Finding the Power, Finding the Point: Using Technology for Engagement & Retention

Presenter:  Mike Robertson, IsThisMikeOn?

One of Mike’s favorite quotes is:  “Life is a Banquet, and Most Poor Suckers are Starving to Death”

Technology is ubiquitous, it’s the first thing and last things most of us touch every single day.  We often treat tech like a light switch or a button that’s either on or off.  However, it’s a tool.  A tool is something we can use to make our lives better!  Tech can bring light, yes…but it can also bring enlightenment.

Edison invented the motion picture, but didn’t see the value of it.  Hollywood exists because people didn’t want to pay Edison royalties for using his technology.

Mark Twain:  “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.”

We’re in the business of transmitting enlightenment.  Presentation is supremely important:  PowerPoint is an unfortunate software title.  Most presentations don’t stick or engage because most of them have no power and no point!  Your presentations should be used to convey deep meaning and be beautiful.

Get with the program!

  • Delve into your presentation program and learn everything about it
  • Try setting animation and transition effects at their longest intervals to make slides memorable
  • Use good fonts, NOT ALL OF THEM.  Fonts should support the meaning you’re trying to convey.
  • All caps is good for just a few words; lower case is easier to interpret
  • Never use all caps with a script or calligraphy font
  • Bump up the contrast
  • Shared a type masking technique
  • Backgrounds:  do Google search for textures, i.e. rust, cork, moss, aluminum, concrete, wood, etc.  Example:  felt background with billiard balls as bullets.  This is memorable!
  • Use layers creatively
  • Use frames to highlight important things and focus attention (TCM billboard, yellow bricks for a Wizard of Oz presentation, M&Ms, add link to your web site, etc.)
  • Make your slides work for you

The Really Cool Stuff

  • Animation with .gif files:  changing backgrounds
  • Monty Python pointing finger
  • Stand in a white circle on a black background as a spotlight
  • Smack the screen and use letter dropping animation (timing is important!) to simulate physical interaction with your slides
  • Play with color saturation

QUOTE:  don’t show your audience a wall of text, show them a brick and teach them to build a wall

Make your slides echo your voice.


By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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