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Author Topic: Tips on how to improve presentations and speed up making them  (Read 5329 times)
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« on: April 23, 2009, 04:10:52 PM »

For those who might want em, here are some tips about how to improve presentations and speed up your production of them.  I just decided to sit down and write these out, for purely selfish reasons: if you're more efficient and happy at making presentations I like, then I will have more good presentations to show to my own little boy.   big grin

o  First things first: did you know that, for most pictures you see online, you can right-click (in Windows), select copy, and then paste (Ctrl-V) the picture right into Powerpoint?  I figure most people reading this know that, but...just in case...

Google Image Search is your friend.  You can usually find an exactly-right picture for your purposes there.  Try different ways to word your search.  Don't go through too many pages--more than three, try a different wording for your search.  If you need a big version of an image, notice that you can get bigger versions using the "Large" selection next to "Images Showing:" near the top of the search results page.  Blowing up thumbnail-sized images might reduce the size of the file, but your kid and I would rather have a 5000K file with great pictures than a 500K file with blurry pictures.

o  Begin by writing a script, then look for one picture per sentence (or word if you're doing a baby presentation).  But if you have trouble finding a picture that illustrates exactly what you want to illustrate, do consider rewording, or just deleting, the sentence!

o  There is a special knack to finding the best wording-picture combination to illustrate really abstract things.  Usually, you use an example of the abstract thing.  The trick here is to be creative in thinking of what phrase to search Google Images for.  I recently posted a "Politeness" presentation and was confused for instance about what to put with "Can I have some please?"  I just typed in that exact phrase and up popped the picture of the dog that goes on that slide.  But you could, if you wanted to, think in advance that a hungry dog begging would be a good illustration of "Can I have some please?" and then search for "hungry dog" or "dog begging".  In other words, think in advance of what would illustrate your words, and then word your search so that that sort of image comes up.

o  Once you get good at finding appropriate pictures, remember: more (appropriate!) pictures is better!  A picture helps a kid to understand the meaning of words.  Please don't use more than two sentences per picture, and 90% of the time you should use one sentence, or less!, per picture.

o  Sometimes, but only sometimes, Microsoft will have some clip art that is better than what you can find in Google Image Search.  Flickr is also a great site but it's hit and miss on a lot of topics, so I just stick with Google for the most part.

o  If you are spending many hours making Powerpoint presentations, it might be worthwhile to take a few of those hours simply learning the program better.  One thing you should figure out how to use are View > Master > Slide Master.  Also, Slide Show > Record Narration > Change Quality > Name=Telephone Quality.  Also, F5.  Also, arrow keys, Ctrl-Home, and Ctrl-End.

o  Distorted pictures (usually, ones that are made too wide) are very annoying.  I think what happens is that you paste a picture onto a slide and it fills up the text area, which has the wrong dimensions.  Well, please note that in Powerpoint, you can delete, resize, and move all the text areas.  You can also copy them and all their contents.  They can mess up what you're doing, so if they distort your picture, delete 'em, or select a different part of the window.

o  For that matter, learn some handy Windows shortcuts, if you haven't already.  I am constantly using Ctrl-X (cut), Ctrl-C (copy), Ctrl-V (paste), Ctrl-Z (redo/undelete), Ctrl-Y (do that last thing again).  Also, Alt-Tab to cycle through open windows.  These are huge time savers.  To change font size in any Windows program, select the text, then hit Ctrl-Shift-> and Ctrl-Shift-<  To make a hyperlink, select the text you want to link, then press Ctrl-K.  (Note, you can link to YouTube videos, web pages, and also files on your own computer.)

o  Sometimes, it really helps to have an animated picture, which is different from a video.  Consider that.  To find an animated picture, type "[search terms] animated gif" into Google Image Search.  You can also find animated gif repositories, and they can help sometimes, but I haven't generally found them to be better than just using Google Search.

o  My little boy loves links to appropriate YouTube videos...

o  It can help to write the script like a poem (not with a poetic style, but with the appearance of free verse) in Word.  Write out the script one line per page.  Make sure the script is the only thing on the page.  Then, in Powerpoint, use Insert > Slides from Outline.  Then, on your new presentation, select the "Outline" tab (upper left).  Select the text of any slide there and press Ctrl-A.  Then Ctrl-I (to make non-italic) and Ctrl-B (to make non-bold).

o  Did you know about that Outline view?  Yep, it's very handy if you just want to edit the text.  You can write a script there, too.  I do that sometimes, and then find pix later.  Did you also know that you can change the slide layout of all slides at once?  Make sure View > Task Pane is checked, then, in the task pane (on the right) select "Slide Layout" if it isn't already appearing.  Back in the Outline view, do the Ctrl-A trick to select all slides, then you can change the layout of any number of slides.

o  If you have taken a lot of pix yourself and you want to make a slideshow out of them, as I've done for my boy (I have a half-dozen "personal" presentations I can't post, made out of pictures I've taken), look into Insert > Picture > New Photo Album.  Sure beats inserting the pictures one at a time, and even beats dragging them one-at-a-time.

