In with the New!


For my final project I decided to use what I have learned in course 3 to upgrade a presentation I have already used, but will need to use again with what will most likely be a much larger and more critical audience. Earlier this year, I did a presentation on a professional learning day for some of my colleagues. My presentation was an interactive session that was to show how a problem-based learning Mathematics approach can be used in the classroom to not only help with student learning of Mathematical concepts, but to also benefit students non-cognitive, soft skills even more. During the session, it was clear to see that it was an engaging topic as all attendees seemed deep in thought and couldn’t help but collaborate with other when solving some of the Math problems. Some of colleagues were even excited to share their method of solving the problem which is the concluding goal and in my opinion the main goal of the idea.


Here is my old presentation:


Although the session itself had some glorifying moments, it is safe to say after taking this course that the presentation part of my session was lacking in many areas. All I really used it for was to read from and have the Math problems present on the board. As I stated in my week 3 blog post, my goal is to “zen-ify” this presentation and use it as a visual support to help send a more meaningful message about making the math classroom a more thought provoking and collaborative learning environment. To do this, I will be working to make my presentation clear and consistent, creative, simple, and media rich and I have embedded my before and after presentations below for all to see. Along with my new presentation I will need to have a handout with instructions for the interactive part of the presentation.


Although I will still need to have the Math problems my audience will be working with on the board, I’ve tried my best to have the minimum amount of text on each slide as possible. This was the biggest challenge for me with the project because what ‘Presentation Zen’ is saying about “using the slides to visually support my message”. In this case, this presentation strategy somewhat conflicts with what some might say is good Math classroom practice by having the problems visual and clear in the class at all times. However, after putting some time and thought into the presentation I am seeing that this more doable than I originally thought and I am actually quite pleased with my attempt. I think it is actually even adding to the simplicity of the problem. What I didn’t find as challenging and what I am seeing is almost enlightening is how fun and sensible is was to use images with one or two words to present the content and I am actually looking forward to my first attempt at using this type of presentation for the first time. Another part of creating this presentation that I enjoyed was using some photos and videos from my own classroom. I’m hoping this will help give my audience a visual that shows a clear and simple way of how the process works for me to make sure my message is consistent with how I am applying this method.


Another presentation strategy I will be attempting during my presentation, comes from a colleague of mine, Miriam, who discussed an idea from a ‘Presentation Zen article’ by Garr Reynolds, where adding “play” or humor to your presentation is another great strategy to promote creativity and engage the audience. I found that using imagery to stimulate this idea is a helpful and easy way to do it. I am looking forward to using this presentation on April 3rd. Also, a little nervous since I will be stepping out of my comfort zone on such a big stage.

New Presentation:

Statistically the Infographic will Probability work!


For this week’s CoETAIL assignment, I will be building off of what I discussed in my previous post. I will be using an infographic to model for students how to use one to present information in a clear, visually appealing and informative way. For our last Math unit this school year we will be exploring Statistics and Probability with one of the focuses being to ‘Investigate chance processes and develop, use, and evaluate probability models’. Here is the page that goes into more depth about the Common Core Standards we will be addressing. As part of their investigation, students will be able to develop an infographic model, use it to discuss their findings and they will also be able to evaluate the clarity of each other’s infographics. I know, I know, by having them all do infographics I am limiting choice, but I think that’s okay for this little experiment.

Usually for this unit, students are encouraged to graph their data in order to clearly display results. This is the purpose of using bar graph, pie charts, etc… However, after stumbling upon this great example of an infographic I found online titled ‘Thirteen Reasons Why your Brain Craves Infographics’, I think the infographic will be able to achieve this and much more. The information in this infographic shows that 70% of our sensory receptors are in our eyes and that 50% of our brain is visual processing. It also suggests that it takes less than a second for us to process a meaning to a visual. The infographic continues by showing us that infographics are more engaging, more accessible and easier to recall. If this is the case, I am hoping to see a lot of great information presented in a different, yet more informative way.

The infographic I will use to introduce the project to the students is below. I chose it because most students will be able to make a connection with cards and many most likely poker.  The infographic will trigger mathematical discussion about why there is certain percentages associated with different hands. This will also be a great way for students to go further into the discussion by presenting percentages and odds for other scenarios involving cards. There are many more examples I will use to show different ways to design infographics. I found that Good Magazine had some choices that will be helpful for my students when brainstorming different options.
In order for students to be able to create their own infographics, I am hoping that we can have some tech assistance in this area and I will need to find out more because this is another situation where time can be an issue. However, to get started, I was able to find a couple of excellent resources in the course reading section for this week.The ones I felt would be good to start with are and because they both see very easy to use and they both come with templates that the students would be able to use to help them get started. Once again, I am looking forward to seeing how this all transpires!

