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INTE 6710 ~ Creative Designs for Instructional Materials Project 3: Stand-Alone Presentation Design Document

John Paul Sharp
April 20, 2012

1. Significant Purpose
The latest published report from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) explores four longitudinal studies on 'at-risk' youth, or youth from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and the possible correlations in academic and professional success between those who had high-arts participation and those who had very little. Because more and more public schools are cutting arts programs and focusing more on reading and math, low-income families have less and less of a chance to become exposed to, participate in and ultimately benefit from an arts education (Catterall, Dumais & Hampden-Thomson, 2012, p. 5). Additionally, The Center for Education Statistic released a report revealing a real equity gap for low-income families. According to the Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education, this report shows arts programs for struggling schools have been drastically cut in the face of the No Child Left Behind Act (Brenchley, 2012, p. 1). When you look at both of these recent reports together, it pretty much seems like we know that arts can help everyone, yet we're cutting arts programs for those who could get the most benefits. The purpose of this presentation is to highlight the results of these studies in order to raise awareness of the importance of arts education for all children and also give the presentation's audience resources to help them bring arts into all children's lives in their own communities. The audience of this presentation is anyone who happens to be researching arts education statistics. More than likely, the individual who happens upon this material will already be curious about arts education to some degree and searching related key terms online (e.g., a Google search on the “latest arts education for youth”). The target audience consists of adults, aged 18 to 99, from all different backgrounds, but most likely sharing some type of interest in the arts. Educators in secondary and college level classes could use this presentation as an icebreaker to a larger discussion with their students of the possible societal ramification to cutting arts out of public education for children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Discussions could also lead into possible solutions individuals and groups can initiate in their own communities to ensure all children get equal educational opportunities. This presentation could spark the same types of ice-breaking discussions among early learning professionals and public school administrators in workshops, lectures and staff meetings to discover ways to integrate arts education among other subjects in cases of limited budgets and resources. Because I plan on integrating this presentation into my eLearning portfolio, many possible employers, professors and colleagues in eLearning, arts education and performance will end up viewing it. Likewise, this set of people will have varying backgrounds but will probably have some type of interest in education and/or the arts.

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I want to present the kind of life a person with a low socioeconomic background can have when provided with arts education in childhood. Through the use of my own life story and my own images, I hope to personalize the presentation in a way that is emotional and inspirational. I want this presentation to show anyone why they should care about making sure all children in America get exposure to an arts education. I want the audience to be inspired to explore in their own minds how social inequalities are expressed in their surroundings in terms of arts education. The use of limited text on large, full-bleed photographs is meant to emotionally captivate the audience and emphasize the most important point of this presentation: arts education should be available for all children, regardless of their socioeconomic background. A public education is a liberty for all American children and to remove a critical component of that education for some children due to budget cuts is to deny some children their right to access their best potential.

2. A Picture of the Future
The individual who views this presentation will have increased awareness about the importance of arts education for all children. Ideally, she or he would be inspired to take a more active step in supporting arts education, whether their action is as simple as voicing their opinions to education leaders and legislators through phone calls and e-mails or as complex as creating a nonprofit arts education organization for children with low socioeconomic backgrounds. An individual exposed to this presentation will learn about the National Endowment for the Arts and perhaps go on to learn more about government research of arts for Americans. Perhaps an individual who already cares about this topic will gain recent statistical information from which to reference to in their own debates and discussions with others. More specifically, I will attempt to meet these instructional objectives: 1. Given statistical results from the NEA study paired with intriguing public domain photography, an individual will have increased awareness about the possible benefits from arts education for at-risk youth. 2. Given a set of pictures of what our societal future might look like without arts education, an individual will have the opportunity to consider what types of societal ramifications could exist by cutting arts programs from public schools in America. 3. Given different suggestions for supporting arts education for all children in the local community (e.g., voting, volunteering, fundraising, etc.), an individual will have concrete options for becoming more invested and active in their community by actively supporting their local arts education At the very least, if this presentation is able to get anyone thinking and talking about arts education and social justice, I would determine it a successful instructional material. With increased awareness of the potential benefits arts education provides at-risk youth, an individual will more likely care about the issue and support it as a responsible citizen.

