Making Presentations Work

Design & The Market, Textiles

On Friday,  I had a really interesting lecture that was about the starting process of a business and how it was progressed by Brian McNicoll and then presentation preparation skills from Professor Mike Press. Brian McNicoll explained a lot about his own business within the computing industry for Dynamo Games and how he progressed throughout the company, experienced various roles and created brilliant game applications for your smart phone!

Presentations scare me! so it’s safe to say I am terrified for my presentation in a mere week and a half! However, from Fridays lecture, I gained some important key points for making the perfect presentation along with some important DO NOTS  for presentations (which were very funny!)

The Dos!

The key points that I learned was that it is very important to research everything about you presentation and provide the right information to back up your chosen topic. As a group for assignment one, we have to interview a designer who has set up their own business or who is in the midst of doing so!  We have set up to interview with an up and coming fashion designer from Glasgow so this will be our first interview to a professional in the field! After the interview, we will sort through all of our research and answers and then prepare them for our presentation. As well as research, other factors are also important for a presentation such as:

Dress Appropriately ( Dress to impress!) like you would for an interview.

Maintain correct posture and stand correctly so that you avoid swaying!

Adjust your voice so that it fills the whole room…not too quiet but not too loud and scaring people!

Make index cards so you don’t read your presentation slide by slide!

Conclude your presentation properly and thank the audience for their time.

and finally…

Rehearse!

Rehearse!

Rehearse !

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Wake up feeling positive and act like you have all the confidence in the world even if you are secretly terrified inside!

The Do Nots!

This section of the lecture was really funny because our lecturer Mike Press told us some previous presentations he viewed and some of the rather funny presentation do nots! for example :

Do not put your hands in pockets, through hair or anywhere else for that matter! try to keep hand movement to a minimum and keep your hand at your side.

Make sure your appearance is as good as you left before your presentation! such as, try not to go to the bathroom and then forgot to tuck in shirts, blouse  etc…or forget zips! embarrassing moments when you certainly do not need them!

Try not to read your slides slide by slide, word by word!

For my presentation today, I'll be reading the powerpoint slides word for word.

Try to end your presentation properly and not just abruptly end.

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Well that was a few of the insights from last Fridays lecture about presentations and making them work! hope this information helps you as much as I hope it helps me come presentation day.

Thank you for reading!

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Assignment 2: What Images Mean

21st Century Design, Assignments

For Assignment 2: “What Images Mean” for our 21st Century Design module, we had been given the task to do an experiment that associated with three random images. Also, we had to go into our own teams so I teamed up with Amy Malcomson, Errin Miller and Morgan Daily. The images that we chose had to be random and they could not display any text. This is the three images we found:

All of these photographs were from the website “Stock.xchnge” and they were selected through the randomiser tool.

The images shown consist of a beach chair on a quiet beach, a woman on a bike in New York City and an old vintage clock. Each of these images are unrelated to each other so this helps our team to understand the meaning of semiotics ( symbols,signs, images that can mean more than one thing). Also, this assignment also gave us the opportunity to experiment to test the concept of Polysemy.

For this assignment, as a team, we had to ask the public about each photograph and what information they could get from it. We then had to ask them to suggest a story that links all three images. For this particular assignment, we could not ask art and design students but instead ask a range of other students, general public, staff etc. Here is some of our answers!

Person 1: Male, 20, Student at Abertay University studying Sports and Exercise.                                                                                                                              

  • Photo of the chair on beach: Seems like a chair that an elderly couple would sit on, quite relaxing.
  • Photo of girl on bike: In New York, warm, very busy day
  • Photo of clock: Beat up old clock that doesn’t work anymore.

Person 2: Male, 21, Student at Abertay University

  • Photo of chair on the beach: Looks quite lonely as the beach is empty/quiet, very hot.
  • Photo of girl on bike: Very hectic and busy, quite frustrating.
  • Photo of clock: Vintage, it’s broken and worn and the clock face is broken. Symbolises death.

Story connecting the three photos: The beach represents childhood, a place to have fun and relax. Then the next photo represented late teens – early 40s, a place where they have to work, it’s frustrating and everything is very rushed. The last photo represented the elderly, retirement and the broken glass suggested that it could symbolise the wrinkles or lines.

