Showing posts with label presentation skills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label presentation skills. Show all posts

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Maths backgrounds for worksheets and Powerpoint

As an upper school teacher, we sometimes ignore the requirements of appearance of our materials and focus on presenting quality content. This is evident in the material available on the web.

When I get a moment I like to (in the words of my wife) make things pretty and spend the time to ensure there is a background on worksheets, a powerpoint slide with a coloured background and the like.

One site I like to use is There are some great free backgrounds there for Powerpoint. I really like the orange one and have used it a lot.

Here is a background I made for a recent certificate for the summer school using the MSWord 2003 equation editor.

Have no fear the image is bigger. Just click on it, right click the image and save it. Here's a simple way to make it a watermark in Word 2003.

  1. Open up a Word document.
  2. Go Format->Background->Printed Watermark
  3. Select the Picture Watermark option
  4. Click Select Picture
  5. Find where the background is saved and select it
  6. Change the scale to 200% (or to whatever works for your image unless you want a tiled image)
  7. Ensure the washout checkbox is selected
  8. Click apply

Voila. A professional background for your MSWord 2003 document.

Sometimes you will find the washout selection too light for your printer. In that case you need to insert the picture, send it to behind the text and increase the brightness of the picture to a printable level that doesn't interfere with the readability of the text. This is the way I usually do it as my printer is temperamental but it makes it a bit of a cow to work with the page.

Here's how it turned out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Presentation skills

I know I go on about this a bit but setting the correct expectation is half the battle in achieving good results. Presenting work well can really improve what a teacher thinks of a student. This stands to reason, usually a student that can produce neat and concise work is a high performing student. Teachers usually gravitate to students that produce quality work.

Today, computers do the hard work for students. It doesn't take much work to google a nice template, learn how to use it, get some colours from a colour wheel and present your findings. It takes very little more time to do this - a bit more effort to print it off in the library in colour and viola an B turns into an A (or at least probability of the teacher taking more interest in the student rises). Fair - absolutely not.. the way the world works.. absolutely.

So here's some pointers:

  • Public companies spend millions on colour schemes and reports. Go download a corporate report from a large company such as PwC, BHP, Woodside. Have a look at how they are laid out and where colour is used. Make up a template in Word that looks something like it - it'll take about an hour.
  • Use a font or at most two. Make sure it's large enough to read and not all squirly.
  • Make sure it has a cover page.
  • Bind it or staple it in the top left hand corner (angle the staple at 45°).
  • Order the information so that it is easy to mark. It should follow a logical progression.
  • Check your spelling and get someone else to read it for you.
  • Have it ready two days before it is due. The last 10% of an assignment is the hardest to get and will need you to have time to think about your answer. Planning to finish the night before is not the path to an A. Teachers are more willing to have a look at something a few days before and comment on it than on the day it's due.
  • Do a bit, have a think, do a bit more. Spread it out.
  • Work collaboratively - don't copy - but discuss your ideas with those around you. Choose your friends carefully.

Employers want you to have well developed communication skills, now is the time to develop them.