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3. Clear Design Values
In my design decisions, I was mostly concerned with readability and emotional interest for my presentation. Because the subject matter of arts education for at-risk youth is an emotional one, I wanted to make sure to convey that through the use of facial expressions in professional portraits I own. By using my own name and story as an example, I hope to lend credibility and additional interest toward the benefits of receiving an arts education. I was an at-risk youth and I now have a rich arts background which I feel has helped me to find continued success in life, so I recognize how I can act as a symbol for my presentation. 1. Ideas are presented gradually, one at a time, with important ideas repeated or reinforced. In Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds, designer John McWade suggests delivering one idea at a time to make a great, impacting presentation (Reynolds, 2009, p. 110). In my own process for creating the final rough draft of this presentation, I found that in order to get maximum readability, I need to break up multiple ideas into two or three slides. This method forced me to examine every bit of text to discover the most important information at it's core, something Chip and Dan Heath suggest, in Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, to enhance the power of a message through thoughtful simplicity (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 28). Developmental molecular biologist John Medina goes a step further in his book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, and states “the way to make long-term memory more reliable is to incorporate new information gradually and repeat it in timed intervals.” (Medina, 2008, p. 147). While most of the information relayed in my presentation does not repeat specific ideas word for word, I do repeat specific images and words to relay similar tones of information (e.g., Sabrina's '*sniff*' to relate sadness, the Drag Queen's 'It's infuriating!' to show indignation of two facts), and my intention is to increase the audience's potential for remembering the information in the presentation by creating repetition in the way the information is delivered (i.e., the characters of the story). 2. All text is high contrast and large sized for maximum readability and of the same type (i.e., Gill Sans) to exude warmth and friendliness. By presenting one idea at a time with some repetition in the delivery, I am able to maximize readability by also increasing font sizes on every slide for audiences with less than stellar eyesight. “The problem with most presentation visuals is not that the text is too big, but that it is way too small,” claims Reynolds. He suggests to use the same type of font throughout the presentation, using different sizes to emphasize importance, and lists Gill Sans as a “Sans serif with a distinct, warm, friendly personality.” (Reynolds, 2008, p. 35, p. 44, and p. 46). Because I want my presentation to be inviting and entertaining, yet potentially open the audience's mind, I make these specific font choices for my presentation. When I created my initial rough draft, I sent it to my 62-year-old mother and some other friends of mine in their 60s and 70s. I asked them if they could read all the slides. Most of them struggled to read any slides that were under 35 pt. Former Chief Evangelist of Apple, Guy Kawasaki, suggests in his blog, How to Change the World, “find out the age of the oldest person in your audience and divide it by two. That’s your optimal font size.” (Kawasaki, 2005, p. 1). I went through the whole presentation and made sure that every bit of text was larger than 35 to meet the needs of audiences at the 70 year age range. 3. The slides are set to an instrumental song. Medina says our senses evolved to work together and “we learn best if we stimulate several senses at once.” (Medina, 2008, p. 219). My intention for adding music to the presentation was to enhance the audience's learning

