No 48. Make better powerpoint slides using an assertion-evidence structure

If I ask a class to produce a presentation on a topic we are covering then students will on mass create slides with the following traps.

  1. Too many words on the slide which they will probably read as the feel supported.
  2. Many, many bullet points all aligned vertically which again the students will proceed to read through.
  3. A link to a youtube clip which will probably not load due to a slow network or a software compatibility glitch.
  4. Slides will contain writing pasted directly from internet sites.
  5. Diagrams and images often unrelated to the main message of the topic.

This list could go on and on……….. and all of these make for very dull presentations.

Boring class

After hitting the inspired button on the TED ipad app I came across a lecturer at Penn state university that gave a talk titled “talk nerdy to me” by Melissa Marshall. Meilssa describes herself a ‘crusader against bullet points’ and an evangelist for effective slide design.

Basically she suggests that the most effective slides are ones that the title is a single sentence displaying the key idea and the rest of the slide contains images, key diagrams and equations etc that provide visual evidence.

In the words of Melissa,

‘A small, but growing, revolution is occurring in the way that engineers and scientists design their presentation slides. This revolution advocates alternatives (based on multimedia learning principles) that challenge PowerPoint’s default structure of a topic-phrase headline supported by a bullet list of subtopics. One such alternative is the assertion-evidence structure, in which a sentence headline states the main message of the slide. That message assertion is then supported not by a bullet list, but by visual evidence: photos, drawings, diagrams, graphs, films, or equations’

Slides created this way follow a assertion-evidence structure.

So next time you are creating a presentation for you class or you want your class to do some presentation work then think about this structure. I have had had a go here. Please take a look.

AQA Force and Motion

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