Now for some bossy-sounding requests....

o  Please put periods at the end of sentences.

o  Please write full grammatical sentences.  Not "Dog is barking" but "The dog is barking."

o  Please spell check if you're not sure of your spelling.

o  Why do some people use text objects when regular text would do?  I wish you wouldn't do that.  I don't know how to edit your text object Sad and, uh...I want to edit your text. rolleyes

o When you upload your presentation, please make sure the sound files are included and aren't just links to things you have on your computer.  Then we won't be able to hear the sounds on those slides...

o I have a modest suggestion.  If you don't know, don't care, and never will know some information that you want to present to your baby or toddler, well um...why are you doing that?  Why does your baby need to know that particular butterfly when you don't know or care, in your heart of hearts, about what kind of butterfly it is?  Similarly with all sorts of other trivia.  There is so much non-trivia that you can introduce, just or almost as easily, that it's really kind of a waste of time to talk about, to take another example, state birds.  As for memorizing all the capitals in the world--well, let's just say that I think I'm a pretty smart, well-educated person, and I definitely don't know all the world capitals.  The time you spend learning the capitals of Burundi or Bhutan, or Praseodymium, Terbium, or Yttrium, is time you could be spending learning stuff that any educated person ought to know (not just chemists).  There, I've gotten that off my chest...  blush


Larry Sanger -
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2009, 05:38:44 PM »

Sounds like great ideas. What is a text object so I know if I'm doing that or not. I like to be able to edit files myself as well.


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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009, 05:42:42 PM »

If the text is a picture, and can't be edited just by clicking on it, like ordinary text...that's what I mean by "text object."


Larry Sanger -
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 05:45:28 PM »

Another question for you. How do you choose what information to include on a bits of intelligence card? I went from putting one word (labels) on my pages to adding so much info I'm not sure how I would introduce that.

Please see my African Savanna animals for an example.


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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009, 06:40:44 PM »

Hi Stacey, IMO the best info to include is whatever seems, based on your education, common sense, or personal judgment, to be most important.  Since you don't have a biologist to consult (I assume), you gotta use your own head.

If you want to follow the Doman method, the encyclopedic knowledge book explains about how to do programs of intelligence.

If you happen to want to make presentations like mine, see this thread.

How to edit your African Savanna Animals presentation depends on how you use it.  I personally like to show to my boy every piece of text that I read to him.  Since I wouldn't be reading that complicated biologist-talk to my 2-year-old, I'd move the text to the end.  The animal names + pictures are what you'd be showing to the kid, to begin with, anyway.

But once your kid has learned the names of all these animals, what do you do?  You could expand the presentation with more info about each animal.  But really, this would mean making new mine.  big grin  I would put a sentence (or part of a sentence) on a slide, either a separate slide (with a full-sized pic on the next slide), or above a picture.  As to what text I'd use, it depends on the animal.  For elephant you have "The elephant is the largest living species of land animal."  That's good, but "species" and "land animal" haven't been introduced to your 1-year-old, have they?  And "living species" is even more complicated to explain.  Then I'd say: "The African elephant (it's that particular one--kids are good with specificity like this) is the biggest animal on land."  The picture that goes with it?  A picture showing an elephant next to a variety of other animals.  To find that, search Google Images for variants on "elephant size comparison", try "animal size comparison chart"...if you don't like any of those (remember, you can crop pictures to get what you need), then just search for "man riding elephant".

It all depends on what the theme of the presentation is.  If it's just about elephants, then I might get into more detail.  If it's animals of the African savannah and all or most of the animals you have covered there are included, then only a few "illustrated facts" would fit in, unless you split it into parts (which is what I've done, e.g., with Space 1-4 and other multi-part presentations).

...OK now I've got to get to work!  smile


Larry Sanger -
How and Why I Taught My Toddler to Read:
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We are enjoying the BK Math, reading and music.

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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 07:51:09 PM »

Excellent information thank you. I was rather overwhelmed by how I would present that information. Thank you for simplifying my over zealous brain. I love how you have made your presentations and will follow suit.


mom to kyle23, Kayli20, Thomas14 and Brynn5.
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