This short animation below was adapted from a much longer presentation given by Sir Ken Robinson at the Royal Society of the Arts in London. In some ways I prefer the original one-hour version for the additional information and also for the richness of actually seeing Sir Ken and all his non-verbal signals. Seeing someone speak adds a layer of richness and engagement over just narration. However, I very much liked the animation-enhanced version as well, mainly because the audio was edited, which I think made the message tighter, stronger, and more memorable. The graphics are impressive. Having the entire animation canvas (which you could have on something like Prezi, for example) would be excellent for reviewing parts of the talk and going back and forth for review. I found the animation extremely helpful as I went back to review several parts of the talk.
The "aesthetic experience"
One of the most relevant things Sir Ken said related to presentation and engagement is when he touched on the issue of students being increasingly distracted and brought up the issue of aesthetic experience:
“The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An 'aesthetic experience' is one in which your senses are operating at their peak. When you’re present in the current moment. When you’re resonating with excitement of this thing that you are experiencing. When you’re fully alive. An 'anaesthetic' is when you shut your senses off and deaden yourself to what’s happening.”
“We’re getting children through education by anaesthetizing them. And I think we should be doing the exact opposite. We shouldn’t be putting them to sleep, we should be waking them up to what they have inside themselves.”
Keep them engaged
We don't usually think of "aesthetic experience" as described by Sir Ken above when we think of presentations or lectures or public speaking in general. But why not? We should be so lucky as to have our audience fully alive and in the moment with us as their senses are totally engaged with our message, a message that resonates and encourages participation. Public speaking and teaching is not fine art, but there is very much an art to it. When we are engaged with an audience in a manner that generates connections, participation, and conversations that affect change, we are speaking of an activity that is far more art than science. And while each audience member — or student — has a personal responsibility to make an effort to understand, it is our responsibility to "wake them up to what is inside themselves" by creating content that is relevant, including them through participation and dialog, and delivering material passionately in a way that stimulates their senses and emotions such as curiosity and amusement gained through discovery and learning something new.
Interview with Sir Ken Robinson
Here's a really nice interview with Sir Ken on Studio Q.