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environment and make it entertaining without distracting them from the most important information. Adding music to presentations is not necessary, but it is nearly expected in today's multimedia savvy world. Digital storyteller Dana Atchley describes the 'new world' of Powerpoint and presentations as containing “examples via stories, accompanied by evocative images and sounds.” (Reynolds, 2009, p. 95). As an instructional designer who desires to create forwardthinking presentations and instructional materials, I try to incorporate media into presentations whenever I feel it can enhance the general experience. As someone who writes music and sometimes composes for film, I enjoy the experience of setting timed slides of images and text to music. I found it to be challenging and expressive in a unique way from my traditional experience of setting music to predetermined video. 4. All backgrounds are dark to maximize presentation usability. Because I would like this presentation to be used in all sorts of situations, I must take into account that the audience may be viewing in a dark room. Reynolds suggests using dark backgrounds for all slides helps the audience to read and understand the information without being blinded and creating a strain on their vision (Reynolds, 2009, p. 82). “What we see is only what our brain tells us we see and it's not 100 percent accurate,” Medina summarizes in his tenth brain rule: “Vision trumps all other senses.” (Medina, 2008, p. 240) My intention is to enhance the visibility of the text and facial expression by using these dark backgrounds. Because the audience becomes accustomed to the black backgrounds, they are able to spend more time processing the more important information. 5. Portraits of actors relate information like dialogue in a story. Heath and Heath suggest that to make people care about ideas, we “appeal to their self-interest, be we also appeal to their identities – not only to the people they are right now but also to the people they would like to be ( Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 202). Nearly every automated slide contains a portrait with conversational dialogue, so the text itself becomes narrative. In regard to multimedia and human learning, one of the five principles created by psychologist Richard Mayer and mentioned in Medina's book, is that “students learn better from animation and narration than from animation and on-screen text.” (Medina, 2008, p. 210). While this modality principle speaks mainly to animation, I have applied it to the context of changing slides because I feel it still holds truth. Reynolds writes about the value of using faces to tell stories in slide presentations: “We are naturally drawn to images of people, and we're especially drawn to images of faces.” (Reynolds, 2009, p. 94) Ultimately, I want the audience to feel less like they're reading and more like they're listening to voices of these faces in their minds. 6. All images and music used either belong to me or were created by me. Reynolds indicates the importance and opportunity to create our own images for presentations (Reynolds, 2009, p. 117). Originally, I wanted to use photographs and images from the Library of Congress online, but I realized how truly difficult it would be to tell any kind of coherent story or to relay the specific information about arts education through various photos from American history. Much like previous work on instructional materials for this class, I came to see how much easier and better using my own original content would be. Heath and Heath write that credibility can come from using real life people as a concrete symbol of a core message (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 141). Using music I've created myself, along with using my own story, only goes to further hit home the core message of how arts education can benefit at-risk youth. It establishes credibility by directly showing the artistic capabilities of someone who really was labelled at-risk in their youth.
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7. I stand at the forefront of my own presentation and use myself as an example. I use my real life as an example because I was labelled an at-risk youth and was lucky enough to be exposed to arts early on. According to Heath and Heath, stories stimulate and inspire. “And most of the time we don't even have to use much creativity to harness these powers – we just need to be ready to spot the good ones that life generates every day.” (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 237). By using myself as an example, I am recognizing that my story is a good fit for this particular subject matter. Medina emphasizes this idea, claiming real-world examples help the listener's brain to match patterns and “the more personal an example, the more richly it becomes encoded and the more readily it is remembered.” (Medina, 2008, p. 115). Through the telling of my own story, I will make a personal connection to the listener which will inspire them to absorb the actual information that follows. This design decision is basically repeated from my Pecha Kucha project as I found it to be a successful way for me to relay information I'm passionate about. 8. I appeal to the emotion of the audience wherever I can. “Do not neglect the emotional aspect of your solutions,” Reynolds insists within his fourteen ways to think like a designer (Reynolds, 2009, p. 18). When creating my rough draft, I knew I needed to appeal to the emotion of the audience to persuade them to investigate the latest federal research on arts education for at-risk youth because it is an emotional subject for so many people. Through his fourth brain rule that “people don't pay attention to boring things,” Medina says “emotional arousal helps the brain learn.” (Medina, 2008, p. 94). I chose the portraits seen in this presentation from a much larger group of photos taken in 2009. I only chose the photos that had the greatest sense of emotion through facial expression to guide the way the information would be told by the characters. According to Heath & Heath, people tend to care more about an individual than the masses (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 223). In using my own name and story as an example, I'm providing an emotional opportunity for the audience to become interested in the information I have to present. By making myself vulnerable, I can gain the trust of the audience and open their minds to the core message of the presentation.

