Thursday, July 7, 2011

Presentations and Using Technology: "Enchanting" Schools, Part Four

For those of you who have been keeping up with this series, thanks for hanging around.  If you are new to this series of posts about "enchanting" schools, you may want to check out the following:
If there were two most practical items in this series for schools to address, I believe they are the two discussed in this post - presentations and using technology.

As I have done throughout this series, here is an excerpt from Davis Deal's excellent summary of Enchantment that addresses presentations and using technology to enchant others to your cause.

Enchanters learn the art of presentation. Present your ideas clearly and with graphics. And customize your discussion. Wherever Guy talks, he customizes content by capturing images of the place he’s visiting and includes the local color in his presentation.
Guy relates the story of how he spoke with executives at LG in Latin America. In preparing for the talk, he realized something obvious: he owns an LG washer/dryer but never thought to share this important fact in his presentation. It was so important that Guy customize his talk that before he went onstage, he texted one of his sons back home in the States and got an image of his LG product captured for his talk.

He also stresses the importance of selling your dream. Steve Jobs sells his dream when he discusses the iPhone. He does not discuss how iPhones work.
Guy also believes in his (frequently cited) golden rule of presenting: use 10 slides; finish up in 20 minutes; and pick 30-point font. Another approach: take the age of oldest person in the audience and divide by 2.

Use technology

Using technology means removing speed bumps to experiencing your brand in the digital world. Want to encourage people to use your website? Don’t use impossible-to-read spam blockers.

Sungevity, a provider of solar panels for homes, removes speed bumps using digital technology. The company mocks up a schema of your home using Bing search in order to create an estimate of the cost of installing solar panels. Sungevity makes it easy for a consumer to understand how its panels work and the cost for doing so.

Using social media technology is key as well. And the key to employing social media is doing what works for you, period. Guy is quite open that he has 20 people contributing content to his Twitter account to broadcast information, although he responds to Tweets by himself. He focuses on using his account to share great content often (as often as 75 times a day). So he allows people on his team to use his account to post useful links under his name.

And respond quickly – not just to famous people but also to the nobodies of the world.

My response to these for schools is fairly straightforward.

Whenever possible, use the advice above in your presentations and in how to use technology.

I am sure that I am not alone in saying that not much is worse than sitting through one boring presentation afte another.  Think of the torture you are putting your students through!  Here's some advice - your lesson is a presentation, make it engaging, interesting, and worth doing again. 

Stop reading your slides!

Better still, have your students or you use slides to make videos as part of the lesson.

As for technology use outside of classroom instruction and production, if your school does not have a plan to use social media and the internet to attract and retain students, publicize events and news, or communicate information, you need to begin making such a plan now.  Also, if your school website is not viewable (or awkwardly viewable) by mobile devices, fix it.  An increasing number of parents and students are using these devices to get information, make it easy for them.

Ok, only one part left in this series.  In it I will discuss the concepts of "enchanting up" and "enchanting down."  Until then, if you have any suggestions about how to create an "enchantment" workshop for schools, please feel free to contact me.  I appreciate your feedback.
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