Even with a whopping 58 students in the class, the spring semester has flown by. Since we like to elicit a lot of participation from the student, facilitate a lot of group activities, get the students moving around, and playing around with different learn space set ups, an increased class size, in a room with auditorium style fixed seating, made for some teaching and facilitation challenges. But my dad and I made the necessary adjustments and, as far as I can say, had a good time working, yet again, with another group of AU students.
As we’ve done in the past, we ended the semester with students working in teams to design a education/training program that seeks to address one of many development challenges facing the finctional country of Afrinia. The teams then present their program to the rest of the class, specifically addressing questions related to the major themes and concepts covered during the semester. We did a little something different this year, however, with the presentations – we asked each team to put together a pecha-kucha presentation.
What’s a pecha-kucha, you might ask? It is a specific style and format of power point presentation that consists of 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, run automatically. Hence your points must be brief (no reading straight text from the slide), your timing must be exact (no going off on rambling side points), and your presentation must be succinct (no going over on time).
Pecha-kucha means, “chatter” or “the sound of conversation” in Japanese. These kinds of presentation were first made famous by a group of architects in Japan who would get together to share their design work, and to ensure that each person was brief, to the point, and focused, the created this 20×20 format. Only allowing 20 seconds per slide also taps into studies that have shown that the human attention span to focus on a single point, photo, etc. rarely goes beyond 20 seconds until they begin to tune out and are looking to move on to the next point or image.
This was a little added challenge for the students, but it did ensure, that with teams of 10, that each student would be responsible for 2 slides, and that each presentation was not going to go over 6 minutes and 40 seconds, giving us adequate time to actually engage in conversation about the presentations and enough time to get through all presentations. It also allowed for some structured and guided creativity in how each team developed their power point presentations.