In just over 2 weeks time, I will be presenting like I have never presented before. Never before have I had to follow conference rules on what presentation tool to use and more importantly HOW TO USE IT!
I will be forced to use PowerPoint slides, which may not sound too radical to some people but recently my use of PowerPoint has been limited as I have developed a fondness for the open canvas and zooming abilities of Prezi.
However, my greatest fear (no exaggeration!) comes from the limitation on how I should present, more specifically, I have to convey my message in 20 slides with each slide automatically changing every 20 seconds thus giving me only 6 minutes and 40 seconds!
In case you missed that and didn’t understand ( I don’t blame you) here is a breakdown of my anxieties:
1. I will be presenting at the Creativity and Engagement in Higher Education conference where delegates will explore and discuss international best practice in teaching and educational research in higher education to identify creative models for engagement in a shifting educational landscape.
2. My presentation, co-authored with Professor Susannah Quinsee is entitled “How my lecturers Uninspired me: A student’s recommendation on creativity and engagement”. This presentation draws on my 6 years of student experience in higher education which includes a BSc and MSc, as full-time and part-time student across two Universities; coupled with a literature study of how to engage students in the classroom through the latest innovative learning methods.
3. We will be presenting in a format called Pecha Kucha. The name draws its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat” and it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. This is where the root of my concern lies. I am grateful for having the opportunities to present many times in the last few years and my core philosophy is that the presenter should be in control of the slides. With Pecha Kucha, the slides are in control, you have 20 seconds to say what you have to say otherwise you will look a little silly chasing your slides.
Pecha Kucha was originally devised in Tokyo in 2003 for an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. At its core, the purpose of Pecha Kucha is to make presentations that are concise, and by keeping things moving at a rapid pace it prevents ‘death by PowerPoint’. I have had to sit through some very BORING presentations (in class and conferences) and for this I applaud this format BUT will it work for a higher education conference?
The last (and only) time I have seen Pecha Kucha being used was in a London conference in 2009 and the strongest memory I have is watching the presenter, in an act of frustration, exit the PowerPoint slide-show, go into the animation section and turn off the timer. I think the whole 20 seconds thing got to her!
Just to make my point clear, have a look at this video on “How To Become A Pecha Kucha Superstar” – doesn’t he look a little awkward waiting for the slide to change? I think he does, at one point having nothing to do as he waits for the slide change, he scratches his leg under the table. AND this is someone who has presented in this format many times!
Nevertheless, I cannot really criticise Pecha Kucha unless I test drive it and you never know I may come back from Salford, Mancherster really loving it. This article from Wired Magazine shows that Pecha Kucha has the potential for enabling short and sweet communication. We will see!
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