My First Ignite Presentation

I did my first Ignite presentation earlier this month. It was a great experience and a classic example of volunteering for something without really knowing all the details. This was not my first time presenting at a school-based session, but the structure of an Ignite was something entirely new to me.

Ignite Requirements

When doing an Ignite, you have 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. This makes for a quick 5 minute presentation. This also means that slides cannot be too wordy, and usually contain more images than words. The images are usually a variety of pictures, gifs, or memes. The explanation of the topic and the slides comes more from the speaker than the text. For me, this meant more rehearsal than usual in order to get a feel for what 15 seconds per slide feels like, and how much can be said for each slide.

Ignite Challenges

The biggest challenge I had with this type of presentation was staying on topic for each slide and not changing what I wanted to say each time I rehearsed. This link is an article by Laura Foley and gives 6 steps for creating an Ignite. If this is your first time doing this, it is well worth taking the time to read. Be sure to pay particular attention steps 1 and 2. Writing an outline and a script is essential. I wasted a lot of time trying to jump right into making the presentation only to go back and do the first two steps.

The other challenge I had was that I felt limited with how much I could write on each slide and what media I could use. Even though this was not my first time presenting, I feel like it never gets easier. I always feel nervous getting up in front of people, especially when there are colleagues in the audience with much more experience than me. With other presentations, I’ve been able to add sound or video clips, and also use fancy transitions so I am not constantly talking. With an Ignite, however, the text and images need a quick, concise explanation from the presenter. There is no time to ramble and get sidetracked. This is where preparation and rehearsal plays an important role.

Preparation and Presentation

As I was working on this presentation, I was reminded of the saying, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” I felt this was really the case here. The outline and script took me the most time, but when they were done the rest moved very smoothly. Designing the slides was probably the easiest for me and took the least amount of time. I used Google Slides and wrote the script for each slide in the speaker notes section. I went through the presentation a couple of times without the 15 second limit just to practice what I would say. After this, I published the link to the slides and set the transition time for 15 seconds. I then began practicing the presentation from start to finish. The topic I was speaking about was a project I was working on since January, so it was very familiar to me. I had written some paper notes out to guide me and keep me on topic, but after a couple times through the presentation, I no longer needed them.

There were five presenters doing an Ignite and I was third on the list. Listening to the first two was very nerve-racking, but when it was my turn it felt like the fastest 5 minutes of my life. It was over before I knew it and I was surprised at how smoothly it went. All the practice and preparation was well worth it.

How I felt after the presentation.

Other Resources

Along with the article link above, this Ignite link has a great collection of Ignites from all over the world and on a variety of topics. It also has links to help you find an Ignite near you or Google Form link to start an Ignite in your city.

Note about the images

All of the images above were done through a Google search with the image settings on “Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification”. Why the Rocky images? I traveled with my family up to New Jersey and Philadelphia for spring break. One of our stops along the way was the art museum and the Rocky statue. I grew up there, so it was not new to me, but I guess it has made me a little nostalgic.

Three of My Favorite Things

Over the past two months I have come across some new sites and apps that I have a grown to love and use more and more.

Kubbu

Kubbu can be used as both a game site and an assessment tool. At first, the homepage looked a little plain and uninviting. However, once I started to create some activities you I quickly began to appreciate what could be done with this site. 

There are 5 types of activities you can create and examples of all of them can be found in the links below. There are a variety of options for each activity. I was unable to show all of these with just one link for each activity. For example, you can make the activities have a time limit, reveal the correct answers at the end, or randomize the order of the questions. I tried to include various options in each of the links in order to show these features. Games can be created for individual students are groups, and data can also be gathered and analyzed if it is used as an assessment. You also have the option to upload pictures, sounds, and other files and include these in certain activities. For an example of this, check out the Composer – Activity/Quiz link.

The links below are examples of the type of activities and assessments you can make with Kubbu. You will need Adobe Flash to view the links.

Science Review – Divide Activity

Crossword Puzzle

Match Game

Composer – Activity/Quiz

Cloud Quiz – Slides

WorkFlowy

This is a great app if you need to store how-to information that you don’t use on a daily basis and it is easy to forget. I also use it to trouble shoot tech problems that staff have regarding their accounts, desktops, or laptops. I get questions like this every so often and because I don’t do these procedures on a daily basis I don’t have them memorized. I find this app much more convenient that searching through my Shared folder on Google Drive. After four years, my Google Drive is just a digital version of an unorganized file cabinet.

It is also great for documents with a lot of information that you need to refer to frequently but are too hard to remember.  I started using it last week with our inventory audit for Chromebooks and classroom technology. I was able to quickly find room numbers and Chromebook cart numbers for the auditors just by checking by phone and clicking to the specific teacher. 

VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a presentation tool that allows you to create slide presentations using a variety of media and provide commentary. You can post a variety of comments ranging from text, audio, video, and even comments from a telephone call. It is impressive and easy to use on a basic level, but I’m sure the more time I spend with it I will discover a lot more features. The tutorials are fairly short and very helpful. It also has a training section with free workshops, certification, and a library of VoiceThreads from other users.There is also a browse feature on your home page that allows you to search other VoiceThreads on a variety of topics. The media that you add can be pulled from your computer, other media sources (Kahn Academy, Google Drive, Flickr, and even other Voice Threads), audio recordings, webcam pics and videos, and URLs.

You can sign up for free with the usual information of first and last name, email, and a password. You click Create and start adding media to your slide presentation. When you are done, you can start playing through the presentation and adding audio or video commentary, or written comments throughout the presentation. You can also annotate on slides, if needed. There is a fade option on the annotation, so it won’t stay on the slide permanently but you can disable this feature. When you are done, you can share the presentation with others and they can leave comments, as well. Along the lines of sharing, you can also create a contact list and sort people in your contacts into groups.

One way I hope to use this at my school is for our School Leadership Team meetings. We have these meetings every third Tuesday of the month and the parent turnout is very low. I would like to create a slide presentation of what we will be discussing that evening and create a video comment for each slide. We could then share the presentation and invite parents to comments as they watch. There is a comment moderation feature, so we could chose to leave comments out if they were off-topic or not appropriate for the discussion. I think this is a viable option for reaching more parents at the school and including them in the discussion of important topics like bullying and harassment and grading and homework policies.