Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pondering the Implications of Presentation Zen in Our School

A four day weekend at this point in the school year has become a real chance to gain some rest and perspective, If you have been here before you can see I even had time to change up the site a little. By the way the picture above is from the California Poppy fields in Antelope Valley.

I have finally gotten around to reading Presentation Zen and I am sorry I had not gotten here sooner! It is not just a good book with good ideas, at least for me, it is life changing. I got about half way through the book before I decided to go back and read it again so I could take notes.

Two things that the book has me pondering right now....

A whole new approach to parent meetings- especially budget meetings. What if instead of graphs and figures I used pictures. Pictures that will create an emotional connection for the parents. So while I am talking about needing funds for the arts, or clubs or???? I play a group of pictures showing their students engaged in these activities. Why didn't I think of that! The boring facts and figures can go in a handout for the end of the meeting!

The other thing is a very different question about creativity and process. In the book he talks about stepping away from the computer and sending time planning in an analog fashion. That I know works for me. Even though I feel guilty about it there are times when a notebook and a pen really works for me. The question all of this raised for me has to do with our students. We are going 1;1 next year in grades 6, 7, and 8. Do these students have the same needs to help them be creative? If so how do we build that in? I know in some 1:1 classrooms , especially those with tablets, you see no paper. What about for students using netbooks, what do they need. A yellow pad and portfolio, a portable at their space white board....

What do you think?


Ed Allen said...

Barbara, I will start by saying that I have read neither book. But now I intend to.

I like the idea of using images to present fund raising initiatives. As Catholic school admins, we are always in search of funding for many things. I think the idea you discuss ties in nicely with Daniel Pink's idea of story. I recently, (well relatively recently) did a blog post called "What's Our Story" ( that discusses how we so infrequently use the power of story.

Your post gives me the idea of using something like animoto to promote our fall chance drive next year.

In terms of analog before digital. That makes sense to me. Ask my secretary how may yellow legal pads I go through in a year. But is that a generational thing? With students who have mobile devices and the web at their fingertips, do they need paper? Maybe, maybe not. The answer may be that some will and some won't.

Barbara said...

Hi Ed!
I agree it may be a generational thing but I am not sure. Presentation Zen applies many of the concepts in Daniel Pink's book...and in fact gives a nice summary. I understand there is a DVD of the book and I think I may get it for the fall in-service because as much as I want everyone to read it I am not sure they will.

Ed Allen said...

Barbara I just saw that DVD on Amazon for pre order. I am definitely going to get it for some potential PD as well as for me.

Charlie Roy said...

@ Barbara
I love the idea of using emotionally packed images instead of charts and figures to make a presentation and case for need. Love the poppy picture. Good luck with the 1:1 I'm curious as to what method of inservice or professional development you've used with your staff to get them ready? We are contemplating a 1:1 in the 2010-2011 school year.

Barbara said...

for stopping by Roy. I am posting later tonight or in the morning a little about our 1:1 program.
We decided to jump in and so we are working it through as we go. Two teachers are out all next week (not and easy feat in the last week of school) for intensive tech training.