Person 3: Female, 20, Neuroscience student.

  • Photo of girl on bike: yellow taxi – well-known in New York. single girl on bike, contrast of busy car build up behind – picture for the environment? Also the calmness of the girl on the bike – very relaxed looking (no blurring of pedals – easy rider) again contrasting the business of the car build up behind. The obvious red lights everywhere – possible symbolism again, contrasting the easy riding being performed by the girl on the bike.
  • Photo of Clock: the face of the clock appears to have fallen to appear upside down contrasting the frame of the clock, possible symbolism to “change in time” ? The clock appears to be vintage (roman numerals rarely seen on modern clocks), along with the rusting copper – possibly a symbol, again, of changing time? The clock has a “brand” (Thomas) again a symbolism of its past. past – present – future?
  • Photo of sun lounger – lounger background – the beach. very natural scene. this contrasts the plastic bright yellow, man-made sun lounger.

Story connecting three photos – The future for our planet is bleak. Pollution from landfills, rubbish-burning and automobiles will soon fill our atmosphere, where clean, fresh air once was. Rising tides, as a result of that pollution, will soon see the end of relaxing sea-side holidays. It is time for change

Person 4: Female, 18, 1st year Geography student. 

  • Photo of girl on bike: new york, saving the environment by using a bike, hot day
  • Photo of clock: old, antique, broken & squint.
  • Photo of beach chair: bright, made for two people, relaxing on beach, hot day.

Story connecting three photos: A woman who likes to relax on the beach to pass time but likes to stay fit so she doesn’t age prematurely.

Person 5: Female, 48, accountant 

  • Photo of girl on bike: Looks like America, New York, Girl out shopping on her bike with basket, sunny hot day – shadows cast.
  • Photo of Clock: Looks like it has been salvaged from an old burnt down house or found at the bottom of the sea.
  • Photo of Beach chair: Thinks it could be some sort of beauty stall when you go to the beach to sit and get your toe nails painted.

Story connecting three photos: Girl is on a cruise ship holiday, stopped off at New York so she hired a bike to explore, then went to the beach to get her toes painted all in time for being back on the boat at 12

Person 6:Female, 18, Dance Student

  • Photo of girl on bike: America, Yellow cabs, L.A. Hot sunny, people have their legs out, busy, people crossing the roads.
  • Photo of Clock: Clock, old-fashioned, squint and broken.
  • Photo of Beach Chair: Beach, sun chair with shade and bits for legs, different looking, maybe for 2 people to share.

Story connecting three photos: Hot day in L.A, riding a bike to the beach and on the way finds the clock washed up on the sand

Person 7:Female, Bio medical Science student, 19

  • Photo of Beach Chair – relaxation at the beach, Blackpool vibe, looks like an advertisement for a holiday
  • Photo of Clock – old, time, broken, vintage
  • Photo of City – metropolis lifestyle, girl is main focus, busy, hectic

Story connect three photos: take time to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life

Person 8:Female, Psychology, 19

  • Photo of beach chair – relaxed, feet up, Thomas cook, holiday
  • Photo of Clock– age rusty,fading of beauty
  • Photo of City – annoying cyclists, slow, frustration

Story connecting three photos: Shes running out of time to cycle to her holiday destination.

photographed by Errin Miller

I found this assignment quite interesting as I thought it was really great to find out what different people thought and what information they got from just briefly scanning the photos. Also, I thought it was really interesting to hear what story they got from these photos even though they had only seen the photos for about 5 minutes! This part of the assignment helped me understand the concept of Polysemy ( Idea that images can mean more than one thing) This is true I think  because an image can mean something very different to what someone else thinks of the same image.

For the next part of the assignment, we had to choose a story from one of the participants we asked earlier on, this then became our target story. We decided to choose the story from person 3 as we thought that it provided the most potential and information.  As a team, we had to choose another photo that would connect/relate to our target story and then ask a new set of people about the four photos and what story they get from them. The purpose of this image was to relate to our story and so we could get similar answers/stories. The images didn’t have to be in any precise order as we had to let the participant put them in their own order so they could tell the story that they get from the photographs.

