Build a PD Initiative on Pecha Kucha

by Jean Tower

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha (pronounce: pechachka) is a presentation format that limits the presenter to 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, making the entire presentation 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Some of the key characteristics of a Pecha Kucha are that they are:

  • Concise
  • Brief
  • Focused
  • Very Visual

Pecha Kucha enforces a discipline. It requires the presenter to be focused and concise. In all actuality, the 20 seconds per slide could be shifted slightly if necessary, because it is the concept that is important, not the exact 20 seconds.

I have been presenting on the topic to educators and school administrators as a way to keep professional development and collegial sharing on the agenda at every meeting. If we can set aside just 7 minutes at the beginning of faculty, grade level, department, and administrative meetings, we could create a stronger culture of professional sharing about best practices.

I started thinking and working on this because I have heard so many times that there is “no time” for technology related professional development. I think we can make the time when we agree on constraints like those that define Pecha Kucha. If I were the school principal, I would ask teachers to do a 30-second introduction, then the 20 slide presentation, then have just a few minutes for questions and answers.

In order to understand the format better, watch Daniel Pink’s video.

After viewing the video, you may want to see a couple of examples. One source is Pecha Kucha Organization.

If you are going to try your hand at this, I also suggest you look at Brain Rules for Presenters by Garr Reynolds. This is a presentation on slideshare and it provides a nice perspective on making your presentations engaging.

One aspect of engaging presentations is that they are very visual. For example, below is a Pecha Kucha that I presented. Since it is very image-centric and there aren’t lots of words, it doesn’t stand up as a presentation on its own. What I say when I give the presentation is more important than what is on the slides, or at least as important.

People tend to use PowerPoint (or KeyNote or SlideShare) in one of two ways –

  • as a teleprompter, containing everything they intend to say, or
  • as an illustration to reinforce what they are going to say.

Pecha Kucha definitely falls into the latter category, stylistically.

Finding Images
You want to find high quality images that really illustrate what you are talking about. The images should not just be decoration on the slide, but should help to make your point and to make it memorable. You want to be sure that the images you select are labeled for reuse. I collect images that I think illustrate big concepts. I have quite a library of downloaded images. I always keep the source URL with the image so that I can credit it when I use it.

If you are new to the concept, a good source of information is Creative Commons.

In this related post, I list lots of resources for finding good images for your presentations.

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