Against Powerpoint – Animated Talks

Watching several of the sessions at #ili2010 earlier this week, I was struck by how many presenters are now using what I think of as a Presentation Zen style of slide, where full screen photographs are overlaid with a half a dozen or so words…

…and over the summer, I attended two consecutive events, the JISC Innovation Forum:

JIF2010 session cartoon capture

and the European Journalism Centre’s Data Driven Journalism event:

EJC DDJ session cartoon capture

where the organisers had arranged for a “doodler” to visually record the keypoints from each session in a cartoon like way to provide a “live capture” overview of the presentation.

Reviewing these visual captures post hoc is different to seeing them being constructed, of course, because the way the argument was developed over time is missing; the dynamic aspect of presentation isn’t there, so it’s hard to see how an argument was constructed. (The same is true of looking at a flip chart record of a brainstorming session, or a mindmap of a topic.) Yes, you might be able to take the static capture and try to organise it and develop insight based on things that seem to go together, but you miss out on the dynamic way in which the story was constructed, or told.

However, it is possible to use video to capture in an animated way the construction of the visual record of a spoken word event, as the RSA Animate videos do:

If you ever have access to an OHP, you can dynamically construct your own slides of course, as many lecturers and school teachers used to so, and possibly still do. One of my favorite and fondly remembered exponents of this approach, from watching Sunday morning TV as a child, was Edward de Bono:

An advantage of this approach, of course, is that it helps with pacing…

PS @herrdoktorc reminded me that Prezi can provide animated direction to a presentation and that is not a million miles away from the experience you might get from watching an RSA Animate video, at least on those occasions when the violent Prezi swirls don’t induce nausea and a feeling of seasickness in the audience;-) For a good example of Prezi in use, see Scott Leslie’s Open Educator as DJ.

PPS I’m also reminded of the sketchcast site, which I guess is to de Bono what Prezi is to RSA Animate?! I guess you could achieve a similar effect by screencapturing an online whiteboard session, for example…

PPPS While on the topic of alternative presentation styles, here’s a link to the Cooliris 2D slide grid style presentation I saw @cogdog deliver at Ed-Media 2009 in Hawaii last year.