Archive for April, 2010

Please, please, please, I beg you. If you are going to give a presentation using some type of presentation software (Keynote, PowerPoint, Impress, etc.), make sure that you have done your homework. Here are a few things that really ruffle my feathers:

  • Don’t just read what is on the slide! Anyone in the room is going to be able to read the slide. If you are just going to read what is on each slide, don’t bother with the presentation. Just print the dang thing and give it to me to read (or toss) at my leisure.
  • Ditch the stupid animations. In this case, less is definitely more. Unless there is a real purpose (rare) to having an animation, don’t do it. It does not show that you are a techno-savy computer wiz. It just shows that you have a new toy and are trying to impress people with the rice-cake equivalent of a presentation (it feels like you’re eating something, but you’re still hungry when you are done eating).
  • Learn to use the arrow keys on the keyboard. The right arrow is for going to the next slide and the left arrow is for going to the previous slide. Don’t use the mouse! It’s tacky when the mouse/arrow/cursor appears on the screen. Learn how to navigate around your slides without having to cancel the presentation and go back to the slide sorter.
  • Make the font large and easy to read.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Before you create a slideshow ask yourself if it is really necessary to have. You may discover that there are alternate, less distracting ways of getting your point across.

I’m sure I could think of more things to say, but I’m hungry and it’s time to eat. Ciao!


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The other day we had a meeting. It was about “Task Analysis.” I don’t mind meetings, as long as they are productive (a.k.a. “useful”). But this one left me wondering a bit about what it was that we were supposed to have learned.

The meeting was about “doing task analysis.” I must be a slow learner or something, but what does it mean to “do task analysis”? I understand what a task it and what it means to analyze (or perform an analysis), but doing task analysis?!?

As an educator, I have been subjected to many years of what has become known as, edu-speak. Some educators seem to think that they must find new words to use to say the “same ‘ol thing” that has been said many, many times before. Therefore, in order to put a fresh coat of paint on the same old car, they use their handy-dandy thesaurus and look up words with similar meanings.

In a classroom setting, isn’t “task analysis” just analyzing the tasks? You don’t do task analysis. Just say what you mean and mean what you say. You analyze the tasks. To me, that means that I should be constantly checking my “compass” to make sure that I’m on the right track with what I’m trying to teach and what I want the students to learn.

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iPad Reviews

Walter S. Mossberg for The Wall Street Journal

David Pogue for The New York Times

Edward C. Baig for USA Today

Andy Ihnatko for Chicago Sun Times

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