24-Hour Powerpoint…I’ve seen the light


Photo Credit: Potjie via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Potjie via Compfight cc

I don’t really use powerpoint all that much. Teaching 6 and 7 year olds in a concept driven, inquiry classroom does not really allow me to stand at the front of the class as the children are

  • lying on the floor
  • squabbling with each other
  • squirming 
  • annoying anyone in their vicinity
  • all of the above

So I reflected a little further back to my time at University and at Secondary school. And yes death by powerpoint… yep that rings a few bells.

How many of us have sat in a meeting or lecture theatre and had an excruciating time listening to someone read from the slides? It really does feel like death doesn’t it? Especially when you have no idea when it is going to end. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?

Don’t get me wrong. Presenting is hard. It is not an easy skill. Many people try and many people fail. I am one of those people. I have been in the tunnel! But hopefully I am beginning to see the light at the end.

My long journey to (Presentation) Zen started in the summer of 2014. I was lucky enough to attend a technology course with Jeff Utecht at The Learning Institute, at America School London.  The 2 days (which was the key reason for me signing up for COETAIL – thanks Jeff!)  featured many areas of technology and education including Presentation Zen.

Over the course of the 2 days one of our tasks that Jeff gave us was to create a presentation, in a small group, about a particular topic. Our group picked the flipped classroom idea. We were asked to present in a Pecha Kucka style  Here is the end product.

Now the presentation is not perfect but it is an improvement on something like this. So what can I do with this Flipped Classroom presentation after this weeks readings? 

The Methods

Kawasaki Method

The Kawasaki Method always follow a “top-10” format — essentially ten slides and ten major ideas. His visuals, then, will consist of ten slides each with one key message spelled out. The 10-20-30 rule mean presentations

Below is an updated version of the flipped classroom presentation with the Kawasaki Method.


Takahashi Method

Huge text is the key feature to the Takahashi Method.  No images are used in the presentation.  Words are usually 10 characters or less for visual impact. Below is the flipped classroom presentation using this method.

The Lessig Method

The Lessig Method contains only a brief quote, a short sentence, or a photo with a caption is included in a presenters slide. Each slide lasts a few seconds.

Pecha Kucha

PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.

The Godin Method

Godin, focuses mostly on the element of presentation slide design – particularly, how to select accompanying visuals to enhance messages appropriately.  Godin promotes the use of bold fonts, contrasting colours, and striking images.

The Monta Method

When using the Monta Method presenters are encouraged to use questions and answers on all their visuals.  When the question is posed to the audience, the answer is kept covered or hidden, only to be revealed once attendees have tried to “guess”.

There are many different paths to designing presentations and many paths to deliver a presentation. I suppose all of these different methods mean three things.

  • Communication is key
  • Present in different ways
  • There are no rules

You may want to do the same. Who knows, maybe by naming it, an actual movement of sorts will develop across the planet.

If there are no rules I am going to think of a new method. The Bevans Method. I’ll let you know when I’ve created it!

The Planning Process

Choosing your method is one thing. The light to spark the real interest in your presentation are six aptitudes.

  1. Design your presentation away from a computer. It allows for more creativity and away from distractions. 
  2. Story7 basic story plots in the world. Use one of them to aid your presentation.
  3. Symphonyin the “conceptual age” synthesis and the ability to take seemingly unrelated pieces and form and articulate the big picture
  4. Empathy–  It’s about putting yourself in the position of others. Steve Jobs was fantastic at this.
  5. Play – there has to be some fun element to presentations
  6. Meaningmaking a presentation is an opportunity to make a small difference in the world

How can I apply this thinking to the classroom?

Children have three things in abundance  freedom, naturalness, and spontaneity. What is missing too often from presentations is that human-to-human connection that exists where naturalness is allowed to breathe.

Photo Credit: axelsaffran via Compfight cc

I have dowloaded the app Haiku Deck on to the class iPads, I want the children to use this for the end of unit project when the children design and build their own structure.

When creating a presentation (about blogging)  for parents earlier in the year I used some of the principles from these methods.

But then this presentation shared with the rest of Early Years explaining what Grade 1 have been up to. This could do with a little work.

I think it’s a ongoing process… So I will end my thoughts with the great Frank Sinatra

If you want to get an audience with you, there’s only one way. You have to reach out to them with total honesty and humility.

I am beginning to see the light. How about you?

