Alternative Presentation formats – ignite

When dealing with presentations, I came across two problems that occurred quite often:

  1. Students did not stick to the time-limit. Okay, one could interrupt, when the time is up, time them using cards (5 minutes, 1 minute, final sentence). The first option is not very polite and the second one might put students under pressure with a negative impact on the quality of the presentation.
  2. When accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation, they tended to read from the slides, even after I made clear that they should not do it.

Viewing presentations in the ignite format, I thought, it would be worth to try in classes too. Ignite talks follow these rules:

  • A talk lasts five minutes.
  • A presentation consists of 20 slides (including headline etc.)
  • The slides auto-advance after 15 seconds.

This is how an ignite talk looks like

These rules have various effects:

  • A talk is never too long.
  • The slides do not contain too much text. In fact, they should contain no words or simply catchwords.
  • It forces students to practice in advance. A surprising number of students haven't practiced their talk. But this format needs practice.

The limits by the original ignite talks might be a little strict. However, it can be adapted:

  • More time per slide,
  • Less slides,
  • Advanced by the teacher/presenter.
  • ...

I'm looking forward to try this in class.

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