Our target story was from a  Neuroscience student at The University of Dundee.  Her story was very detailed and her views were quite interesting too! She discussed pollution and how we as a planet, are running out of time to change things. This is a true story I think and it is one that has been in the media a lot so we thought that by carefully adding a selected image , it would help spark the stories about the environment, global warming and pollution into the minds of our next participants. Ideas that would relate to our target story.

This was our final photograph linking to our target story.

As a team, we all discussed that this photograph was best because we felt it highlighted global warming and pollution very well. It suggested different ideas to each of us such as: Polar bears (extinction), Melting Ice Caps, Temperature rising etc. Also, it conveys how little time we have to fix these problems and that we are running out of time. Moreover, we thought this fitted in extremely well with our target story and we thought that it would help give a much more clear idea of the story linking all four photographs.

For this part of the assignment, we had to ask a set of different people but only ask what story they got from looking at all four photographs. Here is our results!

Person 1. Male, Library staff, 26.

  • A time travelling polar bear that would have to go to the beach to prevent ruining the city.
 Person 2.Female, History student, 21.
  • People vary in where and what kind of holiday they want depending on their age.
 Person 3.Male, Sport & Exercise student, 23.
  • Polar bears are being sent to zoos so they are out of their natural habitat, which shortens their lifetime.
 Person 4.Female, Cafe worker, 30.
  • Global warming not long left for it to be fixed, we need to be eco-friendly. Time is running out.
From this experiment, the fourth image wasn’t as obvious in our experiment. Some people’s stories were pretty much accurate with our target story but other stories were quite varied. So, after that, we decided to add some words under the photos in order to help people to guess our target story much more clearly. We added the word “Pollution” to our city image and the words “Soaring Temperatures” to our beach chair image. This really helped with our experiment when we asked a new set of people!
Photographed by Errin Miller.
These were our buzz words!
Here is our results from the next set of people we asked:
Person 1.Female, Zoology  Student, 19.

  • Global warming has had a big impact on nature, Time is running out and we are ruining some animals environments/homes.
Person 2.Female, Hairdresser, 23.
  • “Poor polar bears”. Their homes are being taken away from them through global warming (melting ice caps etc), pollution from cities is ruining the environment.
 Person 3.Male, Architect , 20.
  • We have to be more eco-friendly just like the woman riding the bike in the city photograph. Climate change is happening and something has to be done.

From conducting this experiment , it is clear that it all worked and people had a general story about the environment, global warming etc when they looked at the photographs with our added words (Finally!). When looking back at the four photos without the words, it wasn’t very obvious that it was something about the environment as most of the photos looked like holiday destinations and not environmental problems! Overall, I found this assignment quite enjoyable! I found it very interesting to hear the many different ideas and stories that different people got from each of the photographs. I feel that it really opened my eyes to how people can view things very different and can even spot things that may not be clear on the first viewing of a photograph etc. Also, really helps me understand all the different ideas in the book “Snoop” by Sam Gosling.

For part of this assignment, we had to read the chapter “The Rhetoric of the Image” by Roland Barthes. I have to say, it wasn’t the easiest read in the world but I think I managed to understand the ideas being put across in this chapter. In this chapter, Barthes discusses that there is three messages that are conveyed in the advertisement he was analysing.

Photograph from 21st Century Design Module blog.

The first of three messages conveyed was the text (text at the bottom corner of the advertisement), the symbolic message ( The food, Italian themed…) and the non-symbolic message (the pasta and sauce). It suggested to me that just from thinking about these three messages, it shows that there is a lot of different meanings portrayed in one simple photograph or advertisement. For an advertisement, this is a very beneficial factor I think as it would get the customer to think about what an advert is trying to sell, not only the product but the experience conveyed. So for this image, it suggested to me that the company is obviously selling the product but they are also trying to sell the experience if you buy this product. For example, they may want you to think that by buying this product, it will be very similar to Italian dining and their traditional cuisine.

