Last week at NCTIES, I went to quite a few good presentations. One of those presentations was on "Powerful Presentations" by Ken Shelton (@k_shelton on Twitter). My notes from his session can be found here. I am not a fan of PowerPoint, and I think the reason is because people fill it full of text and read from the presentation. I had always heard about a lot of different rules for best practice PowerPoints. One of the things that Ken said, was that there are no rules. Symbols with a small amount of text can be very powerful in a presentation. If you use color to highlight certain words, the eye goes to that color first and reinforces your idea.
I liked the idea of using a presentation to convey a story. Wouldn't it be cool to show a picture on your IWB or monitor of an image, then have students write a paragraph of what they think the image is conveying. I bet every student would have a different story from looking at the image you are projecting. And, wait, aren't they using their imaginations and writing skills? Ken said to make the image cover the entire page, not just a portion of it. Also, make sure you choose a high quality image so it doesn't become blurry or pixelated. Ken also did several workshops on the use of photography and images. In Powerful Presentations, he was talking about how we could take pictures everywhere and start creating our own photography stock pile. This means you wouldn't have to search for Creative Commons images or cite images because they would be your own. Since a lot of students have their own phones with cameras or even digital cameras, you could assign them to take pictures of something you might be studying. For instance, if you are studying angles in geometry, have them go out and find angles in the school, community, etc. Another idea is if you are studying minerals or metal, have them find something that has that mineral or metal in it.
Another idea that he touched on that I liked was about fonts. I admit it, I used to do almost everything in Comic Sans. I got tired of Comic Sans pretty quickly, but didn't really understand why. Here is a funny web site that talks about Comic Sans. So much of what we do is on the web now, that trying to read Comic Sans is too hard. It is much easier to read a Sans Serif font. A couple of Sans Serif fonts to use would be Trebuchet, Futura, Gill Sans, Franklin Gothic. These fonts don't have feet and therefore won't run together. Some bad ones to use would be Comic Sans, Brush Script, Casual, and Bradley Hand.
This video by Don McMillan is very funny. I am sure you have seen these same mistakes in from your students and in other workshops.