Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chapter 9--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 9

Tapping to Emotions

According to the author, Dr. Burmark, emotions stick. She mentions that according to Seth-Godin presentations are about "the transfer of emotion". In an example of a research project involving the Save the Children foundation, participant responded better to emotions than they did to hard facts. She presents the case of Dave Carroll's whose guitar was destroyed but not repaid for by United Airlines. Dave tried the traditional methods of writing letters to the company to no avail. His next approach was to come up with a funny song and put a video of it on Youtube in which he expressed his frustration; it worked as United Airlines changed its stance on the issue and paid attention to Dave's demands. The author cites this story to point out that we as presenters need to remember that citing statics and facts is not always the best approach. She then follows by stating the somewhat obvious that children from violent households have more academic difficulties than those without them. She recommends activities in which you as the teacher, encourage students to come up with images that represent emotions; she confesses that for her love was the image of a flower with dewdrops. She finishes her chapter by reminding us the readers that emotions stick and that this should not only be considered when selecting the words used in a presentation but also, or perhaps more importantly, the music and images that we choose, recommending in the process to surround ourselves with positive, healing words so that our audiences can take with them.

Chapter 8--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 8

Playing Music

Chapter 8 is an argument to the many benefits of incorporating music to your presentations. Images and music just work well together according to Dr. Burmark, which cites for instance that all successful movies and tv shows incorporate music. This is so because according to professor Norman Weinberger "[music is necessary] to supply the actual emotional states and feelings [the audience needs] to identify with [the action] and the characters involved." According to the author one of the many benefits of music is that it rarely "elicits a push-back response", unlike for instance a laugh-track in a sitcom. According to the Dr. Burmark, her music changes with her presentations to match their content, and for this reason she really has no theme song for her persona. She also warns about the power of music recommending it to use it wisely and not too rely so heavily on it that the content of your story actually depreciates. Interestingly the author points out that researchers have found that music is not only identified correctly with a particular mood or emotion, but that subjects of these studies have reacted physiologically according to the music's mood. All of this is presented to argue about selecting "positive music"; to select music intentionally. After devoting a good part of this chapter to the emotional effects that music can have (whether positive or negative), the author then continues to talk about the possible effects that music can have in improving test scores. On the subject she states that the following 3 components must happen in order for music to have a positive impact: 1) the music played while taking a test must be the same that was played when the learning happened; 2) the tempo must be the same; 3) it is beneficial if the music mood matches the topic learned.
Dr. Burmark finishes the chapter by reminding us readers that the music doesn't always have to come from us instructors/presenters. She recommends giving students opportunities to share their music collections when appropriate and evaluating their learning through musical means, such as singing about a chapter they read, for instance. And finally, she asks us readers to keep an eye for those individuals with atypical high interest and talents in music.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Copyright Crash Course v4

Chapter 6--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 6

Harnessing humor

This chapter highlights the importance of humor to deliver our content as either educational presenters or educators. Effective humor can be achieved, according to the author, by the following: recognizing and promoting neoteny in one's self, having an element of surprise in our delivery of humor, historical perspective (as in "someday you will think this is funny"). Dr. Burmark then continues to define humor into 3 components that she describes as Wit, Mirth, and Laughter. Wit is defined as the cognitive component; the one that "gets it". Mirth, in turn, is defined as the emotional response to humor; how it uplifts our spirits and allow us to forget our negative feelings. Laughter is simply the physical response to humor; it like dancing to music. But for humor to be effective in delivering content (the ultimate goal of educators) two things must happen. First, you as a presenter need to get you audience's attention. Second, you need to connect your humor to your content. Dr. Burmark remarks that one must know as a presenter that our main job is to deliver content. She then proceeds encouraging the reader to keep an open eye and capture humorous images to be used later in presentations. She continues by reminding the reader that many image sites, such as Flickr, also have video libraries. She finishes her chapter by absolutely endorsing humor as a way for content "to stick".
This was a fairly simple chapter with less content than the previous chapter. I guess that was her way of following chapter 5 which had much more content. I happen to agree with almost everything that Dr. Burmark states. To me it is self-evident, but I like the fact that she highlights the importance of adhering content to humor

Chapter 5--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 5

Making Connections

This chapter makes a case for the necessity to teach concretes as a

foundation for more abstract. According to the author, Dr. Burmark, it is

extremely important for the presenter to establish the context for the rest

rest of the presentation, so that the audience has an idea of what to expect.

