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13 Oct 2017
Comments: 3

How do You Teach Presentation Skills?

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of my jobs as an Educational Technologist at a secondary 1:1 iPad campus is to provide professional development… to students. One of the most popular requests I get is for slide design and presentation skills. This tends to be also be the topic I have done the most research on AND delivered the most times. I have delivered variations of this presentation (see below) to Capstone, Mentorship, Comp Sci, Incubator, ELA, and SS classes alike.

The Secrets of Slide Design

The presentation I am referring to is linked here and embedded below:

Supporting the Secrets of Slide Design and Presentation Skills

I have also presented this topic at a variety of conferences to adult learners. What I have not done (and realized this only recently) is drafted a proper blog post with all of these resources. Honestly, what happened was… I started penning my first book, “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students” and had to take some time off from blogging. The entire 3rd chapter is basically a more elaborate and detailed version of this slide deck… citing additional examples, rationales, and suggestions for classroom integration. But… this blog post is not a sales pitch and if you know me at all… you know that I spend hours creating and curating content for teachers to be shared freely. So whether you invest in the book or not, I wanted to share with you some additional resources to support visual literacy and presentation skills. All of these resources (and more) are linked off the companion site for the book:


  • Secrets of Slide Design for Students and Beyond: This is a quick infographic that basically takes the slide deck above and summarizes major points.
  • Slide Design Hacks for Secondary Students: This is an infographic that details some of the tools and sites I use to jazz up my slides.
  • Student Presentation Note-Taking Guide: I found when delivering this content to students, it appeared like it was the first time they had ever heard it. To scaffold the intake and processing of this info, I decided to create a Note-Taking Guide (pictured below and linked here).
  • Student Presentation Planning Guide: I also found it helpful to create a planning guide for students so they could refer back to sites and resources and quick tips (pictured below and linked here).
  • Student Presentation Planner (Communication Catcher): As a way to start conversations about designing and planning a presentation… I created a communication catcher. Think of these as instructional cootie catchers or fortune tellers (pictured below and linked here).

Feel free to download the PDF version of all of these and use them with you students and staff.



I thought… up until a few weeks ago, that this was a complete resource… but then I was sitting in a professional development that was designed to get collaborative (e.g. inclusion) and classroom teachers collaborating more effectively, and I had this idea. The presenters started talking about setting norms when these teachers work together and that got me to thinking about setting norms for when you have to craft and present a slide deck together… and thus… “Norms for Collaborating on Presentations” was born. Since I was in a professional development and because I have reverted to taking more of my notes in analog form, the info below is handwritten. It is more just some things to think about (for students and adults) when you present with another human being. The users of this info would answer the questions and then choose “need” or “don’t need” for each statement.


Now I think you are pretty caught up on visual literacy and presentation skills… Please feel free to email me with questions about the resources. I also love getting emails or tweets @TechChef4u about how you are using them.

If you are delivering similar professional development to students or find there are specific needs students have, I would love to hear about them. Please share links in the comments!


As I stated in the Note-taking post earlier this week, I am pausing my #ScrapNotes series to share some initiatives I have been working on:

Stay tuned for more…


If you are interested in booking Lisa Johnson and/or would like to know more about her speaking history or professional development portfolio… visit the TechChef4u speaking page for more info or email

And… Check out her latest creation… the book “Cultivating Communication in the Classroom: Future-Ready Skills for Secondary Students.”


20 May 2015
Comments: 0

The Do’s and Don’ts of Slide Design for Students

I have spent most of educational technology career supporting secondary students. Projects and Presentations are always a plenty… but what I noticed is typically students have great presentations and poor content or great content and poor presentations.

“Rarely, are students able to deliver a compelling message in a visually stimulating and engaging way with purposeful use of media and graphics.” – Lisa Johnson

So… being Type A, a perfectionist, and someone that relies on visuals to communicate… I went a googling in order to create a comprehensive guide (and yes, I also staged a few Lego Minifigure pics in my back yard for emphasis too.)

3 Teacher Wishes for Slide Design

I’m Ravenous for Research… What Resources Do You Have For Me?

While I found several excellent articles, I didn’t want to share a list of articles and resources with students and teachers. That would be overwhelming at best and neither party has time to dig through each resource and make sense of it at this time of year (or frankly… at any time of year).

80+ Slide Design Tips and Resources


So, I combed through the 80+ articles, slide decks, and infographics curated above and condensed them in to one infographic with 7 distinct categories. My favorite resources I gleaned were:

After perusing the slide decks on presentation savvy… it became abundantly clear that it is not PPT or Keynote that is the problem… but the lack of slide design and visual acumen that plagues presentations… so I took the best tips and ideas from the pros and created a menu of Do’s and Don’ts for students and teachers alike.

Dos and Don'ts of Slide Design

What Have You Cooked Up For Us Today?

So naturally… I decided to put an end to the drama and support the visual literacy cause with the infographic below (offered as a FREE PDF download). I spent countless hours dissecting the 80+ slide decks, articles, and infographics from the pros to curate the Ultimate Guide of “Do’s and Don’ts for Slide Design for Students” which addresses theme/template,  layout and slide design, use of images, visuals, video, color, text and font.

Slide Design for Students Infographic by Lisa Johnson

Translating the Resource: Yolanda Barker, my former colleague now stationed in Qatar, asked me if I would share the graphic so it could be translated in to different languages… in her case… Arabic. If this is an interest of yours as well, please email me and I would be more than happy to share the Canva design with you so you can translate it for your students and/or teachers.

What Does This Mean for Teachers?

While I ultimately designed this resource for students… I can tell you that everyone benefits from a clear and compelling message devoid of extraneous bullet points, wonky text formatting, and awkward stock templates… Truthfully, many of these design principles can be adapted to our emails and other communications as well… so…

“the next time you send out an email communication or prepare a handout or presentation… remember a dose of design goes a long way for readability and retention…” – Lisa Johnson

My new favorite blog, “The Visual Communication Guy” posted this  MUST READ article “Why Ugly Handouts Are Bad For Teachers (and everyone else)” which not only provides a rationale for basic editing principles but a fantastic before and after pic too.

Why Ugly Handouts Are Bad

Beyond the need for clear communication, providing students with opportunities to excel at media literacy ultimately prepares students for the labor force and beyond…

Stay Tuned for The TechChef Visual Design Summer Challenge

I didn’t learn and adopt visual design principles overnight… but I will say that I have come a long way from the original presentations I created 5+ years ago. If you are looking for a summer PD challenge, dig up one of your old or particularly bad PPT or Keynote presentations and stay tuned…



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Cooking Up Keynote

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Miami Device PD Recap (used with Evernote) #TechChef4u #iPad #Evernote-2 copy

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