The Zen Path 2 Teaching Presentations

3 Feb

Slide1We live in an age of visual information where graphic content plays a role in every part of life and where approximately sixty five percent of the population is made up of individuals who learn best visually. As teachers, we are made aware and often reminded of that fact. Visuals, we are told, improve comprehension, motivate learners, and invite interactivity. Research supports this assertion. Studies show that one of the easiest ways to ensure that learners store information in their long-term memory is to pair concepts with meaningful images. Using visuals in teaching is therefore fundamental to engaging students in successful learning experiences.

Hence, it is no surprise that presentation software applications such as PowerPoint have become an embedded part of many instructional settings, both online and face-to-face. When used effectively, PowerPoint can be a highly effective tool that aids learning; however, if not used appropriately, it can instead disengage students and actually hinder learning.

This week I will be presenting at the Tech4Teach Fair at Appalachian State University on the subject of presentation tools in instruction where I will outline the advantages of using visuals in teaching and the basic Zen design principles:


When using slides in teaching, it is imperative that you remember that your slides are meant to support your lesson. Using keywords will engage your learners and initiate dialogue. Tell a story, and then support it with a quote, a metaphor, or a simile. Contextualize your teaching concepts and use visuals to support your text. Using powerful images will not only ensure that retention is increased but it can support and illustrate your teaching points.

Zen Design is the simple action of simplifying your presentation in order to capture and communicate what truly matters. It is a principal that can be applied to every aspect of teaching and learning, creating focus and clarity into the life of the learners of today and the teachers of tomorrow.

Check out Zen Design author Garr Reynold’s  blog where you can find presentation tips and a number of resources on the art of Zen Design.

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