Play video Making the Most of Presentations

Presentations are a wonderful way of incentivising students to make more sophisticated and considered outcomes. This article looks at ways of embedding presentations into projects to maximise success.

Presentations have become central to every project that I deliver and there are multiple benefits that really need to be contemplated. Before, I would try and push students on a one to one basis, or try to steer progress in their outcomes. But, presentations can help students make up their own mind in a much more constructive and personal way.

The way presentations can add to a project is by galvanising the thoughts of students, at any level, about what it is they are working towards and helping them to consider how to take their development and experimentation in a personal direction.


What part of the project to situate a presentation?

Presentations can have an impact on students’ work at any point within a project, but they can be highly fruitful when it comes to having to decide on a final direction to take. Most students find exploring and experimenting relatively easy, but usually find that selecting an idea, or several ideas, to progress, very difficult. That is the reason we consistently see students working on outcomes at the last minute with very little time to spare.

It isn’t necessarily because their time management is poor, but that they haven’t developed the skills to help them make decisions about inherent qualities of work or how to synthesise their own ideas with techniques and processes discovered in projects. Students are afraid of how things going wrong and worry that any risks they take may impact on their grades.

Most projects become less guided and more self directed as they progress and tuition focuses on facilitating the development of personal responses. It is during this time that presentations can make the most impact on structuring the way students make creative decisions.


Format of presentations within a project

The following list describes how the presentation might fit within the project chronologically so that you can identify how it can play such a significant role in the production of the personal response:

1. Introduction to project.

2. Period of being introduced to relevant artists.

3. Lessons on experimenting with key processes.

4. Targets set of prototype production.

5. Presentation and feedback.

6. Period for production of outcome in response to feedback from the presentation.


Building up to a presentation

Before undertaking a presentation, it is important to ensure students have done at least some reflection on their project, and can situate where their preferences lie in relation to specific techniques and processes that they have encountered.

Giving them a lesson, or part of a lesson, to do this alongside developing basic PowerPoint and presentation skills, will ensure that the process is a smooth as possible. They will also need to understand the expectations of the brief and what their outcomes should involve, so going over it again in a discussion is really useful before the presentation.

The lesson before the presentation could involve considering their development within the context of the project and thinking about their own personal aims and objectives. This consideration should also cover the constraints of the brief. Here are some tasks you might want to consider when doing this kind of a lesson:

1. Short class discussion of top tips for presentations, dos and don’ts, making it easy, remembering information – notes in sketchbooks.

2. Share out the following list of points, but not in the correct order. Ask students to structure the presentation. Ask them: how can you tell the story of the development of your project? These are the points they could order:

• Introduce key artists or techniques that have inspired your work

• Outline significant lessons and experiments that you have done

• Explain how your relationship to the project theme has changed through the exploration of different aspects

• Outline how you are going to combine at least 2 elements from different artists

• Present an image of prototype

• Outline how you are going to combine elements from 2 different artists.



Please note, that this method of using presentations does expect students to produce a guided prototype that has particular constraints. In this instance, the constraints for the outcome were that it had to be a response to the theme, done in a certain media and demonstrate links to selected artists. These reduce the risk of students procrastinating and feel as though they have poor time management.


Potential structure of presentation

Here is a simple structure that can be used for most projects:

Produce a PowerPoint presentation covering the following points:

• Introduce key artists that have inspired your work

• Outline significant lessons and experiments that you have done

• Explain how your relationship to the theme has changed by undertaking particular experiments and processes

• Outline how you are going to combine elements from at least 2 different artists

• Present an image of prototype

• Allow time for questions

Examples of a student’s slides for a presentation

presentation methods for students

Potential objectives to use in a presentation lesson

Here are some examples of the hierarchical lesson objectives that you could use to structure your lesson. These are easily adapted to almost all presentations:

• Review the work of others

• Use appropriate communication methods

• Present information coherently

• Respond to feedback


What students can do with feedback from presentations

After students present, it is very important they take any experiences and information they have from the presentation and include it in their sketchbook. This way they will minimise the risk of losing information and increasingly see how relevant it is to communicate ideas. Here is a potential structure for reflecting on presentation

Reflect on your presentation and project and include in your journal:

• Were you able to communicate your ideas?

• Did people understand your ideas and how they linked to the work of others?

• What went well and why in your presentation?

• What was the feedback and ideas from the group like?

• What will you change about your final outcome plans?

Daniel Freaker Daniel Freaker Educational Consultant, Editor for Pearson Portfolio.