Learn Smarter not Harder

The metaphor used in the article, Towards a Framework for Visual Literacy Learning, about how ear to brain being dial up and eye to brain being broadband is a great way to summarize what I have been learning in this course so far. It also discusses that we have to teach our students the power of visuals and the best way to do that is by modelling it in our classrooms ourselves. I have mentioned on a previous post that a current goal of mine is to increase the amount of visuals in my classroom and actually use data to try and identify a result and I think ‘digital storytelling’ will be able to take this idea to the next level.



Recently in my classroom, my students have been creating and using presentations on different systems of the human body and it has been very interesting for me to see their final products. One of the focuses of the assignment was the visual aspect of their presentation and I feel they did quite well with it. With a lot of feedback and guidance the students were able to find visuals that were quite clear and helpful. However, the amount of wording on the presentations was still a little much and I was also able to have a better perspective on how unuseful it was. They were also unsure how to use the visual as a powerful discussion point, which was also more clear to me as an outsider and CoeTailer. In my opinion, the students are creating their presentations based on the presentations being put forth to them by adults and I believe that when we begin using presentation zen ideas as a guide along with digital storytelling, we will see our students doing the same things.

There are many websites out there that we have access to that do a fantastic job using digital storytelling to present information as a hook to engage students and leave them with a sense of new knowledge after just a few minutes of their attention. Brainpop is a great example of digital storytelling at its best. This is a resource that could be considered almost overused by teachers, but there are not many other resources on the internet that can be so visually and auditorily clear, in such a short amount of time. TED Ed is another example of a digital storytelling resource that can be used to hook the students and give them clear explanations of information. Here is an example of an animated clip that a group of my students showed to help the class visualize the general overview of the respiratory system. Really, it was all they needed to present, it’s so clear and and the story part enables the information to stick. Where can I find the software to create something like this? Watching this is proof itself that strong visuals and storytelling works.
Digital storytelling could be used and is used in my classroom in Math and Science in many ways. One way is by doing what I mentioned above as simple hooks and effective learning tools. Also, I have really pushed this in my Math class is by increasing the amount of problem based learning along with the use of  visual representation. Here an example of a story problem presented to the class. After we have time to read through it, the students are to create a visual representation of the problem, attempt to solve using their visual and an algebraic expression or equation, then collaborate with others in their group to share and discuss their visuals and solutions. After we do this, we then have a class share out. This is an example I feel models only the very beginnings of how I could use storytelling in class, since this process is missing a lot of the digital part we need to be striving towards. I am starting to imagine almost like an updated Bill Nye style of students presenting a digital story about how the solved a math problem using the tools they have and need. After looking at some great resources like, ‘How to Create a Digital Story’ and ‘How to Create Simple Digital Stories’, I see how we have access to some tools to help get us started towards our own digital stories,. I see a big problem with this though because of how time consuming it could be and how much curriculum Math teachers are expected to get through. Hmmm … are we teaching our students how to create digital stories in tech class? And, what kind of digital storytelling software can we get our hands on?

I think I need a Visual Makeover

This week’s assignment comes with great timing, since I am at the beginning process of reexamining a presentation I did during a professional learning day at my school that will be further on display at the annual NESA spring conference at the beginning of April. This will be my biggest stage yet as a presenter, so this week’s course materials have been very helpful and I have been able gather many ideas to help me improve it. I especially enjoyed looking through ‘Kim’s, Making a Lasting Impact presentation’ and was able to take away a few ideas that not only will help me improve my presentation, but also what I need to be thinking about while creating a presentation. For example, I need to remember who my audience is and make sure I am creating a presentation that will engage them specifically. I feel that my session will be engaging to those who enjoy Math, but my presentation itself needs a lot of work. What I will be focusing on are these four items from Kim’s presentation; clear and consistent, creative, simple, and media rich. I think all of the ideas presented are very helpful, but I will start with these items to begin my focus on presentation zen. Also, I feel at this point, my presentation already has the engaging components I am looking for, since the audience will be interacting with the content of the presentation by solving fun and interesting Math problems. I think the topic is quite relevant too, since it will be most likely Math teachers at my presentation looking for ideas on how to increase pedagogy in their classroom.

In combination with these items I will attempting to include the ideas from this ‘What is Good Presentation Design?’ article to help guide the purpose of using the ideas throughout my presentation. What I found most important when reading through this article was, not only the selection of visuals, but the placement of the visuals themselves. The article states that when this is considered, it will allow the context to become more ‘appropriate’ for the target audience. This also lends itself to the idea of ‘simple’ where the more appropriate the visual and context, the greater clarity the message gained from the presentation.


How I will further the improvements in my presentation, I will be giving a ‘visual makeover’ which will help me with my goals if being creative and media rich. By looking at many of the before and after sides on the article hyperlinked above, I was able to get a much stronger idea of how I can add a lot of appropriate media in a very simple way that I feel will definitely enhance the creativity and audience engagement of my presentation.
Below is my presentation that I will be improving. It is also what I will be using for my final project for this course. I look forward to sharing my new and improved presentation.