As promised: Presentations Before and After

As promised in yesterday’s post, I’ve posted my before and after presentations that I made to go over basic Earth structure with my Earth & Physical Science classes. I’ve already used the updated presentation, and the students seemed to enjoy it better than the overly bullet-pointed first version. You may not be able to follow the content without the narrative on the newly designed presentation, but that’s somewhat the point, no?

There were several students that expressed regret at the demise of the bullet points. It’s easier for them to just copy down exactly what it says (of course it is, they don’t have to actually pay attention or comprehend to do that). How well they’ve been trained by their past experiences!


[slideshare id=265122&doc=old-journey-to-the-center-of-the-earth-1202953941596173-3&w=500]


[slideshare id=265038&doc=journey-to-the-center-of-the-earth-12029484236194-4&w=500]

These presentation design upgrades seem to be all the rage. Since my last post I’ve found two new (to me) posts by edubloggers discussing (and even sharing) good design in presentations. And I thought I was ahead of the curve on this one…

Check them out:

I welcome your feedback on my presentations. I even look forward to constructive criticism!

12 thoughts on “As promised: Presentations Before and After

  1. Ben,

    I think it’s a good thing that these design overhauls are “all the rage” – means there are fewer bulletpoints floating around out there, and, ostensibly, more teachers are becoming better at conveying information in an engaging way (i.e., not reading right off the slides).

    Well done on your “After” – are you using Keynote? Also, where did you find your graphics? They seem very high quality, very sharp. Flickr CC? (links aren’t clickable thru Slideshare)

    Also, I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I told you I didn’t know you had even written about your slideshow until you commented on my blog. Great minds, etc….

  2. @Damian Thanks! I’m actually using PowerPoint, and I found all my graphics (other than Andrija Mohorovicic) on Flickr CC. They were nice and sharp, even on the big screen. Just takes a bit of creative keyword searching to find an image that portrays the idea I’m looking for.

    I definitely believe that you hadn’t seen my post before doing your before/after presentations. I think you posted it between when I started writing the post and when I published it. Crazy coincidence…

  3. It is all the rage… I have been trying to upgrade my presentations, although I get further with some than others, and I’m not good at that style. However, since I teach modern history, at least I have tons of photography, paintings, posters, video, music, etc from the time to work with!

    Your comment about the student response has been true for me too. How have you responded to it? I’m very curious because right now I’m trying to figure out the balance on this one with my inclusion classes.

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  5. I think your second version is much better than the first.

    However, I disagree that the point was “not [to] be able to follow the content without the narrative.”

    The point was to make your presentation a visual representation compliment what you were presenting orally so that visual learners could process information you were presenting as well as auditory learners.

    I believe you did that but the point wasn’t to make it hard to follow. I also am not sure that we have to obliterate all bullet points. Bullet points with one or two words, or short phrases of key points which are truly important could be very effective in conveying information in combination with the visuals you’ve presented. Just because bullet points have been badly used in the past doesn’t mean we have to eliminate them completely.

    Your students may have a point when they’re asking for those bullet points. If your presentation makes it “easier to take notes” and makes it comprehensible to visual learners then you have a winner.

  6. I use a lot of CC pictures off of Flickr. is a great place to search for them and it gives you the attribute with the picture. It makes it easier for me.

    Great presentation. I’m slowly trying to go through all mine and change them around a bit to make them more visually pleasing.

  7. @Penelope It’ll take me quite a while to update mine as well. I have a large number of bulleted presentations that will probably take longer than just this school year to roll over into better designs. As for student response, at this early stage I feel as if students are complaining because it requires them to actually pay attention during a presentation instead of simply copy off the screen and let their minds wander elsewhere. I definitely need more experience utilizing this format before I can draw any definitive conclusions.

    @Mathew The point was not necessarily to make it impossible to follow the content sans narrative. The idea was to create a presentation that actively engaged the students instead of allowing them to half-sleep through it and still get all the content written down. I’d agree that bullet points aren’t evil themselves. However, given their excessive misuse, I’d prefer to eliminate them from my presentations entirely. That’s just my personal preference, and shouldn’t be taken as a proclamation against all people who choose to use them. I just worry that using a few bullet points with short phrases easily turns into the same old thing.

    @J.D. Thanks for the great resource! I checked it out, and it’s certainly easier than using Flickr’s search. Good luck on your conversion process. I’d love to see examples if you can put them online.

  8. Really good modifications.

    In the original you have that planet shot running through the entire presentation, which got flat after awhile, as you obvious noticed.

    Personally, I prefer the title screen of the original to the stripped-down monochromatic revamp. It’s just a cool picture ‘s all.

    Good work.

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  10. @Dan It’s funny you mentioned the title slide. I’ve actually already added the old title slide to the new presentation. Especially when posted side by side, the old title looks a lot better. The picture is cool, but the cool Star Wars-ish font doesn’t hurt…

  11. Creative searching on Flickr CC…search by adjectives instead of nouns.

    I heard it from someone and it’s helped immensely. Really gets ’em thinking about what they’re message(s) may be.

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