Visual Oompf!

Like it or lump it, PowerPoint is a necessary tool for most presenters. While the software boasts efficient, easy to create presentation capabilities, it also runs the risk of sending your audience into a bullet-point induced coma. To bridge the gap between the time-strapped presenter and the weary-eyed audience, I (full disclosure: an untrained, non- graphic designer) offer my own take on Presentation Zen – ideas I use to add oompf to PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Presentation, Slide Rocket, etc.

In this first post for “Visual Ooompf – Designing With a Non-Designer”, I offer three practical tips to successfully use pictures in presentations.

Not just pretty to look at, pictures are the ultimate “oompf adder” as they can also help your audience retain information. A well-chosen image is an opportunity to reinforce your point AND strengthen students’ brains’ synapses.     Continue reading

TED talks and teaching

My Favorite TED Talk

Image of Bonnie Bassler’s TED Talk by jurvetson at Creative Commons License

Today, the Toronto TEDx event is happening in Toronto.

What are TED Talks you ask? According to the TED talks website:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design

As a TA and course instructor, I am very grateful these events happen. TED Talks and the associated, local community organized talks (called TEDx Talks), provide an archive of inspiring video materials that may be appropriate for classroom use. Personally, I’ve seen videos with subject matter ranging from nanotechnology to global politics!

In a 4th year course I’ve taught called Integrative Design Project, in the The Institute of Communication, Culture and Information Technology (ICCIT) at the Mississauga campus, I have frequently paired a reading by Hans Rosling with his TED talk video which “shows the best stats you’ve ever seen”. It is an interesting entry point for students to think about statistics and data visualization in their design practice.

You can tune into TEDx Toronto

And now I must ask, does anyone else use TED talks in their teaching? Please let me know in the comments.