Prezi.com once again held a contest for classroom presentations. The results are encouraging – teachers are improving the way they present material to their classes. But it doesn't require special software or fancy zooms to improve your lecture slides. It simply requires an age old tactic of tapping into your students' emotions.
The winner this year was a deeply philosophical lesson by Mr. Adam Griffin. He discusses the morality of choice in a way that any college student in Philosophy 101 will be familiar with, but he also uses a novel tactic to grab his students' attention.
View it below:
I commend Mr. Griffin for such a fabulous slideshow and recommend Prezi as a great tool for certain lessons. But the reason this presentation is so powerful has nothing to do with the tool that was used or the way it was designed. It has everything to do with the fact that it employed a compelling story. A similar result could have been achieved with PowerPoint, Keynote, OpenOffice, SlideRocket, a DVD player, or even a reel to reel projector!
Our brains are wired to pay attention to emotional stories, not bullet-points. They can be in the form of a movie clip, a radio segment, a joke, or even a compelling photograph. This is why students will fall asleep 20 minutes into a lecture, but stay awake and engaged through 3 hour movie.
So rather than beginning your lecture with a series of 'umms' and 'ahhs' whilst hooking up your laptop and projector, take a cue from great productions like Saturday Night Live and get everything ready ahead of time for a well-planned cold opening that will grab their attention and prime their minds for the lecture you will give.