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4. Formative Evaluation Response
Like I described in my design decisions, I'm primarily concerned with readability and emotion. The questions I asked peer reviewers were to describe their experience watching the presentation just once. My questions also address the retention of the reviewers and whether or not they found anything objectionable about the content of the presentation itself. After having shared various rough drafts with lots of individuals, I've come to realize that almost anyone could end up viewing this standalone presentation. I have received requests from four people to send them the finalized product so they can share it with their colleagues. Obviously, I have created interest and passion within many reviewers, but the real question is whether I have the best product to share. 1) What is the readability of this standalone presentation for you? How easily were you able to follow each slide? If there were sections of slides you struggled to read, please specify which part (if you can remember!) In some ways, this was an unfair and tricky way to ask the reviewer to describe their readability experience. How can a reviewer remember what slide was hard to read when the slide was, in fact, hard to read? Reviewer
Adrian

Answer
For the most part, your presentation is very readable. The SES slide is a bit too wordy, but I think that was the point, because the next slide says, “What does that mean exactly?” The equity gap slide is simple and clear. The VOTE slide is awesome! Very effective at impacting my engagement. My only suggestion would to make sure you spend enough time on certain slides with more text. I think it was ok, but since I am not in control of moving the slides, you want to make sure the reader has enough time to read the entire slide.

Janet

Okay, I feel a little resentful that you instructed I only watch once (**sigh** :-), as I feel as if I can't adequately pinpoint some items for you. I was able to very much follow the slides with the exception of the statics slides (if I recall, they are the one that you cartooned)... they were very lengthy. I consider myself an avid reader, yet struggled to comprehend the information before the presentation automatically moved on. Could you break it up (even thinking about what Duarte says to do...) -maybe split the large text amounts into two different text boxes?

I was impressed with both Adrian's and Janet's ability to recall their readability experience. The common issues for readability from both reviewers are directed towards the slides in my presentation that are directly quoted from the NEA report. While those specific quotes are not the most essential facts for the entire presentation's core message, I do want to break up the text so that it is easier to read. Working with the
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limited space for the text, I believe using a typewriter effect on the text will help guide the eyes better and perhaps, make the text itself easier to read and comprehend. 2) How did the presentation make you feel, if any feelings at all? Emotional arousal and interest within the audience is important for this persuasive presentation. In asking this rather open question, I was curious to see what type of responses I would get. Reviewer
Adrian

Answer
After viewing the presentation, I felt inspired to become a singer/songwriter/dancer/actor. The presentation never really made me angry at the current cuts to creative art programs. Unfortunately, it is something we have become accustomed to. However, your sequence toward the end of the presentation about being a social advocate for the arts inspired me to volunteer more and incorporate those into my classroom. I suggest either including some simple resources for people who want to help. You could put these in the presentation or in an accompanying handout.

Janet

The presentation made me feel a bit like I should darn well get involved somehow (and I have not an artistic bone in my body, and I still wanted to try). That things in my life that may seem minor to me could make a major difference in a child's life. It made me feel upbeat and filled with a sense of action.

Both Adrian and Janet seemed to have been inspired by the presentation and that is really my ultimate goal for this project. I like Adrian's suggestion of adding accompanying resources. That would be a great idea for anyone sharing this presentation. 3) What was your take away from this presentation? What did you get out of it and what do you remember the most? What was the stickiest bits of the presentation? Reviewer
Adrian

Answer
My take away message is to VOTE and incorporate the arts more into my classroom. I know that may not be your intended message, but I think the point of your presentation is to inspire people to think of how they can increase arts education. You do a nice job of making the audience feel empowered, while still telling them what to do. I suggest making your main theme a reoccurring image that the audience will remember. I think of it like a signpost: “here is that image again, that must mean the main message is here.” I don’t know how that would affect the overall scope and flow of your presentation. It flows nicely, so if you do make changes, be aware of how it could impact the other slides.

Janet

To take a stance about art equity for at-risk risk students at struggling schools. You

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can take action to make a difference.

I feel confident that my core message was clear to both Adrian and Janet. Both of them came to the realization that they are empowered as individuals to make a difference in their community. Janet's suggestion about creating more repetition for a specific slogan or call-to-action is a great idea, but I agree that it would also deeply change the flow that I spent hours perfecting. In this case, I feel that what I've created in terms of communicating a core message was successful and there's not a strong enough argument to change the story and the flow too drastically. 4) How do you feel about the background music for this presentation? Is it an appropriate fit? Is it distracting at all? Music can enhance any project as long as it isn't pulling the audience away from the message or causing them any sort of discomfort. While music taste and choice can often be subjective, there is the possibility that real issues can arise from music choices and I wanted to see if there were any common themes in my reviewer's feedback. Reviewer
Adrian

Answer
The background music was only distracting towards the end of the presentation. As it got a bit faster, it seemed to get louder as well. If you can, try and keep the volume consistent throughout the presentation. The music was absolutely appropriate for the presentation. Given what I have seen you produce in this class, I was not surprised to discover that you composed the music. Well done!

