How to present Creativity?

In my classroom, I don’t use presentations as a form of delivering information to students or as a teaching tool. It is nothing personally against using them, I feel it is more of a disconnect between presentation slides and my personality. As my father describes me when I have something important to say, I tend to walk the prairie rather than get to the point. I have always found presentation slides constricting to my inner ‘go where the conversation takes me’ approach. That said, it is equally beneficial to have my thoughts organized and my objectives clearly stated and sequenced for the benefit of the audience.

Currently, I am offering parent learning sessions at my school. The purpose is to teach parents about the learning approaches used in the classroom and to educate them about the strategies and skills we are trying to teach their children. I thought I would take advantage of this course and use the knowledge gained from this week’s readings and throughout this course to create a presentation for one of my parent sessions; CREATIVITY IN THE CLASSROOM. I want to go from a google doc level of organization to having my audience experience the zen feeling of presentations! At this stage in my digital learning evolution, I am not ready to open google slides and create a zen experience. Currently, the readings have started me thinking about the importance of the context of my presentation. What am I trying to say? What do I want parents to leave understanding? What is the big picture? Without a clear understanding of the context, any presentation is bound to fail or at least come shy of potential. So, I need to be clear about context.

The second thing I discovered is presentations should be simple. Veering towards the side of simplicity rather than complexity is the goal. I like this idea. Too often I find material on the internet and in presentations to be too busy; too cluttered. More is not always merrier! When developing my presentation, I will have simplicity in mind.

The third thing that stood out from the literature was the importance of understanding your audience. Who are they? What questions will they come in with? How will they see the topic? Will they see creativity with curiosity and a smile or will they panic and see it as moving away from the prevalent traditional teach and test method? The more we understand our audience, the better equipped we become at using the technology to address their needs more directly and with greater accuracy and impact. For example, I can see that presenting on creativity would look very different to an audience of teachers than to an audience of parents. That is my next step. What are the tech tools in the world of presentation, which will allow me to effectively target the right audience?

3 thoughts on “How to present Creativity?

  1. Chrissy

    I don’t like the word “presentation” much anymore and can totally relate to what you are saying about them constricting you.

    I like to think of visuals enhancing what I have to say. Using visuals to evoke emotion, empathy, familiarity and sometimes thought-provoking. I also think that the visuals I use are really good but totally useless to anyone seeing them without hearing what I say alongside them.

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  2. Andrew White

    Walking the Prairie Line are we?? I love the expression and after attending the professional learning opportunities you provided for staff at Mini- NESA’s I think it is an appropriate description of your style. It is truly important for us to play to our strengths. Yours is certainly adapting to the mood, needs and flow of your group and seeing where things can go. I think this is why you will like a Zen-like Google presentation. They are simple, concise and really only act as a jumping off point for where you want to go. What scares me about them is that I am the opposite of you. I have a hard time changing direction in presentations and lessons and my highly structured, highly un-Zen-like presentations help me to keep everything going where I want it to (even if it doesn’t always make sense to do so). Where I use my GPS on a road trip you take screenshots of Google Earth images to see if you can find something interesting to explore.

    My brief experience with presentations of this style suggest that they get the audience thinking and inspire discussion. It seems to me that you already do this, so why not kick it up a notch?!? Plus you get a chance to introduce your creative side to your kids or to the parent groups to which you present. Am I wrong or have I been misled by your propensity to dominate Christmas craft day?

    I also think the Google Doc you shared is an amazing outline for a presentation. Each bullet point is an image or small block of text and then (probably as you already do) you see where it goes from there. What may be difficult is the amount of time to find the right images to drive thinking but I have been led to believe it gets easier with time and practice.I think your ideas are right on track and I can’t wait to see how amazing they will be in a totally Zen’d up presentation!

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  3. Jason Krugler

    Frank,
    As I was reading your post for this assignment, I couldn’t help but think of the Back to School Night (BTSN) presentation that I use for parents. In addition to what you shared, I am also thinking about the video “Don McMillan: Life After Death by PowerPoint” from the recommended readings/videos. That BTSN presentation is the absolute worst. It is busy, cluttered, full of words – that I read directly from the slide – and is just plain terrible. Like you, I want things to be simple, understandable, and an open avenue for discussion to happen authentically. I have embraced presentations in my classroom as a way of sharing information not only in my lesson but as a resource that can be accessed and referenced outside of the classroom. Now, though, the challenge is to “Zenify” them. I need to find a balance between sharing my message in a Zen-like fashion while continuing a dialogue that will be sustainable, adaptable, meaningful, and memorable. Hopefully, the lessons I am learning will assist in this process. I know that it won’t be easy, but am hopeful that I am able to find ways to modify my teaching in ways that are more suitable for today’s learners.

    Great post, Frank! Keep up the great work!

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