Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

In the first blog post for Course 3 I briefly spoke about working with middle school students who were creating TedTalks and the opportunity I had to teach them about the CARP acronym. For this week’s task, I decided to take that presentation and utilize the resources provided to create version 2.0. But before I dug into the reading, I decided to ask some middle schoolers from last year who had been through my session what they thought of the presentation, or any improvements that should be made.  The most frequent things that I heard, in terms of constructive feedback, were to include more visuals and fewer words. Remember, these were students who had now built their own TedTalks, watched a number of them, presented to parents, and watched their peers present to parents. So needless to say, I was taking their advice to heart!

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Both blog posts from Presentation Zen also impacted my thinking. The first article, 10 Tips for Improving Presentations, really got me thinking about good storytelling when making a presentation. The suggestions to demonstrate some type of conflict in your story and to make your audience feel are important factors. As I thought about teaching students to create powerful TedTalks, these are elements that can make a big difference as they try to pull in their audience. The second resource, What is Good Presentation Design, also provided me with a new perspective. The section on visual makeovers and the before and after pictures, gave me some great ideas for my own presentation to the students. 

Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash

From attending past conferences, especially Learning 2, conferences, I had some ideas as to better my presentation.  At Learning 2 there is a structure where each day starts off with Mini TedTalks. The presenters have 5 minutes to share a message and the visuals that accompany these talks are powerful and poignant. I highly recommend watching some of them here, and paying attention to their visuals while listening to great storytellers.

You can see some of the before and after shots here:


Here are the full links to my presentations:

How to give a TedTalk Version 1.0

How to give a TedTalk Version 2.0

My biggest takeaway from this presentation is that visuals have a big impact. I have always made a point to have eye catching visuals that relate to the message or theme of the presentation, but I would just throw them on a slide, without really thinking through the impact I was hoping to achieve.  This week’s learning has really caused me to think about the size of the image, the placement, the color, and the adjustments that I make to that image (transparency, shadow, etc). These design elements can have a huge impact on what you are saying, and how that information is taken in by the audience, and what they remember once they leave your presentation. This week has been a huge area of growth for me, and I am excited to see what changes others made.

4 thoughts on “Curb Appeal

  1. Hi Ryan,
    I always enjoy reading your blog and this week’s post was no different. I especially love how you are using TedTalks in school with the students and have referred back to the Learning 2 conferences (but really, most edu conferences) as a real-life connection to this type of presentation style because they truly are impactful. This year’s L2Asia conference is just a couple of weeks away and I’m gutted to not be attending.
    One really important thing to note about these talks is the element of good storytelling that happens and how the visuals are in support of that story. As we’ve been learning from the recent COETAIL resources, we need to critically evaluate how the visuals we choose are helping us relate the audience to our stories and have an impact. Have you ever done a Ted-style talk at a conference? If so, how did it go and what might you do differently now that you have more tools and information?


    1. Hi Reyna, I am also really disappointed I won’t be going to Learning 2 this year, Im just too far, LOL! No, I have never done a TedTalk style talk before. Like all of us, I have presented many times and delivered much Professional Learning. But never a TedTalk, this is something that I would love to do as some point in the near future.


  2. Hi Ryan!
    Amazing presentation! You really got the attention and the selection of images really impact. I like the sequence of your narrative from great speakers to how to structure the content with CARP. Once, I have seen a presentation full of images like yours. I can still remember them. I will follow your advice on my future presentations!
    I can also see that you are the main character of the story. The presentation is really your visual-aid. It will be good if you can share it with your students and if you can share with us their feedback. 🙂


    1. Thanks Liliana for the feedback. It is amazing how much visuals of the right kind can really impact a presentation and make it stick with us.


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