Janet

I love the background music. My only thinking is that at the very end of the presentation, the beat changed and became just a bit distracting to me (I think it was the beat... something threw me off). I got used to the tone and pulse throughout and was a little disappointed when it changed drastically. If the alteration in music at the end was added for a different effect, it worked, as it had definitely had a weird effect on me. I prefer the themed music that you had through most of the presentation (without the added, increased beat). However, given that, the presentation was so wonderful that I don't think that music, if not changed, decreases its value.

Adrian and Janet both mention that the music felt distracting towards the end, but both for different reasons (e.g., Adrian described a volume change, Janet described a beat change). Janet also mentioned that if the music were unchanged, she didn't feel it would decrease the value of having it integrated into the presentation. Compositionally, I believe they are referring to the bridge of the song that moves into a darker, more minor key and I have found it a common thing for some people to feel strange about hearing those types of chord progressions. I'm making an artistic decision to not change the

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music. While both found the bridge distracting, they were still inspired, empowered, and able to comprehend the core message, so perhaps it can be excused as part of the edgier quality of my original work. 5) Is there anything you did not like about this presentation? If so, what would you change? While seemingly obvious, I do want to know if there's anything within the presentation that turned off the audience. These would be problem areas to give serious consideration as the moment the audience turns off, the audience stops listening. Reviewer
Adrian

Answer
Your baby picture is pixilated. I know this is difficult to make bigger and “bleed the image off the edge of the frame (Reynolds, 2010, pgs. 100-102). However, if you could somehow use a crisper image it would work better. The disadvantaged kids’ picture and the graduation picture are a bit uncomfortable to the eye. I understand the technique you used to alter the picture, but it doesn’t match when placed next to your clean and crisp images of the other actors/actresses. I really like the black edges that make me feel like I am watching a movie. If you can, try and keep that design theme throughout. The graduation picture blends with the background better.

Janet

My only comment that I wonder is even worth mentioning is that your first introduction of someone other than yourself is Sarah. Her slide says, "Hi, I'm Sarah." Then, I don't recall having seen the two other women identify themselves (again, since I COULDN'T WATCH IT TWICE :-), I'm not sure if I missed this or not). If the last two women (one is a strapless dress, and the other who I think was supposed to be the official voice of reasoning -- wearing a blazer), are not identified with a "Hi, I'm XXX," why bother having Sarah introduce herself.

I completely agree with Adrian's comments about the pixelated and cartooned images. Those specific images were really the best formats I have available and I had to do the best I could to create more definition. While I agree that the images aren't as high resolution and high quality as the majority of images, they are used in such a contrasting context (e.g., pictures of childhood, memories, the past) that I believe it is certainly acceptable for them to be low fidelity under the circumstances. Janet's comments about the names of the characters presented is a good one, but I only used as many names as necessary to get the story rolling. Even the Drag Queen character says to Sabrina when she asks who she is: “Don't worry about me!” The point isn't to know who the additional character's names are and to include them all would probably mean sacrificing the overall readability and comprehension of the core message.

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To summarize my revisions based on the reviews, I will change the text for the larger quotes in the presentation to build-in with a typewriter effect. Otherwise, I feel the extra time and consideration spent in the initial revisions have produced a great overal presentation I can be proud to have created. Bibliography
Brenchley, C. (2012). ED Releases New Report on Arts Education in U.S. Public Schools. http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/04/ed-releases-new-report-on-arts-education-in-u-s-public-schools/ Catterall, J., Dumais, S., & Hampden-Thompson, G. (2012). The arts and achievement in at-risk youth : findings from four longitudinal studies. http://www.arts.gov/research/Arts-At-RiskYouth.pdf Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2008). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Die and Others Survive. New York: Random House. Kawasaki, Guy. (December 30, 2005). How to the Change the World. Online blog. http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html#axzz1sF2QrUgP Medina, J. (2008). Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. Seattle, WA: Pear Press. Reynolds, G. (2009). Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

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