So, in the context of this assignment, I think that this chapter has helped gain more understanding about the concept of Polysemy. Furthermore, it has helped give me a better understanding of the different meanings that the selection of people we asked for this assignment came up with when they looked at our four photos. Each meaning and story varied from person to person so I found it very interesting when  we conducted this experiment. When different people analysed some of the photographs, some looked beyond the obvious and tried to think about a deeper meaning to the image. They didn’t just point out the clock (Photo of the clock) but they pointed out that it had a vintage feeling, broken, conveyed a feeling of death and suggested a later part of life such as, the elderly, retirement etc. So, from reading this chapter by Bathes, I feel I understand the concept of Polysemy a little better than before. However, I did find this read quite hard to understand at times. However, it is interesting.

Here is a photo of the little leaflet we handed out to each of the people who kindly answered all of our questions!

Photographed by Errin Miller.

We thought that this would be a nice way to thank all of our participants and let them see what the results were for this assignment. So a big thank you to all of our participants and I hope you each like our posts containing the results!

Assignment 4: Reading and Reviewing

Assignments, Change By Design

Assignment Four

World Wide Web Page

Caroline Westbrook- “Playing video games together considered ‘quality time’ for children to bond with older generations”.

When reading this article, I found it to be mainly evidence based as the writer doesn’t include any of her own personal opinions. The article clearly showed that research was carried out to test the theory of how video games are classed as great ‘quality time’ for the younger and older generations. The main purpose of this article was to confirm that video gaming is considered quality time for families as well as being very beneficial in providing different skills. When this article was written, I think that the key question that the writer addressed was: do video games count as quality family time? Or are they taking away child social interactions. There is a lot of important information displayed and I think that because this article is mainly evidenced based, it guarantees accurate and honest information. Therefore, it gains the trust of its readers.  The writer focuses on one main research study that was conducted by Goldsmiths University and PopCap gaming company.  This study, held by Goldsmiths University in London, tested to see if there was a social connection made between both generations whilst playing or after playing video games. The study showed that when the older generation played video games with their children, grandchildren etc it had connected them socially and therefore had improved their social skills. It showed that playing video games unites both generations and it creates a fun and sociable environment thus making it easier to connect with their children or grandchildren.

“The fact that both parents and grandparents are using games to connect with their children and grandchildren, and quite successfully, suggests that video games can improve social skills and make a key contribution to both effective parenting and child development.”

PopCap is a successful gaming company  that offers a wide variety of games ranging from more classical games such as Bejewelled to the more recent, Plants Vs.  Zombies. PopCap are successfully helping the elderly come to grips with technology as they include more classical games that the older generation may have known or played before. PopCap games are now available on smartphones such as: iPhone. Android, Blackberry etc. This makes them more available to all generations and further connects them.

“Around 27 per cent of those who took part in the study said their children borrowed their smartphone or tablet device every day to play casual games.”

I think that this information relates to ‘The Social Centre’ very well as it links in perfectly to what topics arose from our team discussions. The particular topic that fits for this article though is one of our main brainstorming ideas about technology and the elderly. The younger generation is much more advanced in technology such as computers, games, mobile phones etc and as a group; we thought that “The Social Centre” would be a great place where the older generation could learn new skills or further develop their own existing knowledge on a particular subject. So we thought that demonstrations or classes on technology for the older generation, taught by the younger generation, would really help connect them more socially and improve vital social skills. Also, as part of some events or even just for fun, the younger generation could use their smartphones to connect to the older generation through the world of mobile phone gaming. The writer concludes this article on a high and really conveys the future of technology very well. This article ends with a quotation from the Senior Director of International PR, Cathy Orr, at PopCap gaming company and she explains that video gaming has become as popular as going to the movies and listening to music. She explains that it is making its way into the family lifestyle and will be the new format for family favourite board games. This could be something that could work very effectively in “The Social Centre” because it would unite both generations very easily. Now that DVD games are available, it makes it even easier for the older generation to come to terms with the games that are available to them. Moreover, some of these games, such as quiz games, involve some input from the older and younger generations together as there is a wide variety of questions. I think that the most important key concepts I would need to fully understand this article would be to investigate more into the study that was referred to for this article and how the writer relates to her chosen topic. I didn’t think she mentioned her own opinion on the article however; it would be interesting to see what she thinks about the overall topic.  I think that if I were to think about the consequences of this article if its readers chose to ignore it, I think that the world of gaming would still be just as popular. Games are advertised in most advertisements nowadays and with their high graphics and exciting music to follow, it is inevitable that they are become more and more popular. In terms of “The Social Centre” I think that it would be vital to include some form of gaming. Both the older and younger generations could both enjoy playing games together and could also learn new skills from each other whilst they play.

