Conference presentations can take a range of formats including:
giving a paper that is lecture style, based on a project or program
running a workshop, which is by nature, interactive
forming part of a panel on a particular topic.
To inform conference participants of your intentions in your presentation, an abstract of your topic needs to convey clearly and concisely what you will cover.
100 - 150 words for workshop, colloquia presentation or non-refereed paper presentations
400 - 500 words for peer reviewed academic paper presentations.
Due Date: allow yourself plenty of time rather than last minute.
An abstract of a presentation may contain:
A statement about the broad focus your work or the question(s) underpinning your approach, including why you undertook it
A brief description of how you went about your work and what methodologies you used
Information about key/interesting findings with examples that may be digital images, video clips or audio or involve participants speaking in person, where possible
A statement about the significance of your findings and potential for future work or application in other contexts.
Remember to use language that is clear and appealing to the reader. Avoid too many acronyms!
Set the context and scope of the project
This project was inspired by the Tynecastle Initiative set up by Edinburgh's Adult Learning Project that followed Paulo Freire's principles of focusing on dialogue and the experiences of the participants, using soccer as a hook to engage footy fans in literacy practices. This project focused on the use of digital literacies to create a history of the local Mt Evelyn Football Club. An organic methodology was used to engage the club members in the journey to create the history. The presentation will reflect on the process and what was learned along the way and how the approach could be applied in other contexts.
Be clear about the purpose and target cohort in your abstract
This workshop outlines a model for integrating applied literacy skills into vocational study in the community services area. Students enrol in Certificate IV in Community Services Work and Certificate III in General Education for Adults (CGEA). The purpose of the CGEA is to equip the students with the formal literacy skills to support them in their current study, future study aspirations and workplace needs. When devising the program close attention was given to the development of employability skills as a response to the Victorian Government Skills Reform. The workshop will outline how the concept of applied literacy was introduced to the students, how the skills were taught and assessed (full integration into community services) and the outcomes for the students.
An abstract for a practical workshop should be clear about the purpose and anticipated outcomes
Teachers face many obstacles in the Maths/Science classroom, but what happens when the learners are of different ages, educational backgrounds and ethnic groups? The challenge is to engage everybody despite different abilities and entry levels. This practical and interactive workshop will provide examples of successful techniques and approaches and some generic take-away worksheets that will aid facilitating learning for a diverse range of students.
Presentations will vary considerably, depending on the topic and content.
A workshop will be interactive and enable experiential learning with lots of ‘take-aways’. Don’t just talk about it – do it!
A paper will be more theoretically based, however it should always relate to good practice and provide an exemplar for future projects or work in the field.
However, whatever the approach you take, remember that you want to engage your audience! Participants at a conference will be going from one session to another and will need to be stimulated by your presentation style as well as your content.
The following give some ideas on presentations. They are not intended to be prescriptive, but as a resource for preparing an interactive workshop.
It is important not just to talk about learning or activities in a workshop but also to model learning activities. When planning your workshop, consider how you might:
actively involve your participants from the start by posing questions or asking for their input
include an activity from the project you're describing
give participants a chance to share ideas and knowledge around key questions or concepts
utilize your experience with applied learning principles!
Setting up your presentation
Giving a presentation has some features in common with teaching.
As professionals from this field, we should be very aware of this!
It might be useful to group the concerns we raise under two or three main headings:
Set the scene: who are the students, others involved? Where?
We would like to be involved, engaged: use the bizarre, the provocative, the unexpected, questions, to encourage interaction rather than passivity.
Human interest stories make the presentation more accessible/vivid - perhaps use critical incidents.
Make key points short and punchy.
What is the question or topic you are interested in or presenting? Why does it interest you? What have you learnt?
We would like to learn something new - detailed, careful information helps.
Make clear the direction you are going, and why.
Organisation of the presentation
After you have set up your presentation (5 minutes approx.), you need to give your listeners basic information about your methodology (how you went about your study or project), what you have found (focusing on interesting findings or problems emerging with the study or project) and something about its significance. This is the ‘so what’ factor and is very important in bringing your presentation together.
Be aware of time use - is the presentation ‘do-able’ in the time?
There is nothing worse than a presenter who tries to ‘cram’ too much in. It is better to finish earlier, and leave room for questions
We need to be able to hear what is said, see what is shown
Use visuals, but not too many, or too crowded, or with too small a font
Avoid reading what is on any overheads or a power point: If you can say it, delete it!
Visuals should value add, or draw attention to key points, and not just be a script
Make sure the technical aspects work! Never assume! Be familiar with the technology.