Educators attend Professional Development (PD) for a variety of reasons which span from personal interests to clock hour requirements to required attendance from district or administration. No matter what the reason is for why educators are in attendance at a PD, the hope is that knowledge will be shared, gained and then brought to life within work environments. Some PD hits home and is motivating and inspiring and some PD falls flat and is merely a box checked and then forgotten about. My question, “What types of presentation platforms provide engaging and interactive Professional Development for teachers and staff?”, focuses on ISTE Standard 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation – Performance Indicator B: Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning program that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning and assessment. In addition, I would like to focus on PD presentation platforms that could also transfer to students using the same platforms to share their learning, much like how the adults giving the PD are sharing their learning.
Jennifer Gonzalez, creator of Cult of Pedagogy, wrote a great blog post, Let’s Make Better Slideshows that has great tips and reminders of what to do and not do when preparing PD. This is a list to look over before you even begin designing your presentation. I suggest looking over the article in full but here is a snapshot of her suggestions:
- Always be in presentation mode – seems obvious, but always a good reminder
- Cut way back on your text – Key words and ideas but not every word you are also planning on saying out loud
- Update your assets – be up-to-date with fonts, styles, images, etc
- Create previews and signposts – this was a new idea for me. Letting your audience know in full what you will be sharing about can help them focus on your content instead of their minds wandering and wondering how much is going to be shared.
- Go light on animations – this is a great reminder considering all the bells and whistles presentation platforms have now. It can be overwhelming to the audience if too much is happening on the screen and distract them from what you are verbally trying to emphasize as you talk through your presentation.
- Keep things consistent – This connects with not overusing animations. Be consistent with the fonts you use, color choices and style in which you have designed your presentation. This helps your audience to, again, focus on your message.
- Proofread…out loud – practice, practice, practice. PowerPoint even has a coach feature now that can listen to you and give tips on how to improve the delivery of your verbal content in connection with your written word.
Reviewing and remembering these tips before you even begin creating your PD will help lay a strong foundation as you start designing your presentation. Then, it is about picking your platform…your delivery system.
The most tried and true platform for PD presentations is PowerPoint. Since this is a more known platform, I am instead trying to challenge myself to look at some newer technologies. From the Hongkiat blog, Ashutosh KS wrote an article, 10 Presentation Tools to Win Over Your Audience, there is a great list of new platforms that can be used to freshen up and help make a PD presentation more interesting. Platforms include Prezi, Visme, Emaze, Canva, Piktochart, Genial.ly, Haiku Deck and more. To dig deeper into what each of these platforms have to offer, follow the link to the article. Yet, the biggest difference within all these platforms is the variety/styles of the visuals which keeps me wondering about how to make PD presentations more engaging via interaction…not just more visually interesting. Visuals do make a big impression on your audience and are important but how can presenters make sure they are creating PD that will include the audience in an interactive and meaningful way.
In order to truly engage your audience, using interactive tools such as Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, Plickers, Padlet, Buncee and more could be a great way to engage adults while you are presenting. This also touches on the part of my question how presenters can showcase tools that can be transferred into educators’ classrooms. Using interactive tech tools is a way for PD presenters to provide both insight into tech tools as well as engagement with the PD topic – fill two needs with one deed! Once educators have experienced tech tools themselves within their own learning, they are more apt to have an ahh-ha moment and think of ways they can implement it purposefully.
Overall, to answer my question, What types of presentation platforms provide engaging and interactive Professional Development for teachers and staff?, I have come to this conclusion – switching up platforms will help to keep visuals interesting and professional but also using interactive tools as a way to showcase ed tech tools and keep your audience engaged is the best way to transform your presentation into a collaborative, engaging and meaningful experience.