Want Great Slides? Peer Edit

As teachers, I think we do a lot wrong when it comes to teaching presentation skills.  We pack slides full of text, expecting a presentation to stand in for a reading assignment; we fail to cite digital images; and we read from our own slides, rather than from presenter notes.  So, when we assign student presentations, we get often suffer a taste of our own medicine: clip art, tacky fonts, illegible slides, and poor speaking technique.

So, for my students’ most recent presentation project, modeled after a TED talk, I took perhaps the most obvious step toward remediating these errors: peer editing our slides. 

Before peer editing, I modeled good and bad slides using one deck,  The Ten Commandments of Presentations, from the team at Haiku Deck, a highly visual presentation app and webtool, and Writing Short, a presentation by Margot Lester

With this inspiration, students headed home to make their rough draft slides.  The following  class meeting, we used this Google form to peer-edit these slides and provide feedback:


And the results were fabulous.  Check out these before-and-after revisions:

Rough Draft

Final Draft

Needless to say, this peer editing step is one that I’ll keep in my presentation curriculum.  Additionally, I look forward to using tools like Haiku Deck to model the types of presentations in my classroom that I’d like to see from my students (and colleagues!).


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