These are my notes from David Jakes and Dean Shareski’s NECC 2008 presentation, “One Hour PowerPoint: A Strategy for Improving Presentations.”
Dean Shareski’s blog:

10 things you can do tomorrow with your kids to improve your PowerPoint

I still see many kids doing pretty bad things with PowerPoint in our schools
– we are here to focus on how kids produce visual communication

picture of a ditto machine
– first thing the kids did: SMELL

picture of an opaque projector
– inserted a book, projected the image on the screen
– if you left the book in it, it would burn up! (original book burning!)

The Apple computer changed everything in 1987
– I remember typing a worksheet with all 7 fonts!
– also in 1987 we got PowerPoint

it’s not what the software does. it’s what the user does. (hugh)

it’s about helping kids taking what they do and passionately talking about and supporting their ideas
– developing conversations
– tell stories
– communicate

film clip: “historia de un letero”

it is about how you craft the message
– we want to help you craft the message with your kids
– how to say it in the right way, to make that impact

ten things

1- “Teach them biology”

the video and these slides are available online

human brain: 12 billion cells
– image of homer simpson
– we’re going to show iStockPhoto, now look at the quality of the image
– let’s talk about the image
– two sensory inputs for presentations: the eyes and the ears
– compare optical vs auditory connections from ears to brain v eyes to brain
– broadband connection from eyes to the brain
– 30% of the cortex is dedicated or devoted to processing visual, 8% to touch, 3% to hearing
– you’ve got this big tool, the cortext

2- “Teach them to make it visual”
– teach kids about biology
– why it is important

PowerPoint doesn’t kill presentations
– bullet points
– you need to move your kids away from templates
– move away from text-based slides

Seth Godin” “Why would you use words on the screen when…”

presentations are performances
– the projector is not a teleprompter

Richard Mayer principle: people learn best from a combination of visual imagery and a limited amount of text

some districts ask kids to remove the text
– this requires kids to internalize and learn the content

dual processing: visual and auditory
– brain accepts two streams of input

Cognitive load theory: intrinsic and extrinsic load, also in the middle we have “germane” cognitive load
– visuals feed into working memory, which is limited
– there is only so much space there

intrinsic cognitive load is based on how complex the information being presented is
extrinsic is how it is presented, how difficult that is

in understanding brain biology, it is absolutely critical for sharing good presentations (effective ones)

3- Teach kids how to search for images

Flickr now is about 2.6 billion images
– receives between 4000 – 5000 images per day

we ask kids in our district to use Flickr storm
– this gives kids a handy way to keep kids in the Creative Commons images

one of the big things we need to work on is how kids can use content online legally
– that requires a license

4- teach kids about creative commons

demo of how to select a CC license

Creative Commons provides a way to tell others on the web how they can use and reuse content they find on the web

Power of Flickr Storm, it provides a download try of images
– URL is right at the top of all the images that kids have found
– teachers then can use this as a way to share pre-selected images from Flickr


iStockPhoto is a pay site
– for $1 you can get a great image
– if you really want to wow your audience for a professional presentation, you can really wow your aduience
– can even specify that you want blank space at the bottom of images for text in your search

5- “Teach them design”

Dean: We have grown up in a text-dominated world
– the emphasis on visual literacy and design is a big shift for us
– we see fonts now almost as graphical things

Slide Makeover (PhotoShopped image of lipstick on Dean!)

Example of a slideshow makeover: presentation on “How to keep up with it all”
– bulleted text suggestions: build a personal learning network, use RSS, created a twitter account, develop trusted sources
– have grabbed a random template from PPT
– so now lets strip away the template
– same content on a blank slide

Those same points might be your talking points, but they don’t have to be on your screen
– I can still remember many of the slides which Ewan McItosh gave a year ago: our slides should be that powerful

find a metaphor for an idea and use a visual image of that to communicate

Example of using a metaphor to communicate an idea visually

6- “Teach them to sell”
I see kids in the library all the time copying chunks of text
– if you ask them what they know, they will show you they don’t know anything (or much)

I (David J) a big fan of digital storytelling
– we have kids write first before they create their digital story
– why shouldn’t we have students do that for a PowerPoint first?
– craft a plan to convince others that their views and ideas are correct