Book. Nancy Frey – “Productive group work: how to engage with students, build teamwork and promote understanding”

The main purpose of this book I think is to promote the benefits of group working and how they can be applied within education/different environments. The key question that is addressed I think is how can we engage students, build up team working skills and promote somewhat of understanding. I think group working is very important and very useful within the learning environment. I find that with group working, it is easier to approach something that may be challenging or something that requires a lot of different views or ideas. Group working I think helps the participants socialize better as well because you are constantly discussing what has to be down for your specific project or topic. There are various pieces of important information shown throughout this article but one of the sources I will mention is near the beginning of the book. I think it’s really effective and shows a clear understanding to why group work is very beneficial in a learning environment. There was a test that was set to different groups and each group had to research a different food source. They had access to the internet and a collection of books that related to what they had been researching.  The group had to summarise all of their research and each member had to at least write one sentence about their topic/findings. Moreover, each student had to write in a different coloured ink as well as being able to explain the contents of their paper to a teacher in an interview or discussion. For the result of this study, there was a paragraph made out of each students sentences about their topic and in the book, it is shown in different fonts to display each students contribution and ideas in their group. Overall, the test was successful as this one paragraph showed all of the information needed about their given food source. It shows the collaborative knowledge of the students working together and sharing key pieces of information.

In context of “The Social Centre”, team-working would be a major part of what it is we want to achieve within this environment. When we discussed how we could unite both the younger and older generations, working together and group work was always a key part of this project. We wanted to unite both generations via different events such as: music nights, movie nights, exercise classes and so on. Therefore, team work is a vital role in “The Social Centre”.

Group working within the education environment also has its disadvantages because not all group working can be successful. However, one of the main reasons to why group working isn’t as successful as it could be is that the students are more aware of failure. When put in a group, it is usually to solve a problem, make a product, a design solution and so on but usually once the group has started to get into their projects, only a couple of members of the group seem to take the lead whilst the others sit in the background. Therefore, this puts a lot of pressure amongst the leaders of the group as well as making the others feel in adequate. This is one of the reasons why teaching staff have not included it as much within the learning environment. Therefore, there has to be positive interdependence created because for a group to work, each member has to communicate, take part and convey their own ideas. Other ways to create this would be:

  • Goals –assigning a different task to each member and that task would require them to participate and work together with the group.
  • Resources –giving each member something to look at, say an article, game etc.  This could insure that each team member is given a unique piece of information that they can then present to the group.
  • Roles – giving each group member a specific role in which they are responsible for.
  • Rewards – a means of making the group much more sociable and offering breaks from continuous work. Also, could be something to do with each member, for example, one group member could be the motivator and try and give their group more motivate to carry on with the task. This would be a very effective tool in “The Social Centre” because this could help the generations to further connect with each other as well as keep up with the different events available.

For the social centre, I think that making sure each generation contributed in each activity to what they feel comfortable with in order to achieve a more sociable and relaxed environment.