12 thoughts on “24-Hour Powerpoint…I’ve seen the light

  1. Hi Joel
    I think we all have been “killed by power point” at some point! And I completely agree with you when you described your students and your classroom. Standing in front of them with a presentation is not really possible.
    I also think that you’ve done a pretty good job with the presentation for the parents. I wasn’t there but watched the presentation and it was pretty clear, understandable, easy to follow…


    1. Hi Magali,
      Thanks for your comments. Death by Powerpoint is a common theme for adults and children. If we can not cope with it then surely we must talior our information for our audience – the children.


  2. I can’t thank you enough for the breakdown of the different methods of presentation design. I struggle with presentations, for some of the reasons you mentioned. I also teach mainly younger students and when I searched for “Early Childhood+Powerpoint” on the web, I just got a bunch of boring, edpsych presentations that encourage the exact death you implied. My blog, this week, was about Powerpoint being the killer-of-time, which I now see works both ways. It can kill your time in creating or in listening. (link to: https://www.coetail.com/meganhighfill/2016/02/14/powerpoint-the-killer-of-time/). But the methods you described don’t do either. They are interesting, simple, and beautiful. I am especially interested in trying the Kawasaki method. Thank you for all of the great information organized in one area. I think you are a great “presenter”!


    1. Hi Megan,
      Thanks for your comments. I really enjoyed your blog “Powerpoint- the killer of time” and I completely agree with you – it does work both ways. The creation of Powerpoint’s that are hundreds of pages long feels me with dread. A couple of months back I recall a presenter having over 200 pages on a Presentation. Now thankfully the presenter did not share them all with us – but how is that tailoring it your audience? Good luck on your journey to Presentation Zen! Cheers, Joel


  3. Hi Joel,

    I second Megan’s comments. I mentioned your blog as a must read to other Coetailers. Time to work on our Back to School one I think! I really like your new look blog-wow!


    1. Hi Suzy,
      Thanks for the comments and the big-up! Much appreciated, as ever. I agree we need to work on the Back to School Night and a few other presentations we give in the year. It is a work in progress… as ever!
      Cheers, Joel


  4. Hi Joel,
    Great resources! Thank you ! With all this new information, there seems to be a lot more decisions to make and a lot more’editing out’ to think about! But, being more informed, I also feel like I’m noticing things and reading presentations a little differently. I especially enjoyed your presentation on Technology Workshop for Grade 1 Parents. The pictures were perfect and the messages were simple and clear. I could imagine the conversations you’d be having and, for me, it’s pretty spot on.


    1. Hi Nicky,
      Thanks for the comments. I agree with editing out more – there is only so much that we can ( and our students ) can cope with! I am glad you enjoyed the Technology Workshop presentation. If you want to use it or adapt then please do.
      Cheers, Joel


  5. I love the breakdown of styles. And I don’t think COETAIL would ever want all the grade 1 teachers lecturing for any powerpoint, including the most gorgeous/effective slides. But I think classroom teachers are in charge of so many visuals that they don’t even realize…back to school night presentations, class newsletters, etc. And it takes time and practice. Which we don’t always give ourselves. But I love the conversations you are starting at LUX about this and I’m looking forward to seeing what your next steps will be.


    1. Hi Rebekah,
      Thanks for the comments. Visuals are so important in a school day in the Elementary School and I agree that we are in charge of sharing so many visuals with the children. Our job is to make sure they are the right visuals. I think Course 3 has really opened my eyes to this and I am beginning to understand that 1 powerful well chosen image is so much better than 3 images that have no purpose or thought. Having a go-to website is really important for this and I am really discovering what websites are more to my liking than others.
      Cheers, Joel


  6. Joel, I’m so glad I came across this post. I have had to use Powerpoint recently and these many differing methods are great! I have certainly seen the light. Recently, I presented to teachers at my school the importance of movement and how to incorporate movement into the classroom to enhance student learning. I wish I had read your post prior to presenting because I would have designed my ppt differently. But, I am going to go back and adapt it using one of the methods you addressed, as I foresee myself presenting on this topic again. Thanks for the post, it has surely helped me.


    1. Hi Julian,
      Many thanks for your comments. It is much appreciated.
      I am glad that my post helped you rethink your recent powerpoint.
      I think there are so many different presenting styles out there the important element for me is to find the correct one for the presenter and also the intended audience. I think the only way to do this is to experiment with some of these differing presenting styles. Check out https://www.presentationzen.com/ for more amazing presentation zen ideas. Good luck.
      Cheers Joel


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