Week 4 is all about the art of communication and how visuals can enhance our message. How and what we present to our audience matters greatly in the manner in which our messages will be received, and how impactful they might be. I read this article which resonated.

Every story begins with the foundation of language. Oftentimes, when we think about language, our minds default to written text and spoken conversation. But language is more than words—it’s any way of communicating across mediums that brings an idea, topic, or conversation to life. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual from 8 Designers’ Tips for Better Visual Storytelling

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Here are a few steps to take when building a visual presentation with the audience in mind:

  1. Less is most definitely more! Consider using fewer elements on a slide. In David JP Phillips brilliant TedTalk called Death by Powerpoint he explains that having no more than 6 elements on a slide is important. The audience won’t have enough cognitive resources to understand more than that. That includes text. Avoid including large pieces of text on your slides because people can’t read and listen at the same time.
  2. Ditch the flashy transitions! Your slide presentation is there to support you and not the other way around. Using different transitions and confusing animations can sometimes distract the audience and work against you.
  3. Synthesize your message! Consider giving a follow-up sheet containing the main points of your presentation. Rather than packing all your slides with as much information as possible, causing people to snap photos of each slide, considering giving out a one-pager with all your talking points. You can tell people this ahead of time and put some supporting images on your slides rather than text.

Your assignment for this week is to choose a visual aid (slide, poster, anchor chart, etc.) that you would like to update. Gather feedback from your students and/or colleagues about how well the visual aids their understanding. Based on their feedback, and the readings from this course thus far, redesign that resource. Please share your process on your blog post, as well as a reflection of how you think it went.

A wonderful example of someone going through the process of revising their visual presentations using Presentation Zen is this video by Cult of Pedagogy’s Jennifer Gonzalez. She outlines how she used to build presentations and how considering some key design elements changed her approach.

Inspiring each other

I have really enjoyed catching up with your posts this weekend. They are insightful and inspiring. You have all done some wonderful work in this course so far.  Keep up the awesome work! If you have not had the chance to read some of these blogs, make sure you check them out. Here are a few:

Luiz reflected in his post Social learning in IB Diploma Biology about the idea of handing over responsibility to his students, so that they continue to develop their skills (ATL’s) such as collaboration and communication. “In my view, the more time we spend developing Approaches to Learning, the less time it takes for students to learn content because they are more efficient, more independent, and more social. That’s why time, for me, is a non-issue.”

Cindy shared, in her Week 3 post, some  fantastic looking infographics which she created, using Apple Pages, to assist her students with their unit titled “Our How We Express Ourselves.”

Luis explained in his week 2 post that as educators we need to be modelling collaboration skills to our students to enhance collaboration skills in them. “We can always grow and generate changes in our peers, demonstrating, for example, a sense of leadership, responsibility, feedback, positive reinforcement, and so much more, when we work collaboratively, always coming from a place of empathy and respect for the individual.”


Remember that the Course 3 final project is an opportunity to experience an authentic global experience. and get to know in more detail, some of your COETAIL 12 cohort. If you are still in the need for a group then now is the time to ACT! Check out the document that I emailed you and join a group of like-minded professionals who are looking to redefine learning. We are in this together!

By the end of this week you should have completed:

  • 4 blog posts and inserted the links for each in the gradesheet
  • 4 comments on your peers blogs and links for them in the gradesheet
  • Work on the final project can be ongoing throughout the course.
  • If you have not yet, please take a few minutes to complete the Mid-Program Survey from the Welcome Week as soon as possible.