When it comes to teaching creatively we use both the heart and the mind in equal measure. ..
Pecha Kucha is a method of PowerPoint that has changed the landscape of presentations. It's translated as “chitchat,” designed and patented by architects Klein/Dytham in Tokyo in 2003.
A Pecha Kucha presentation utilizes imagery and efficient use of spoken word to create a seamless, memorable, meaningful and concise presentation. It's a great method for teaching students how to create their best presentations for class projects.
Designed to be completed in 6 minutes and 40 seconds, the rules regarding its composition are likened to visual Haiku. 20 images, 20 seconds each, and connected seamlessly with well-developed narration are your only rules. Certainly as both you and students acquire more skills, your messages can become strikingly unforgettable.
Here is a video on what Pecha Kucha is including a brief history and current practices:
Here is a video showcasing tips to help you make great Pecha Kucha presentations:
Guidelines for Your PowerPoint Templates
The process of setting up a template is quite simple and we’re going to tell you how to get started. The rest of the creativity is up to you and your students.
- Open PowerPoint. In slide view, right-click on the first slide on the left and select Layout and Blank. This creates a blank canvas.
- Right-click again on the slide and select Duplicate. This creates another slide just like it.
- Since the Duplicate command is already in PowerPoint’s memory, use the shortcut Ctrl-Y to repeat the duplicate (or just right-click duplicate again) 18 more times, for a total of 20 blank slides.
- Use Ctrl-A to Select all slides in the left, and then go to Animation, advance slide and set it to 20 seconds.
- You can also select transition styles and speed here. Just don’t choose Dissolve—the simplest is the best. Maybe nothing more than a simple fade.
Getting the Most Out of Pecha Kucha
Here are some tips for creating your presentation the Pecha Kucha way:
- Insert images as usual, resizing them to your liking. Purists will say there should be no text, only images or images with superimposed text on them already (caption images). Best practice is to fill the screen unless using space for emphasis.
- For stock images, check out the Web for open source images.
- Avoid writing out a script for your narration. Write a simple outline for the big ideas of each slide. The best situation is when you know your topic so well that you don’t even need an outline. Use the outline for planning purposes, then impress everyone without it when you present in person.
- Practice your masterpiece repeatedly until you get it just right. If you are new to presenting, use the narration the tool/rehearse timings in PowerPoint. The general word count is dependent upon your own pacing, but no more than 60 words per slide is a good start.
- You can also record your narrations within PowerPoint for each slide. But be sure not to “save timings” when you’re done, as that will negate the automatic 20 seconds you put in place previously.
Each Pecha Kucha can be a masterpiece, but don’t let "analysis paralysis" grab hold of you. Jump in and give it a try.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Dec 6, 2016, updated October 18, 2021