The Zen of Cutting Paper Published 2009-03-25 under ,

peace Given the choice of clip art or scissors with construction paper, which would you choose to create your next presentation? Read on to hear the story of one presentation where this technologist decided to go "unplug".

You are asked to create a presentation on 21st Century Skills to be given to the school board next week. Your first step ... sit down at the computer, fire up PowerPoint or Keynote and get stared! OK, we are educators. We know that this approach is a bit hasty. We need a plan.

Being the presentation guru, you outline the goals of the presentation and key points that you want to convey to your audience. You then outline the approach - decide what you are going to say. Finally you think about the content remembering that each slide (the visuals) should enhance what you are saying.

After you have the plan, you return to your computer and begin crafting the presentation. This is where I took a different path in a recent presentation. Normally I follow my traditional method - opening Fireworks, developing a visual template, and filling each page/slide with text/images according to my outline. [note: I use Fireworks instead of Powerpoint as it gives me better control and more options. When done, I usually output the file as a PDF.]

This time, I took a few of my daughter's coloring books (with permission of course) and found images consistent with my plan. I cut these images out and glued them to pieces of large construction paper. The process of cutting and gluing was much more satisfactory than moving the mouse around the screen. It also allowed me to enlist the help of my daughter - her condition for using her coloring book. I had a great time working with her and the end product was unique. The presentation went over really well and they all loved my "mystery slide" that I through in. It was the page Ruby constructed on her own with her favorite pictures. While it did not tie directly into the topic, it was a source for humor as the audience tried to guess its relevance.

The next time you give a presentation, or better yet, you assign your kids to create a Powerpoint, consider the low tech solution. We did this in a recent tech ed forum and the results were fantastic.