Teaching Ignite through examples

I think it's a good idea for students to consider using Ignite for their presentations - if only because it helps them control length and timing - so I encourage them to think about Ignite by delivering two of them: one bad and one (presumably) good.

First I start by showing them some presentations from the Ignite website, particularly the "How and Why You Should Give an Ignite" presentation. Then I deliver the first of my two Ignite presentations. The attached files regarding this presentation - "Ignite Presentation - Jai Alai" and "Ignite - "Jai Alai Notes" - show my attempt at creating a deliberately bad/ineffective Ignite (although I do not tell them that at first). My approach to a bad Ignite involves picking a topic I know nothing about (jai alai, in this case), doing minimal preparation (which you can see from looking at my notes), putting together a visual presentation that has ineffective design, and making a lot of mistakes when delivering my oral presentation (looking at the screen, pausing, getting lost, etc).

Second, I deliver what I consider to be a better Powerpoint, which actually has an argument and attempts to inform about something I know/care about. The files associated with this presentation - "Ignite Presentation - The Fake" and "Ignite - The Fake Notes" - show a higher level of preparation and attention to design. I rehearse this presentation more, include the Ignite "timer" to help with my timing, and do my best to demonstrate the qualities we look for in good speeches. Afterwards, I take them "behind the scenes" and explain the design choices I made (and so on).

There are obviously many ways to organize this: you can deliver the speeches back-to-back and then discsuss the weaknesses and strengths, you can do one at a time and then pause for discussion, you can have students get into groups and respond in that way, etc. In particular, I point out the following weaknesses (that are hopefully corrected in the second Ingite): bad overall slide design, bad visual placement, reusing images to no effect, the amount of text on slides, lack or argument or position, no background information. Regardless of how you facilitate the discussion, I find it useful to actually demonstrate Ignite presentations if you are interested in getting students to consider that technique.

If you have any questions, please contact Guy Spriggs.

Course Name: 
WRD 110
Assignment Type: 
Classroom Activity
Lesson Plan
Assignment Length: 
One Class Period
Primary Pedagogical Focus: 
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