A Quick One While He’s Away

Here’s a quickie post to hold you over until I can find time to give a follow-up to And You Don’t Stop (Part I) the attention it deserves. Til then, check out the before and after versions of a slideshow I’ve used for a few years now, but just updated this evening.

I give my Honors British Lit classes a slideshow and lecture on medieval anti-Semitism to accompany our study of Chaucer’s “The Prioress’s Tale”. Influenced by the design evangelism of Dan Meyer and Scott McLeod Elias (Thanks for the correction, Dan!), I re-vamped my slideshow to significantly reduce the text and focus more on visual impact.

Communicating visually is by no means my strong suit, so take these for what they’re worth. Although I do think I’ve improved upon the initial show, I’m always up for constructive criticism (especially as I have at least a week before I show this to my students this year!).


[kml_flashembed movie="http://static.slideshare.net/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=medieval-antisemitism-old-version-1202701608134007-4"" width="425" height="355" wmode="transparent" /]


[kml_flashembed movie="http://static.slideshare.net/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=medieval-antisemitism-new-version-1202701664984396-4"" width="425" height="355" wmode="transparent" /]


  • Brilliant. It’s interesting to me that the two standout slides are the painting and the graph – by projecting them large you’re really doing something that can’t be done either verbally, or on a handout.
    Slide 3 seems to be the only one where you’re making your point with text. The only comment I’d make is to ask yourself whether that genuinely serves your purpose at that point, if it doesn’t I’d knock the text out.
    Might be interesting to get your students feedback on it as well. They’ll no doubt have plenty of ‘old skool’ powerpoints to compare it to, I wonder what they’ll make of it!

  • Thanks for sharing. Mind if I use these as an example in a calss I’m doing on effective use of PowerPoint?

  • @dave: Thanks! Yeah, that slide #3 bugged me too, but I’m not sure the picture alone conveys what I want to get across. Maybe I’ll need to find a more meaningful picture.

    @laura: Sure, feel free to use them or link to them. Thanks!

  • Damian,


    If only the very informative gentleman who presented at our workshop today had seen this…3 hours of bulleted transparencies, intesting anecdotes about Senior Projects like boat building and skydiving WITH NO PICTURES. Sadly, the audience didn’t seem to expect anything different and happily wrote down his quotes and statements.

    Thank you for cleansing my palate with your updated slideshow.


  • What a difference between the two slide shows! I found the “Blood Libel” slide disturbing but I guess that’s an effective way to make visual impact.

  • I particularly liked “the boot”. If I were in your class, I’d remember “..and then they got the boot” (and associated details) forever.

    I’m working on doing this myself, but I’m a slow learner at it some days. I wouldn’t have thought of some of the more effective graphics you used.

  • @diane: Like I said on Twitter, most folks don’t know to expect any different from a PowerPoint presentation. Let’s show ’em the light!

    @david: It’s a bit camp, but the best I could do in GIS. I’ve been trying for 6 years to locate online some of the artwork I saw at the DC Holocaust Museum, but to no avail. I have some medieval anti-Semitic works for an art analysis project I do, but they pale in comparison to what I saw back in 2002.

    On a tangentially related Google note, do NOT, under ANY circumstance, do a Google Image Search for “cuckold” at school, much less in front of students.

    @penelope: Thanks – I was trying to find a way to visually represent the “theme” of each slide. I’m glad the boot worked for you – I hope my kids get it, too!

  • New slide #5: Senior Week, 1989.

    How’d you get that photo??? I really thought we hid that one.

    Please remove.


  • In an odd case of coincidence, I just did a post explaining how I’ve been thinking about improving my slideshows, and intend on posting before/after slideshows tomorrow. I’ve already given my updated presentation, and found the students responded to it much better than bullets and text.

  • Damian,

    I just happened to be in attendance at an “old school” presentation yesterday – not even a PowerPoint, just transparencies.

    Posted my response here:

    Let me learn from negative experiences!


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  • Yeah, real good, man.

    Like that it’s image heavy. Love that I can’t tell, from slide to slide, what you were saying to your kids, which means these images were merely a backdrop for conversation, that you weren’t trying to contain the conversation within the 640×480 window itself.

    But maybe you mean Scott Elias. Scott McLeod, for all his virtues, has never had much interest in design.

  • @dan: Well, that certainly explains the difficulty I had finding his slideshow! Thanks for the correction; duly noted above.

  • I think your second presentation is unquestionably more visible. However, I do wonder about the sensitivity you’ve displayed toward your subject. While I appreciate your sense of humor, you appear to be giving a presentation which could be construed to be a historical justification for anti-semitism. Your visual presentation displays only stereotypical images of Jews and almost makes light of their expulsion from England.

    Depending on your audience and what you presented orally the presentation might have gone differently but as a powerpoint this is how it may appear.

    Dan Meyer is a big proponent of storytelling. It’s not just about popping images in a powerpoint but it’s also about thinking of the story you’re telling. When you’re dealing with a sensitive subject you might want to give that story some additional thought.

  • […] edubloggers, Damian Bariexca and Ben Wildeboer, posted classroom presentations within minutes of each other, both having updated […]

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