A common sight at any YPI School Final is a group of students, stood in a row, tightly clutching their note cards, reading to the audience, with a PowerPoint presentation in the background. Although a good starting point, this approach so often lacks any sense of performance and rarely engages the audience in a meaningful way. Here’s some interesting additions that we’ve come across:
Live Performance: Use of drama, music, role play, poetry, rap or songs consistently add value and help presentations stand out. This could include the performance of an emotive song, combined with a slide show of relevant images or quotes. A number of recent presentations have also included a song or rap written and performed by a member of the presenting team. A role play or drama can bring to life an issue so effectively. Likewise a mock TV or radio interview also works very well (including optional quirky adverts).
Props: Use of props supports curiosity and draws attention. This might include specialist equipment, for example an RNLI life jacket with a price tag hanging off, or a ‘first-responder’ pack. Use of props can also be very simple, for example using an actual pie instead of a pie chart, with different sized slices of pie representing a charities costs, income, expenditure, etc. Balloons have also been used to good effect, for example an audience was recently asked to close their eyes and wait for a balloon to be burst; the balloon wasn’t burst and the audience were asked questions about how they felt (e.g. anxious, nervous, scared); these feelings were then likened to how a victim of domestic violence feels when living with an abusive partner. Simple.
Video & Animation: The use of student generated, filmed interviews and video diaries works consistently well by providing insight with respects the student research process and experience of visiting the charity. The best video is not only creative but highly effective in taking the audience to the heart of the issue.
Presentations that incorporate some form of animation are also received well, whether that’s stop motion animation using plasticine, models/figures or Lego, hand drawn animation using time-lapse or flick-books, or digitally generated animation using apps such as Stop Motion Studio.
Confident Spoken Voice: This still remains a powerful way to get your message across, particularly where teams are well rehearsed, demonstrate clearly how their presentation meets the judging criteria, and engage the whole audience with eye contact and good use of body language. Sharing a personal link to a social issue or charity often adds additional depth and passion to the presentation, which can be effectively shared through good story telling.
Use of PowerPoint/Prezi: Many teams use PowerPoint sparingly and, therefore, more effectively. Indeed, there is often a debate around any use of PowerPoint, with the most effective examples focused on sharing basic information and imagery that purely compliments what is being said. Many schools limit use to three slides with a word limit on each. Others will restrict its use to the ‘absolutely necessary’ or images only. For example, one team all of whom had dyslexia, showed what words on a page looked like for each them – each page was different (words splitting up, words running into each other, words fading out, words with distorted shapes, etc.) and illustrated clearly why they wouldn’t be using any other slides with words. In another case, the team explained that they weren’t going to use PowerPoint because one of their group was visually impaired and couldn’t see it.