The chapter then proceeds into underlining the importance of building on your

audience's prior knowledge.The author then recommends exercises like

"what do these clouds look like" when time is not as limited, or humor with

recall and provides examples to illustrate. She cites John Medina stating

that the brain wants to know "where have I seen this before?" Dr. Burmark

continues by making an interesting remark stating that the negative word

"prejudice" shouldn't be negative all of the time; stating that it is only through

prejudging that we are able to evaluate into predetermined categories the

enormous amount of information that our senses bring to us. Dr. Burmark

follows by introducing the concept of 10:2 in which after 10 minutes of

class or presentation, the presenter allows for 2 minutes of peer

discussion what has just been learned. This she states is consistent with

John Medina's findings that the brain tune out after 10 continuous

minutes of listening. She highly recommend doing this for both

presenters and educators alike. The chapter follows with a case

supporting knowing and calling each student with by his first name. This

she states fosters a climate of belonging. She uses this topic to present

the web-based tool Wordle which arranges words into attractive posters

out of plain lists. The chapter continues by stating the importance of

proximity with your audience; getting them close and avoiding lecterns

that serve as symbols of separation. Dr. Burmark warns about dialectical

problems that your presentations can bring, so she recommends to always

consider that and try to connect to your audience by preparing for such issues.

She finishes the chapter by highlighting the importance of humor to connect.

Some of it can be planned, she states, but a lot of it is circumstantial.

This chapter highlights what every educator should know. That is build

on previous knowledge, make your environment an inviting one by making

your students feel they belong there, eliminate barriers that separate your

from your audience, and use humor when appropriate. I found the 10:2 both

new and interesting. It makes sense that it should work but it needs to be

implemented consistently.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chapter 4--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 4

Ringing CHIMES2

This chapters starts off by recognizing that time is limited and the

curriculum to cover is so vast. Dr. Burmark interestingly cites some

authors to point out that if we as educators were to cover all the standards

then we will have to have K-22. In short, the author states that we need to

be efficient and effective as educating presenters. According to her, to be

effective we need to accomplish the following: 1) get our students' attention

and 2) make the presentation stick. These are by no means easy to achieve

in an age where distraction reigns. Humorously she recounts a time where

perhaps she attracted way too much attention by the way she dressed, stating

that the point is to attract not distract. Dr. Burmark then introduces

CHIMES2, as an acronym that stands for Connections, Humor, Images, Music,

Emotion, Story, and Senses. These items, when used appropriately, should help

us to keep our audience's attention. She invites readers to look at these

and analyze where our strengths reside and where we need to improve.

This chapter made me realized that I have some very natural attributes

to be an effective presenter: Humor and Connection (at least that's what I been

told). Yet, when it comes to Emotion or connecting to various Senses, I could

definitely improve.

Chapter 3--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 3

Celebrating Presenters

This chapter deals describes the strengths and weaknesses of the

types of presenters that it also identifies.

This chapter starts humorously by reminding us of dull presentations

where the so-called presenter is just reciting instructions to an audience

that is completely disengaged. This type of presenter is identified here as

the lecturer. But Dr. Burmark reminds us that lecturers don't always are

boring citing Rev. Billy Graham as an example of an engaging lecturer.

The second type of presenter is the entertainer. Which, according to the

author, their performances result in a sort of escapism in which thought

activity becomes suspended. In general the entertainer does not get an

opportunity to get to know his audience as individuals. The third type of

presenter is the motivational speaker which mostly inspires and could

have, some sort of short or long term influence on his audiences. The author

then proposes that the fourth type of presenter, the educator, should ideally

possess all the strengths of the 3 above mentioned presenters. An educator

must present content in a way that allows his audience to be able to then

take it into new situations and people. Dr. Burmark then celebrates Steve

Jobs's great qualities as a presenter and urges us to attempt to be like him

by proving "10 tips from Steve Jobs" pointing out that #1 (have fun) and #10

(present what you love) are the most important. She ends the chapter by

recognizing that the audience's interests affect the presenter's success,

suggesting ideas to try to incorporate the audiences interests and learning


I have no disagreements with this chapter. I find the 10 tips from Steve

Jobs, particularly helpful, being the mac fanboy that I admittedly am. I also

highly value the suggestions to try to make our presentations fit the learning

styles and interests of our audiences.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Here is my week 3 edited copyright presentation

Chapter 2--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 2

Creating slides and handouts

You really have very little time to capture your audience's

attention. This should be easy enough by adding comedy and

silliness to your introduction. The problem for educators is how to add

simultaneously a bit of serious information. Dr. Burmark prescribes

that in order to do this you must stay away from the standard

procedure which includes: 1) The presenter creates a series of slides with

bulleted text; 2) The software automatically transforms the slide into

handouts; and 3) The presenter reads the slides to the audience. She states

that essentially these are all 3 slightly version of the same text information.