My Thoughts …

I found both equally as interesting as each other. However, I preferred the first article “Playing video games together considered ‘quality time’ for children to bond with older generations” in the Daily Mail. I found that one easier to relate to as I myself have been in a very similar situation. I agree totally with the article because when my sister and I were younger, we played videos games quite a lot and both of our parents would join in with us at times. Therefore, I can relate to this article well. I think video gaming is a great family bonding experience because everyone will be having fun and the atmosphere is more relaxed. It then encourages all family members to socialize and work together as a group (multiplayer options) in both the video game and environment. If parents chose to ignore this, I think that they would lose a small connection with their child because gaming is something many children find enjoyable and if their parents chose not to participate or worse, refuse their children of their right to play a game; it could lead to disruptions in the family environment. I was reading another article from my last assignment and I feel that it relates very well with this article at the moment because it’s discussing the benefits of the elderly using video gaming technology. The article is “Elderly Keeping fit with the Wii” found on neowin.net. I found this article really interesting because it is again, something that I feel I can again relate to. Furthermore, I think that the Wii Fit is a fantastic way of keeping fit because you get to experience different types of exercise that may have not been available before or that you had never tried like yoga, for instance. Furthermore, you are in control of how intense you would like each fitness exercise to be. It also offers small games that can improve balance posture etc. There was a study carried out by the residents of a care home run by Helen McArdle Care. For this study, they gave this care home a Wii fit with several controllers and tested to see how the residents would react to it. It was all a success! They all loved the Wii and said to have found it very fun and encouraged more people to socialise with each other.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen one of these things, let alone played one, but it is great fun […] It’s much better than television, it’s more interesting and everybody gets involved” Jim Fisher, a resident in Hartlepool

“I’m really enjoying it. It’s given me the opportunity to socialise with the residents and staff and to get to know people better. They tell me I’m quite good, but I would not like to say so myself.” Betty Dennis. A resident at Hartlepool

As well as the Wii Fit being very enjoyable, it also has many benefits. The Wii fit builds up your fitness, body strength and balance over time depending on how much you use it. In this article, another study was taken in care homes and sheltered housing in greater Manchester and the study revealed that the Wii fit improves their strength, allowed them to stand up for longer, feel younger and much more confident. Overall, I love the Wii fit and think it is an excellent idea. It’s a great way to keep fit and it’s also great fun!

My next resource, I looked at “Productive group work: how to engage with students, build teamwork and promote understanding” by Nancy Frey. When reading this book, as I did not have a huge amount of time, I briefly read the more relevant parts that related to my project. When reading, I came across some interesting facts and studies related to group-working and they relates very well to our brief. I particularly liked the study about the food research and the use of different coloured ink to show the different answers and facts from the students.It showed that when these sentences were pieced together, they formed a small paragraph that gave all the correct information needed about their given food research. A great example of team working! It showed that every member of the team contributed and successfully completed the task they were set.

I think that both articles relate in some way because each article includes some form of “team work or group work”. The first article relating to the quality time parents have with their children when playing games as this is an example of working together and therefore, connects them. In the second source, this book discussed the importance of teamwork in the learning environment and how it could connect students and help them work together.

Bibliography

Fairbairn, Andrew. 2009. Elderly keeping fit with the Wii.www.neowin.net/news/elderly-keeping-fit-with-the-wii

Frey, Nancy. 1959. Productive group work: how to engage with students, build teamwork and promote understanding. Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, Sandi Everlove. Alexandria, Va.: ASCD, c2009.

Westbrook, Caroline. Playing video games together considered ‘quality time’ for children to bond with older generations. [Online] Available:www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2028918/playing-video-games-considered-quality-time-children-bond-older-generations.html. [23rd August 2011]

Team Meetings!

For a part of this assignment, we had to meet up with another team, in our case, Team 2 .

In Team 1 (our team) there was Colin Adams, Jennifer Heilbronn, Eilidh Alexander, Susan MacLeod and Jana Smuharova. In Team 2 there was Rosa Howie, Dione Bowlt, Alison Best, Eilidh Orr and Alicia Storie


We found this meeting very beneficial as we were able to discuss each teams developed ideas and see how they came to their final idea and vice versa. Our team brief was based on connecting the younger and older generations and our final idea was “The Social Centre”. Team 2 had a brief named “Mine for Life” and their final idea was medical alert jewellery that would have 2 sensors on either side of the body that would determine if the sound was coming from the left or the right of the person. I thought it was a really great idea and that it could become very successful!

Team Discussions. Team 1 & 2

Team 1 & Team 2

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This was a slide show from our team meeting in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Library. I found today very successful and found that working with another team really opened my ideas to different ideas and how to approach different things. Something I hope to use more in my own work!