In desperate need of help to make a creative presentation!

Ok long story short. I have worked with web design for years, but it has been +5 years ago now since. I haven’t been working with the Adobe suite for a while but have good knowledge in most of the apps.

I am not a teacher but working at a school with other things. Now I got this opportunity to have a class in a course called “Digital creation” (roughly translated from my language). It’s a course that teaches 17-18yo teens to use digital tools (they already have some knowledge), combined with working with real material. Last week was suppose to be my first lesson but I got sick so I had to cancel it, and instead I gave them an assignment for the next lesson which is on Friday.

The assignment to make a presentation of themselves in whatever way they want, as long as they use any digital tool(s). They got super thrilled and apparently started working on it directly (individually). The issue here is that I gave myself the same assignment, which means that I have to make a creative presentation too. And because I am their teacher (who they haven’t yet met) they will of course have some expectations from my presentation.

Due to crazy overtime at my other work as well as some other reasons, I haven’t been able to start working yet, and even though I’ve tried to make something tonight I have been totally blocked creativity wize and haven’t yet come up with any idea really.

So, I am in desperate need of ideas here. I only have tomorrow (like 6-7 hours) to work with it. I have to be smart here not to put myself into something that will take ages to make and is too complicated, but it should be creative and somewhat impressive. I didn’t say anything about what specific tools to use which means I can use my cellphone or whatever. Worth mentioning is that I am a musician and have quite alot of recorded songs that I can use.

Please guys and gals, help me out! There is no way I can come there on Friday and not have anything myself (or some really bad sh*t) :wink:

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You’re out of practice using digital creation tools, yet you want to demonstrate to your students your proficiency with those tools and what you can do with them. And you want to do so within the next few hours. That doesn’t sound reasonable

First, why do you assume that your students will expect you to do the assignment too? I don’t ever recall instructors doing anything like that or making an effort to demonstrate their abilities. Instead, it was just assumed that the instructors knew what they were doing.

Second, you’re scrambling at the last minute to pull off something that you’re not quite up to doing. The trouble here is that there are likely students in the class whose work will outshine yours. This won’t exactly inspire confidence in your expertise if some of the students do a better job at the assignment than you can do yourself.

You might be perfectly capable of leading the class, inspiring the students and having a good eye for the work your students do. There’s a difference between great design teachers and great designers — they obviously overlap, but they’re different skill sets.

Trying to prove yourself to your students will likely be better done by the feedback you give them on their work than on your attempt to impress them with your ability to do the assignment. Anyway, the class isn’t about you — it’s about your students. Focus on and worry about guiding them in the right direction, not on what you can or can’t do yourself.


Thank you so much for this, I don’t think you understand how much this single message means in the form of easing my stress. You are completely correct in every aspect and it is such an obvious thing when you point it out like this that I was on a completely wrong track.

The only thing is that I wrote in the assignment text that I will do it myself too and we will show each other, but I guess I have to find an excuse for not doing that now because they might be expecting it. On the other hand, I think that they’re more thrilled to show their own skills rather than seeing mine.

Thanks again!

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It’s good instructional practice for you to model the behavior you want them to emulate, but you should have done that at the time you introduced the assignment.

As the instructor, the authority, they will interpret your work as the benchmark. Never do that. Instead, find exemplary work done by others and present that at the time you are introducing the assignment. Showing them your example of ‘how it should be done’ at the same time they are presenting their final work will make you look like a jerk. What are they supposed to do with that information at presentation time? It’s too late.

Pick up a used copy of Models of Teaching by Joyce & Weil. It provides roadmaps for successful lessons.


Thanks and yes, of course you are right. I was in a moment of stress while writing the post and didn’t think clear. So thanks to you guys I didn’t fall into that trap at least.

Anyway, tomorrow they are going to present their works and the only real problem I see here is that I wrote to them that I should do it myself so they are expecting it. Of course I won’t do it (not even possible), but I guess I will have to say that I was stressed which they also know because I am working as the IT dude fixing everything on this and the school on the other side of the street.

