that is precisely the problem for many of the presentations I have seen. Many people are so nervous about public speaking that they rely on notes or slides and all spontaneity is gone. The slides often have little sense of colour or format either, no spunk. They use the same over-cluttered slides again and again. They drone on. It is a shame, because they often are knowledgeable and could offer so much more!
To be fair, I think many things are involved: subject matter, size of audience, language fluency, etc. These days, the slides are usually available to students on line before class time. To have an instructor plod through them is tedious. Class time is much better used for discussion and debate...for learning! (IMHO) Of course, teaching to a class of 300 students at 8:30am is an art. It is very interesting to observe that some professors excell at the large classes but are less able to carry on with smaller class sizes. I know I did best with small classes, especially because I taught languages and we needed time for speaking and participation and not grammar constructs alone.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 1:57PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

After spending two days watching a lot of power point presentations, I have to say that Marie has a great point. The very best presentation that I attended was NOT done as a power point, and we had no handout of power point slides to follow along. As a result, I took 2 1/2 pages of notes and could probably repeat most of the major points from her presentation without looking at my notes.

Most (although not all) of the PP-style presentations used the same basic layout with little or no zip. I think that power point has become an easy crutch for many people. The presentations are everywhere (both of my kids had to do them in middle school) but too many are very generic and bland.

I've never done a PP presentation myself, largely out of fear that the needed equipment would either not work or not be present when I needed to do my presentation. I've done most of my presentations with live plants and a plant list hand out.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 8:45PM
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Anti-PP presenters unite!!! My major media company almost insists that we use PP for sales presentations. No, say I.

A lot of my clients have become so accustomed to having PP presentations given to them that when I walk in without a laptop, they get confused. "If I can't explain it without a crutch, why should you buy it from me???." Hmmmmmmmm, say they.

Suddenly, everyone is more relaxed, they don't have to worry about technical glitches, it's far more personable, and the point gets made.

I happen to love public speaking and feel I'm good at it. For those who aren't and need to speak in front of a crowd, there are a hundred different ways to become relaxed without relying on a screen.

Good for Ric!!


    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 9:23AM
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Martie, I do quite a bit of speaking and I think that it is always best to "mix it up" --a combo of lecture, slides-pp and hands on. A two hour PP is great for people who need help getting to sleep ! Couple years ago I went to a workshop by Univ of Calif on "How Adults Learn" , and definately the answer was not Power Point !PP is a great tool for certain things but I have always felt it should just be an accessory and not the whole deal..
Kathy in the Napa Valley

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 11:29PM
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