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Pecha-what? Increasingly popular communication tool relies on imagery and speed

Presentation technique to figure prominently in Werklund School’s spring conference
January 7, 2014

PechaKucha began more than a decade ago as a means to allow people to share and exchange ideas. 

If someone says “PechaKucha” to you, is your first instinct to respond sympathetically because you thought they had sneezed? Does it make you want to tickle a baby under its chin? Or do you figure it’s some sort of new, exotic dish from a far off land?

If you guessed any one of these possibilities, you’d be very, very wrong.

PechaKucha is a format for presentation consisting of 20 slides,” explains Paulino Preciado, postdoctoral fellow in the Werklund School of Education.  “The presenter then spends only 20 seconds on each slide, for a total presentation of their subject in just under seven minutes.”

Believe it or not, PechaKucha, the Japanese phrase which translates to “the sound of conversation,” began more than a decade ago as a means to allow people to share and exchange ideas.

“It’s becoming more and more popular because it allows for succinct and powerful communication based mostly on images,” says Preciado.  

While the format is most often used for live presentations, many conferences around the world have used it for online participation. And that’s exactly what the Werklund School of Education plans to do.

This spring, a conference focusing on education innovation will be held on campus, and PechaKucha will figure prominently in the program. The conference, called IDEAS: Rising to the Challenge, will focus on creating opportunities for participants to inform each other’s work, to build on ideas and to challenge the ideas of learning and teaching.

According to Brenda Gladstone, co-chair of the conference and Chief Operating Officer of the Galileo Educational Network, the two-day event is for innovators, designers, educators, academics, researchers and students (hence the acronym IDEAS).

“Participants will build new knowledge networks,” says Gladstone. “These networks will focus on scholarship for teaching, in which research informs teaching and leading practices, and leading edge practices from the field inform research.”

“New collaborations will be fostered along with new ways to engender design thinking and student-centred learning.”

The conference, in its second year, brings together local and national leaders and learners.

The Werklund School of Education has a very large distance graduate student body, numbering in the thousands.  Since many online students will not have the opportunity to participate in person in the many sessions taking place in Calgary, making use of the PechaKucha provides another way for their participation in the IDEAS conference.

Paper and PechaKucha proposals are due January 17, and the IDEAS conference runs from May 9-10, 2014.