“Students, please remember to monotonously read every slide word-for-word when you present to the class.” Said no teacher ever.
As I prepare for my presentation this week at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) on “Presenting with Pecha Kucha,” my colleagues have repeatedly asked me, “What is Pecha Kucha?” The short answer is it’s a great presentation style that gets students thinking and learning, not reading slides. A longer one might be to explain that the term comes from the Japanese words for “chit chat,” so as you might guess this unique presentational style embraces a more conversational tone. But more importantly, it is transforming presentations as we know them.
My performance arts background as an actress, director, and theatre teacher gives me a great understanding of what it takes to be a dynamic performer, and an even greater appreciation of a great performance. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that after several years of teaching high school theatre and English, I became utterly dejected by the quality of presentations my students gave.
It wasn’t their fault; my students simply had never been taught how to present information in a way that was engaging and interesting. In fact, many adults struggle with this same task. We have all seen so many bad presentations in our lives, we have come to think that’s what presentations are supposed to be like. My students honestly thought the act of giving a presentation meant looking something up on Google, copy/pasting some information into PowerPoint slides, and then getting in front of the class and timidly reading those slides verbatim to a disinterested and disengaged audience (myself included).
I had to stop the madness!