Is it any idea to show them something other people have done after they have presented their own work or should I just skip that? Any suggestion how to start my first lesson tomorrow is greatly appreciated, as well as inspirational work to show in that case.

The lesson is two hours lnog and I need to fill up the time. Showing their work is one part of course and here I wonder if and how I should discuss their presentations? Of course I will do everything I can to avoid them feel ashamed, and if they don’t want to show their work for their whole class they don’t have to.

Another part will be talkning about the actual course and showing a presentation about what it actually is (already made), after shortly presenting me without showing any of my work. To be honest there aren’t really that much that I’m proud of that is available so if I am about to do that I have to do it some other time.

A summary of the course can be read down below so you know what it’s all about, but it’s in short about to use physical as well as digital tools to create different kind of works. An idea I have that they could do during the first lesson, which is suppose to be more of an introduction lesson (get to know each other and have fun basically) is the following. They are 8 students and I hand out these tripods for cell phones which can be attached to the tables and bent in different directions. Then they download a stop motion app and I provide materials (papers, pens, scissors, clay and so forth). And they make a short stop motion clip in teams of two. If the time isn’t enough to finish it’s perfectly okey of course. I am a chilled guy and usually has not problem handling unexpected situations.

So, what do you think of that? I am actually just about to try it out myself now as we speak to see how far you can get on an hour. I know stop motion is a tedious work but this is really just for fun and I will let them use storyboards and stuff before making their “movies”. They already know how to do that from another course.

I heard from another teacher that all of these students really love making movies so I think they will like the idea. Even me as an older dude think it will be fun :wink: But hey, if you think it’s an awfully bad idea let me know please. Other ideas to fill out the time would be highly appreciated of course as well of spin off ideas and suggestions for my idea.

Thanks again, life savers :wink:

** Course description (summary) **
In the course “Digital creation I” you learn how to use software used in digital creation such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign and Adobe Premiere. The course is about creative and design processes with digital tools in the border between artistic creation and technology. You develop your understanding of the transition from sketch and digital creation process to finished product.

If the work you are showing segues into the next unit, then I’d say show it. If it’s not connected to the next assignment, skip it.

When I was teaching, I would start by writing the final exam. I’d make a list of things the student should be able to do as a result of the course. I would write out the assessment standards… what knowledge and skills they would need to demonstrate to earn an A, B, C, etc. Then I’d work backwards and design the curriculum and lesson plans.

A balanced art education will incorporate history, criticism, aesthetics and technique. Unfortunately, when it comes to digital art education, a lot of educators teach technique and that’s it. They plop their students in front of a computer and show them how to use a program like Photoshop to make a business card, and that’s it. They just demonstrate technique and tools. You have to provide context, and you have to give them strategies for interacting cognitively with design.

This isn’t a complete lesson plan, but if I was brainstorming, I would start by looking on youtube for stopmotion examples I could show in class. Maybe there is a short video that goes into the history of the form. I would try to supplement that with additional clips… not full movies, but short clips. Wladislaw Starewicz, Jan Svankmajer, Brothers Quay, Henry Selick, Nick Park. And then look for contemporary videos that are more relevant to their experience. My niece is mesmerized by stop motion videos on youtube of Barbie dolls doing cooking demonstrations. I think there’s a direct line from there going back to Starewicz. 110 years ago he was making stop motion movies of insects playing little musical instruments. I think it’s important to show the chain of art history, how one generation builds on the work of the one before it.

I would think about breaking the lesson up into a series of short rapid exercises. Like, the first exercise is about using a slow frame rate. They have 8 minutes to create 2 three-second videos of a cut out circle bouncing, then rolling across the frame, and slowing to a stop. Then the next timed exercise is to do the same thing with a fast frame rate. Then you have a quick film festival of all the videos and everyone critiques what they are seeing. Keep track of the comments and suggestions they make on the board. There will be hands in the frame, shots where the camera got bumped, peoples shadows getting in the shot, the circle is moving too fast, too slow, etc. That’s where you get them talking about the aesthetics. This collected knowledge becomes part of the basis for the final exam.

