Last week was the annual symposium of the National Association of EMS Educators. Held in Schaumburg, Illinois the symposium attracted more than 400 educators from around the world. Each year the symposium features top-notch speakers delivering pre-conference, conference, and break-out sessions. I had the pleasure of assisting Kyle Bates with a pre-conference workshop and then participating in many wonderful break-out sessions during the regular conference. Note: you can listen to a NAEMSE Symposium recap on the EMSEduCast podcast.
PowerPoint Design – the Elephant in the Room
Kyle (@imagemedic) created an new educational and engaging pre-con for this year’s symposium. The all day session guided participants through important elements of visual design, including placement of objects, color selection, typography, and use of images. The focus of the workshop was learning to apply graphic design principles to enhance the impact of a presentation and the speaker.
We have all seen lots of bad PowerPoint slides and those ineffective slides distract from the message the instructor is delivering and can even reduce the credibility of the speaker. A few things every speaker should do:
- Minimize use of text and bullet points
- Consistently align objects
- Thoughtfully select colors for text, lines, shapes, fonts and other design features
- Use animations sparingly
- Understand why every element is on the slide
Kyle and I regularly present workshops, up to a day or two days, on visual design and creating visual case studies. Visit KyleDavidBates.com for workshop descriptions.
Food, Fun, and Friends
I was a little skeptical about the conference location – the northwest suburbs of Chicago, but was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful it turned out to be. Schaumburg has one of just about every restaurant. Thursday night I recruited a large group to go to Lou Malnati’s Schaumburg for Chicago style deep dish pizza. Rob Theriault, my co-host on the EMSEduCast podcast, reported that it was the “best pizza he had ever had.” The photo is of Rob giving his presentation on Synchronous online education. Our group of nine had paramedic educators from Ontario, Wisconsin, California, Montana, New York, Maryland, and some other places I can’t remember. We had great conversation while eating some of the best pizza pies on the planet.
The Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg is just off I-90 and is a bit like an island. Because of its relative isolation – for guests without cars – most of the social scene for the conference was in the hotel lobby. The expansive lobby had plenty of areas to sit and chat, a fireplace, a coffee shop, and of course a bar. Every trip I made through the lobby I saw friends to say hello to and was introduced to new friends.
I escaped the “island” for two early morning bike rides and one run. Since I drove to the conference I hauled my mountain bike with me. I arose early to ride to and around a nearby forest preserve. On my first morning ride I was surprised to see a coyote, whitetail deer, and a half-dozen elk! Later that morning I learned I was riding through Elk Grove Village.
Plans are already underway for NAEMSE 2011 scheduled for Reno, Nevada. They have already made the call for presentations which are due in early November. Visit NAEMSE.org to learn more.