Dear Slide Doctor: Information Overload!
Slide Doctor is a new post series where crowded, lackluster, or otherwise ornery slides are transformed into beautiful, effective ones. Have slides you need help with? Submit your question and slides to the Slide Doctor at email@example.com with the Subject Line: Slide Doctor!
Dear Slide Doctor,
I’m preparing for a unit on the revolutionary war for my 10th grade students. I figured there would already be a lot of good materials out there and found many slide presentations online. The problem is they are all sooo dense. There’s great information in them but they are almost like books. Am I being picky, or is this an overwhelming amount of information for a slide?
Awaiting sanity check,
Nope, no siree, you are definitely not being picky. Slide presentations aren’t a dissertation, they’re a delightful and helpful visual counterpart to your fascinating lesson. If a student has to move closer to the front of the room to read your slides, that should be a tip off that your slides have too much on them. A good slide should be fully legible from the back of the room.
Don’t fall for the ol’ Single-Slide Snag. It’s easy to feel confined to one slide. History and humanities teachers are particularly susceptible. The Slide Doctor thinks it’s because they have so many events, terms, and concepts to get through in one lesson. They feel like an 80-slide presentation would be too long, so they cram all the information for one concept onto one slide.
But the Slide Doctor is here to tell ya, “Don’t Sweat the Slide Count.” It’s always better to have more slides that you move through quickly than to have fewer slides that you linger on (and that kids can’t read).
Ok, now let’s let the Slide Doctor get to work.
Here’s a slide about The Stamp Act that could use a little help.
This slide says to the Slide Doctor, “fruitcake.” It looks like they emptied the contents of their cabinets on to this slide, and added some food coloring. They even crammed in the candied green cherries even though anyone could tell you they’ve got no business being there.
So here’s what the Slide Doctor does when faced with a Fruitcake Slide. The Slide Doctor just breaks it apart into three or four desserts that are delectable for their simplicity.
First, we make a simple introduction to the topic. Students can read it easily and know what the next few slides are about.
Next, a simple explanation of the Stamp Act. The bullet points help students parse the information quickly.
Then, briefly explain the colonists’ point of view on the new tax…
…and how they reacted to the Stamp Tax.
Wrap up the Stamp Act Section with a quick Check for Understanding.
See what happened there? The Slide Doctor took one overcrowded slide and turned it into five easy-to-read slides.
So just remember what the Slide Doctor says: watch out for the ol’ Single-Slide Snag and don’t make Fruitcake Slides!
Have slides you need help with? Submit your question and slides to the Slide Doctor at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject Line: Slide Doctor!