Back to School in Style

The act of contemplation

So you are telling me not all templates are created equal?

As you can see from my back to school night introductory presentation I used a template to make this slideshow.  It was a Keynote slideshow originally, utilizing a template called….wait for it….Editorial.  Albeit the content on the presentation was editorial in nature there I was templating a poorly organized presentation I was going to give to parents as my first impression.  Eek!  What would my student’s have thought?

Changes to be Made

1. Change out the colour and go black and white – for the bones of it that is!

2. Images, images, images – it is an art class after all

3. Go the route of the information sheet – albeit in a different way. The QR version.

4. Parents came to meet you – not your presentation!

Inspiration for the Changes

1. Frank Curkovic and Noah Katz – these gentlemen are doing it right!  Their work has inspired me to embrace the simplicity of black and white, high contrast, simple images, C.R.A.P infused presentations.  Saw a presentation from Noah October 2013 at Learning2 – all he did was make the background black – presentation was seamless with the wall – small simple things.

2. Ok, I don’t really know what I was thinking here – 2 images of student work a bad screen shot of codeacademy and a family photo from the summer.  There is so much wrong here.  I was inspired again last year (sensing a theme) by a talk by Paula Guinto.

I realize that what makes this talk so great is the presentation – the human element.  The way the images allow her to speak openly and freely make the presentation worth it!  Really her talk was inspiration for part four as well.  I came to know Paula through her presentation and this is what I loved about it.  It could have been about any topic, but the way it was presented allowed me a glimpse of who she is, and I appreciate that very much!

3. The Zen Presentation video explains, and frankly we all knew, in the world of presentations – the minute you hand out a piece of paper – you become irrelevant.  So with this in mind – and the fact that I post everything online through our school’s site – i figure that a QR code would work best as a means of disseminating static information that parents want to see, but don’t need me to read to them.

Course descriptions of the courses I am teaching  this year
Course descriptions of the courses I am teaching this year

4. Connecting on the human level is so important – can’t say this enough.


5 thoughts on “Back to School in Style

  1. Very nice blog post and I am with you all the way. Keeping the presentation simple and with solely images (maybe a single word) draws the attention and the thinking to the message. Paula’s talk was indeed powerful not just in message but also in its simplicity of design. Less is more. I am lucky to work with all three of the gurus you mentioned, Frank in my department, Noah as Digital Literacy Coach and paula as a friend at the other campus. I am lucky to have such good influences and also that they choose to share their work and spread their learning online. I hope I did them justice with my L2 Talk this year…..


  2. Hey Matt,

    Your post got me wondering not just about presentations, but also about meetings in general. Why do we meet face to face? Have you ever sat in one of those meeting where you just wonder why the stuff wasn’t just e-mailed out? We have a back to school night, but it comes with explicit instructions that parents are not supposed to ask about individual students… is there a purpose to the physical interaction? I am trying to think of a list of reasons to meet, maybe it’ll be a seed for a future post… anyway, thanks for the catalyst.


  3. Philip – I think parents just want to see the person who is in charge of their son or daughter 8 hours a day 5 days a week.

    As an auditory learner I need a meeting every once in a while.


  4. Hey Matt,

    Wheew! I am feeling better for getting that off my chest!

    I wasn’t trying to argue against meetings or face-to-face meetings. What I think is that if it meets the e-mail test (could this just be e-mailed?) then it should be, and the precious meeting time can be reserved for something else.

    The question doesn’t take into account different learning modalities, and I think you raise a great point there.




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