Design changes with Purpose

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Never use bullet points? Limit the number of words to seven? Always fill the frame with the image?
No. Ask the kids what works and what doesn't.
A case study of two sets of slides on the same topic but with different purposes

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  • Different presentations have different purposes. “Stand-up” has to be engaging, visually and intellectually. The images have to encourage questions and instigate conversations – a group activity. Online presentations are a halfway house towards a document – i.e. they can carry more text, more content, more graphics, more bullet points. They are created to be read – a solitary activity – researched, and interpreted.
  • But although the vehicles carry similar content, their style and design should be very different.
  • The stand-up first.Gain or drain is a line of questioning which is simpler than advantage or disadvantage and the kids like it.
  • An only child will often have to support two parents and four grandparents.
  • People are better off in China than they have ever been before. Consumerism has arrived – big time.
  • There aren’t many cars in China but things are changing fast.
  • Maybe DINKYs would be more appropriate?
  • Either she had twins or she married a farmer and has since moved to the city. (Or they just paid the fine!) “It is far easier today to evade the family planning officials, as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel from job to job. Second and third children can be seen in the countryside. People are far less afraid of the fines to be paid for extra births and of official retribution.” (Times Sept 25 2010)
  • The better off coastal provinces are now looking at ways of relaxing the one child policy. Indeed Shanghai no longer enforces it.
  • The dream was increasing prosperity through population control. It seems to have come true for many Chinese.
  • The writing is still on the wall but the message is more pragmatic than idealistic. It is all about how people can improve their own environment.
  • The classroom powerpoint sets the scene. Hopefully it starts them thinking but we need to encourage some research and further critical thinking on the subject and we need to know that they have spent some time on this. An individual exercise is ideal. With one screen and only one pair of eyes at close quarters to that screen, the design of the presentation changes. It is still limited by the resolution of the software. Detailed graphs etc are still better as hard copy (or high resolution pdfs). Answers, opinions, comments etc should be written, or at least that option should be given. We don’t give marks for cut and paste, do we? The slides still should provide visual content but there will be a lot more text. If there is an element of revision on the slides then lists and even bullet points can be used. Never listen to the “gurus” – always listen to the kids. Some kids need lists and summaries to survive. We’re putting them through exams as well. The result is a step towards a document design. It has to be.
  • The dream was increasing prosperity through population control. It seems to have come true for many Chinese.
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