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See What I Mean: Visual Presentations

Posted by on Thursday, April 7, 2011 in News.

by CFT Assistant Director Derek Bruff

This post is part of our spring “See What I Mean” blog series highlighting the effective use of visuals in presentations and lectures.

Yesterday I led a workshop for doctoral students in the Teaching & Learning department here on the use of effective visuals in presentations. The 20 or so doc students who participated made for a very engaged audience. Many of them will be giving presentations at the AERA conference this weekend, so they were particularly keen on picking up some tips!

Here’s the Prezi I used:

As you move through the Prezi, be sure to click on the links you see for more information on particular examples and to find out about free, online tools for creating particular visualizations.

After sharing some ideas on the use of visual metaphors in presentations, I asked the doc students to find some images they might use in their presentations using the Flickr search tool Compfight. Here are a few images they sent me during the workshop:

Vibrance” by Flickr user Clare Bell – Mikel Cole shared this as a way to represent the idea of flexibility.  He said he first searched for “flexibility” on Compfight and saw an image of a Slinky among the results. He then searched for “slinky” and found this dramatic shot.

Purple Star” by Flickr user Andrew Rivett – Jennifer Ledford and Blaine Smith found this image. They thought it was a nice representation of what they called (I believe) repetition. They used this term in the way I might use the term iteration. It’s the idea that by coming back to an idea again and again, you spiral toward a better understanding of it. This image showed up in a search for the term “spiral.”

Makeup” by Flickr user smcgee – Emily Bigelow wanted to convey the idea of getting a book manuscript ready for publication with a make-up metaphor. After searching for “make-up” and a few related phrases, she found this image. The wedding context hadn’t occurred to her until she saw this image. Also, since putting on make-up is an action and actions are sometimes difficult to represent in still images, she had to look around for a while before finding an image that conveyed this action clearly.

Hairless and Fearless” by Flickr user Sharyn Morrow – Christine Larson admitted that she didn’t know how she would use this image, but she found it striking!

Do you use images in your presentations to represent ideas? If so, what are some of your favorites?

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