Dr. Burmark then organizes the chapter by first concentrating on what should

go on the slides. She believes that the best way is to present images on the

slides and to talk about it so that you you deliver the information through both

the visual and the auditory channel. This leaves the handouts to handle black-

and-white text. She endorses giving your audience a black-and-white sheet,

printed on both sides, in which your audience use as a guide to follow you,

and decide what is important to them, but also given them a URL where

they can get more information on the topics and subjects that you are

discussing in your presentation. She also recommends a policy of No

Electronic Devices during your actual presentation, even though there

is evidence that perhaps newer generations are getting better at multi-

tasking; something she seems extremely skeptical of. She finishes the

chapter by stressing the importance that words are meaningless unless

your audience knows what you are referring to. So thus the importance

of images. At this point she also gives her approving opinion towards a

shift towards what the audience gains as opposed to the expertise and

knowledge of the presenter.

I found Chapter 2 to possess new, useful information

for me. I have never even conceived that slides and handouts could

and should be different; not just regurgitating the same information. In

fact, I highly agree with this concept. I just want to remind myself that

these are recommendations that Dr. Burmark puts forward because

in her informed opinion they will work for the majority of audience

members. In other words, there are exceptions, and I suspect that one

will find those students who are very visual and word-driven. Or

what about those that can completely disconnect to the visual cues of a

presentation and actually pay attention to the words coming out of

the presenter's mouth?

Chapter 1--They Snooze, You Lose_Synopsis

Chapter 1

Tweaking Presentations

This chapter begins by relating to the reader the horrifying

experience that it is to sit through your typical Powerpoint

presentation. Having that as a starting point, Dr. Lynell Burmark, then begins

by giving the reader a set of clues that, she assures, will dramatically improve

the look and effectiveness of any presentation. She begins by stating, (rightly so

in my opinion), that backgrounds should not compete with the content; that

they serve as a surface to place elements. It is here that she points out the

importance of color as they increase reading comprehension and learning in

general. But she points out that color that distracts is worse than no color at,

adding also that color should not offend your audience (imagine presenting to

a group of Aggies using white and orange as your theme colors) get the

point. Dr. Burmark interestingly points out that the average slide contains forty

words, hinting that these maybe way too many for your slide to be effective in

delivering information. She points out that an effective slide should be able to

deliver its content within 3 seconds, just like a billboard on the highway. Dr.

Burmark process into some typographical tips such as recommending to use

widely kerned fonts, such as Georgia and Verdana, the use of lowercase, and

varying the leading (space between the lines) as it improves legibility and gives

your audience visual tips on what's more important. She finishes the chapter

by stating that Helvetica should be avoided unless you want to be confused

with the IRS, and that as a rule of thumb you should not have more than two

typefaces on one slide.

I agreed more than disagreed with what Dr. Burmark presented

in this first chapter. I can totally identify with what I snobbishly

consider a lack of taste and minimalistic presentation. We as presenters

need to become better at organizing information to make it visually

attractive to our audience; I couldn't agree more with Dr. Burmark

on this point. Yet, being admittedly a Helvetica fanatic, I don't agree

with her IRS-ish views on the font. But I am not surprised either. As

seen on the documentary Helvetica one can see that this font is a world

of controversy in the typographical world, apparently having its fanboys

and haters at each others' throat.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Here is my Copyright Crash Course presentation on Slideshare

Copyright Crash Course

My experiences for this presentation were a sort of a rude awakening to the realities of academia. I have been so far away from the realm of studies that I have forgotten how time consuming these can be. Nonetheless I welcome them for they are reigniting in me a passion for search and to dive into subjects and readings almost compulsively.
I have long been aware of copyright issues as I follow blogs and podcast that at times deal with them. What I wasn't aware of was the details on what's permitted and what's not, the great options that we have as educators, and the always present risk that nothing is for certain...that nothing substitutes good judgment and common sense.