Figure out a couple more relevant timed exercises, and repeat the process. Maybe one is about making objects move slower and faster. Another might be making them bigger and smaller.

Then use the last section of class to encourage higher order thinking skills. Give them a problem to solve using their new skills. Provide a simple script. They are going to use clay to depict a snail and a snake. The snail moves slow, the snake moves fast, and they both move simultaneously. The snake is going to eat the snail. Then film festival, critique, and preview of next lesson which will build on this one.

Totally missed notifications from your post, sorry for that.

Thanks alot for you informative post and all advices, highly appreciated! I decided to split the course into four parts:

  1. Image editing
  2. Video editing
  3. Animation
  4. Personal project (where they choose an area they prefer, e.g video editing if they are info that.

The first lesson went amazingly good. I prepered as much as possible until late night and went in with a “if shit hits the fan - so what, it’s my first lesson” attitude. They were only 5/9 students due to sickness which was good for my part of course.

I have a great skill in improvising which I had great use for, and came up with ideas during the short 10 minute breaks. The day before I came up with the idea of letting the students make their own websites with the use of “Weebly”, which if you haven’t heard about it is a very intuitive drag and drop CMS that doesn’t require any skills of programming. I found out about Weebly the night before and made the foundation of a course web, i.e. a web site that will be central for the course and include all the information what we will do, what we have done, what assignments they have and so on as well as linking to their personal web sites.

Because I have worked +4 years as a web designer and have 4 years of education in the area we talked about design principles and I came up with the idea that each and one of them should send me one site they like and one they don’t like, and then we looked at them at the screen one and one and talked about them. This was highly appreciated. It turned out that this class has barely touched Photoshop but are very creative and have great potential. I really like them!

I’ve had one more class since with all 9 students and the last one was not as structured due to that half of the class had to start from scratch with their web sites, but it worked at least. We started out with the Image editing part and I gave them an assignment to create a collage on the theme “color”, so we’ll see what will be the result from their work tomorrow.

I am as we speak planning for the next lesson now for tomorrow and during the week I have been working on the main site and a lot of practical things that had to be done (this on my free time due to other work as well). Anyway, this class needs to do active things and are easily bored so I will have to come up with some creative fun thing for tomorrow which I am brainstorming on right now.

If you have any idea of what that could be I would be more than happy. Really glad I found this forum with such helpful people like you and hope to be able to contribute to it through my journey.

One idea I have been thinking about is to make use of the big white board in the middle of the class room. These kids love to do (actually need to do) practical stuff to which is not digital and that goes well with the course plan. My idea is that I let they together draw stuff on papers, cut, glue and so forth to create something together (let’s say an elephant standing on a boat in the sky - something random and fun). They put it together on the white board and then when they are done they should one and each try to create their physical work in Photoshop using various of tools. I will of course guide them and show them different tips and tricks.

How does this sound? Any other ideas? :slight_smile:

Identify the objectives of the lesson, then figure out the activities.

I’m an anomaly here because one of my degrees is in education. Graphic Design Forum is mostly working designers and students discussing business practices and software features.

The National Art Education Association is the major professional body for art teachers in the US. They have an interest group for teachers who are especially interested in digital media, ed tech, and making art with computers. It sounds like that’s what you’re doing. You would get better feedback on lesson plans and instructional strategies through teachers, than you would here.

Oh, I see. Well extra thanks to you then Mojo for helping me out!

Yeah, you are of course right. Well in this case, the motives are basically to get the students motivated and start up this part of the course in a creative, fun, yet educating way. As the last lesson ended with the assignment to create a collage (mostly so I can see if and how much they can handle the Photoshop), I thought it might be a great transition to this lesson by continuing on the same theme.

Again this time in more of a hands on practical excercise that will make them active as well as learn how to collaborate. Again, after they’ve created the picture on the white board together they will use the basic tools in Photoshop to recreate the creation digitally.

I think this will be an interesting task which will make them motivated to try out different tools. But yet, I might be wrong hence I mostly wanted some opinions on the idea :slight_smile:

I will check out the links!

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