What I read in David Warlick's blog today intrigued me. Pecha Kucha is a structured presentation format developed in Japan back in 2003.
Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each - giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show. http://www.pecha-kucha.org/
It was originally designed for use by those in the creative fields - art, photography, design, architecture - (see Wikipedia Article) but I believe this type of format could have some useful education applications as well.
What struck me first was the structure. It's like visual poetry. Remember back in high school when you had to write poems? Some types, like haiku, had a very specific structure that you were forced to follow. I remember struggling to be creative while at the same time, sticking to the rules. I hated it, but it really made me focus. How can I say what I want to say effectively within the parameters I've been given?
Pecha Kucha takes that kind of structure and applies it to visual presentations. It forces you to edit what you say so that you are concise and to the point. You also need to make sure you select meaningful visuals - visuals that give impact and emphasis to your words.
Imagine using this format for in-class presentations. Tell your students that their history reports need to be presented in Pecha Kucha format - 20 slides, shown for 20 seconds each. Make a Pecha Kucha describing he fall of the Roman Empire. Make one that shows why we need to recycle, or explains the importance of preserving a local wetland. If 20 slides is too much for the assignment you can, as David Warlick suggests, assign Half Kuchas (10 slides) or Quarter Kuchas (5 slides).
I'd love to hear any Pecha Kucha assignment or project ideas you have.