|Creative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)|
This is the use of transparent slide images (slides) or photographs for a presentation. This can take the form of a lecture or presentation for a seminar or discussion group.
The purpose of using this method is to introduce visuals that show real-life and community-specific subjects. It is also a way to accurately document and show processes which might otherwise take too long to observe or demonstrate in real time.
· 35 mm slide projector
· slide film
· selected slides darkened room (although you can present at night to overcome this problem)
· Using photographs takes less equipment, but the photographs must be large enough to be seen by the entire audience, and the viewing space must be well lit.
· Display board: for very small groups, photographs can be mounted on board and passed around rather than being displayed on a wall.
For the lecture or presentation, you can have any number of people relative to the size of the image you have or will be able to project.
The commercial screen is usually about 5ft x 7ft and this is fine for up to 70 participants. Your ability to project any larger than that will depend on the wall space available and the type of projector.
However, a group of 20-30 is preferable as larger groups can get restless and distracted more quickly. With a large group, you will also need to project your voice or have a microphone set up. The seminar discussion format works best with a smaller group of 12-15 persons. For this, one facilitator works best. Another approach is to have the participants decide on the order of the slides or photos and let them take the position of presenter(s).
Preview your presentation to prepare your viewing environment. Familiarize yourself with how to focus the slide projector. Check that everything is working, e.g., bulb has not blown, slides are in the right order and not upside down. Check that the lead is not coiled on the projector and that the carousel moves smoothly. The connecting lead to the mains should be out of the way of moving feet.
1. Arrange seating for the audience. Everyone must be able to see the screen. Usually this means forming an arc-shaped seating arrangement. For smaller groups, it is easier to let them move around until everyone has a view.
2. Set the lighting at the required level. For slides, a dark but not pitch black room is recommended. It is better to have a little light to keep people awake and to be able to see notes. For photos, a bright but not harsh light is recommended. If presenting on a wall space, make sure there is no glare from the lights on to the photos making them hard to see.
3. Present slides or photos in order. Presentation skills are important here. Remember to face your audience rather than the images, so you will be talking to them and not away from them. Eye contact helps keep attention and gets people involved in what you are saying. Before you present the slides, give a brief background to the topic, or at least an outline. Use short notes on index cards to jog your mind with key words. Try not to be reading an entire script; this is dull to listen to and makes you look at the paper rather than at the people.
4. Ask for responses and encourage the viewers to interpret the images themselves "What's happening here?" or "Where do you think this was taken?" This can be done for each image or, if the flow is going to be too interrupted by this, you can show particular slides again at the end and ask for questions then. Seminar discussion groups will be prompted by more questions and by responses from the viewers/participants. (For further discussions involving this technique, see Posters as problem-posing materials.)
5. Take enough time and speak slowly but limit the amount of time the image is on the screen, as attention will shift after a couple of minutes. There is no absolute rule here. Slides can be presented with pace to create a narrative but you can also be flexible and allow room for discussions on a single image, if it is a powerful one and relevant issues are identified which the audience can respond to. Do try and allow a breather for the projector to cool down! Bulbs are very expensive, so during lengthy discussions, turn off the projector. (Slides can also be damaged if left in the heat of the light for too long).
To prevent passive viewing, summarize your presentation at the end
by saying a few of the most important ideas again or showing same slides again
and re-stating the main points. As a general rule, a 20-minute presentation is
the most successful. It allows for discussion afterwards without the
participants feeling that as if they've been in a marathon! Of course some can
be shorter. There is no point in padding out a presentation. Your audience will
see through it. Keep it short and simple, allowing time for the images to be
interpreted and not trying to explain them too much.
Generally, using slides or photos increases participation, as viewers have to interpret images rather than listen to words. You can increase personal involvement and participation by using local images and issues. Quite simply, produce your own material!
· They can bring experiences to the audience which would otherwise be unobtainable.
· They can show a time-consuming repetitive process quickly and reliably, such as the piece by piece assembling of an object.
· They can stimulate language development and self-expression because visual images must be interpreted into words. The facilitator can encourage individuals or groups of participants to do this.
· They provide the group with a leveling experience; everyone starts from the same point of having just seen the images. The environment may be more comfortable, physically and emotionally, than during the same situation real life and so may encourage discussion. Dimmed lights alone can be a great release for some!
· Slides and photos can show too much information and great care is required to select images. It is important to pretest images on a variety of people to ensure that the important information is not buried under a heap of little details. What may seem perfectly obvious to you may be only a minor part of the image and someone else will not give it the same importance. Photos can be cut or framed to direct attention to the important part of the image.
· With any photographic image there is also the risk of presenting stereotypes of people and places. As above, pre-testing is important to try to avoid this.
· The logical sequencing of the images is crucial to the success of a presentation. This takes practice and pre-testing of the images to get it right.
· Student and teachers documented the story of how drinking water reaches the community. They took slides of the rain, the reservoir, the processing plant, the system of distribution and the uses of water at home and commercially. They used this to create awareness of where water comes from and the need to take care of it as a resource. Similarly, students and teachers documented the waste disposal problems in the town.
· Language instructors documented various people at work in the town. By providing familiar subjects, they provoked a lot of discussion, which was also used as a way of talking about future job possibilities for graduates.
· An instructor of livelihood skills documented a metalworking technique as a numbered sequence that students could view in small groups. Previously, time limitations had meant that too large a group had to view a single 'live' demonstration. By creating the resources for self-study, the teacher allowed the students to review the process over and over until they were confident to try it themselves. Similarly, very expensive science demonstrations could be photographed once and played over and over.
· Another example, from the non-formal sector, was a slide
presentation on small-scale farming initiatives in the community. This slide
presentation was then used both as a funding proposal and as a way of
encouraging others to use the techniques. The slide documentation covered a
whole season and showed all the stages of the process from preparing the soil to