I’ve been enchanted by “The Steve Jobs Effect” since I saw my first keynote as a teen. He used visuals effectively to tell stories, get viewers excited, and while they stood like a tower behind him, you almost barely noticed them. Since then, I’ve spent countless hours playing with my own variations of it for personal presentations. Good presentations should act as a true aid instead of a reading assignment and engage viewers to promote excitement and discussion.
Understanding Shakespeare: A Hamlet Primer
Intended to prepare students to read Hamlet, this presentation is aimed at familiarizing 9th or 10th graders with the writing style of Shakespeare. It ends with an activity called “Where do you stand,” where students physically get up and move to either side of the room depending on their answer to the question being posed.
Propaganda & Cartoons
This presentation was given to junior and senior students in an American Government class as they prepared for a mock election. All students were asked to look for signs of propaganda during the presentation (you will notice tactics I use to draw your eye to certain "subtleties") and we discussed why this was done. We also talked about political cartoons, and when the discussion was over, the students drew their own.
This presentation was given to 9th grade students studying World History. During this presentation we’d often stop and discuss each point, and ask questions back and forth. This presentation would take a full 40 minute class period to complete. I try to keep slides succinct, so it is not distracting to the audience. Students are especially worried about copying every word into their notes, and tune the teacher out. When there are words on my slides, I put them there so that they do end up in my student’s notes. Slideware should never stand in for a teacher.
Campaigns & Finance
This presentation was given to Junior and Senior high school students in an American Government class who were working on a mock election. It outlines the basics of campaign finance and then explains to them some key elements of how they will fund their campaigns through the guidelines of our project specifically.
This is an example of a presentation I created that has more text than I normally like to use on slides, however, I am always fully aware of every word I put on a slide, knowing my audience is likely taking notes. Each item on these slides was MEANT to be put in the student's notes, and we still discussed each topic and bullet point at length. Presentations should always be a visual aid, never stand in for the teacher themselves.
This presentation was used to introduce ancient Mesopotamia to a freshman and sophomore World History class. As usual, the slides are merely teaching aids for the lecture and discussion we were having, and don't quite stand on their own. However, the information that is presented here (especially lists and diagrams) would have been things the students knew should have been copied into their notes. Especially at younger ages, it is helpful to guide students with their notes, otherwise they'll write down everything and listen to nothing. By helping keep my slides short and to the point, and not fill individual slides with too much information, I can make sure I have their attention exactly where I want it, which is usually on what I'm saying. However, they still get the key points in their notes for studying later.
The Representation of Masculinity in the Film "Fight Club"
This is perhaps the best example of my preference to use slideware in the most minimal way possible while telling a story with images, short quotations, and the creative use of typography, but more importantly what I am discussing with my audience verbally.
Obviously this is not as easy to convey online without having recorded the audio of the presentation, however the gist of this particular Keynote revolves around elements in the movie that connect to the main character's urges to become more masculine. The book/movie (and I, in my presentation) ascertain that modern society seems to be setting men up to fail at being able to attain true masculinity, driving them to resort to primal instincts like fighting for sport, and eventually unleashing devastating chaos on cities around the world, as "fight clubs" quickly become a global epidemic.
Warning: Some of the graphics and quotations in this presentation are intended for mature audiences. Fight Club is a rated R film. This presentation was originally given to a Gender Studies class during my graduate level coursework.