David Jakes presenting

help your kids learn to craft a message that is important

7- “Color and font choice matters”

These things are very simple, but do kids know this?
– is Comic Sans a good choice here?
– Comix Sans is illegal in 34 states!

color means different things to different audiences

first color the human eye sees is yellow
– some firetrucks are becoming yellow

what does green suggest? renewal

red? danger or alert

we have to make kids aware of how color is very important and powerful

lots of examples…

deep blue for Americans signifies trust

teach kids the difference between Serif Fonts (Times New Roman) and sans-Serif
– we have hooks on the letters to help our eyes move across the screen
– when projecting, you always should use a Sans Serif Font (like Arial)

A font does have meaning
– never use Helvetica with a U.S. audience, because that is the font the IRS uses 🙂

Teach kids about colors, how the eye perceives colors and fonts differently

8- “Teach them to incorporate multimedia”

Now the explosion of online video can really bolster your ability to integrate multimedia
– lots of different compression formats

3 ways to get media

embed is a key word: take something from one site and embed it in another site

3 ways to do this
– online conversion sites like

in some ways that is the hard way

is an add-on to PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 that creates a button to enter a YouTube URL, that embeds the YouTube video right into your PPT (Windows-only)

9 – Teach students some PowerPoint secrets

“B” key is very important: slide goes black
– what does that do in terms of your cognitive load
– what does that eliminate: reduces extrinsic load

“W” key makes it go white
– like a toggle switch

type the number “51” and enter to jump to that slide
– these can be additional content slides you are not planning to use

encourage your kids to have a printout of their slides with the numbers
– we’ll put more of those on the wiki

10 – teach them to share

“the back of the napkin”
– anybody can draw
– selling ideas with simple diagrams
– getting people to think visually
– “having the winning idea means nothing without the ability to share it with someone else”

Dean Shareski presenting (and looking at me I think!)

Now dean is using Share(ski) as a hook

wonderful resources online to share your presentation
– use slideshare to find examplar presentations and critique them

Slide Rocket can be used to actually build your presentation online

Google Docs also for online presentation building and sharing
– chat box provided to chat about the presentation

Always share photo credits for proper attribution and credit

Lots of ways to communicate now in 2008

In a single classperiod, I can take this presentation and make big differences in the ways students use presentations and slides

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7 Responses to One Hour PowerPoint: A Strategy for Improving Presentations by David Jakes and Dean Shareski

  1. Also Authorstream, to download to their ipods!
    Photo site and great images gratis.

  2. […] One Hour PowerPoint: Jakes & Shareski Rock Jump to Comments David Jakes and Dean Shareski made me smile this morning in their NECC 2008 presentation: One Hour PowerPoint.  Wesley Fryer has published excellent notes of the entire presentation. […]

  3. […] One Hour PowerPoint: Jakes & Shareski Rock Jump to Comments David Jakes and Dean Shareski made me smile this morning in their NECC 2008 presentation: One Hour PowerPoint. Wesley Fryer has published excellent notes of the entire presentation. […]

  4. […] One Hour PowerPoint: David & Jakes Rock Jump to Comments David Jakes and Dean Shareski made me smile this morning in their NECC 2008 presentation: One Hour PowerPoint. Wesley Fryer has published excellent notes of the entire presentation. […]

  5. alan says:

    To see really exciting new multimedia literacy try out Inanimate Alice. And its a free online resource!
    More an interactive piece of fiction than a traditional game, Inanimate Alice: Episode 4 continues the story of the young game animator as she leaves her home in Russia and travels abroad. Inanimate Alice serves as both entertainment and a peek into the future of literature as a fusion of multimedia technologies. The haunting images and accompanying music and text weave a remarkably gripping tale that must be experienced to be believed.
    And better still for schools there is a piece of software now available that allows learners to create their own stories. Valuable for all forms of literacy and this is being sold as a perpetual site licence for schools at £99 !

  6. I am a big fan of the flickrcc search on I haven’t used Flickr Storm yet though, so that might change.

  7. […] and Dean Shareski (  Check out Wesley Fryer’s excellent notes at….  Yes, I thought the same thing – PowerPoint?  Isn’t that so old news?  Well, it also […]

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