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Lectures and Visual Thinking in #STEMTeaching

Posted by on Thursday, February 5, 2015 in Resource.

by Derek Bruff, CFT Director

The Center for Teaching has recently started sharing on its YouTube channel videos created for last fall’s open online course, “An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching.” Vivian Finch, CFT Graduate Teaching Fellow and queen of social media here at the CFT, is blogging about these videos in a series we’re calling “Thinking STEM, Teaching STEM.” Today, in honor of Presentation Makeover Week, I wanted to take a little detour from the series, currently exploring fundamental principles of learning at play in the STEM classroom, and share a video from later in the course, one that focuses on visual aspects of STEM lectures.

A bit of context: The module on lectures in the STEM teaching course starts off by sharing some of the research pointing to the weaknesses of lectures as teaching tools. That’s followed by some discussion of appropriate roles of lectures in the STEM classroom, touching on the idea of “times for telling” and the flipped classroom. (We’ll share those videos later in the “Thinking STEM, Teaching STEM” series.) That sets up the video I’m sharing today, “Lectures and Visual Thinking.” As I say in the video, if we’re going to talk about effective lecturing, we really have to discuss slide design, given how common it is to see PowerPoint or Keynote slide decks supporting STEM lectures.

In the following nine-minute video, I share some principles and strategies for using visuals, especially slides, more effectively in STEM lectures. I hope it’s helpful as you think about ways to deliver more effective presentations.


And for more ideas useful for presentation makeovers, see this morning’s announcement of the winners of the First Annual Agile Learning Educational Prezi Awards over on my personal blog.

Image: “Paraguay,” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Flickr (CC-BY)

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