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TED-Ed Club Workshop: Using STARS for visual aids

By Caroline Cristal on April 4, 2014 in News + Updates

Photo courtesy Dylan Ferniany

Photo courtesy of Dylan Ferniany

Creating great visual aids to support presentations can often make the difference between an average presentation and an interactive one. An evocative photograph, for instance, can instantly place a viewer in a new world that might be difficult to describe with just words. A graph or a map can help contextualize an otherwise confusing jumble of numbers. In one of the first TED-Ed Club workshops, guest host Jan Mattingly introduced the mnemonic device STARS to get students thinking about how they can start supporting their big ideas with impactful visuals.

Photo courtesy Dylan Ferniany

Photo courtesy Dylan Ferniany

On Monday, March 31, TED-Ed held one of its first TED-Ed Clubs workshops, hosted by Homewood Middle School’s TED-Ed Club in Homewood, Alabama. Jan Mattingly, director of Dynamic Education Adventures and recent TEDxBirmingham speaker, hosted the session. In the workshop, Mattingly suggested that creating strong visuals can be done by using the mnemonic device STARS.

Mattingly teaches that focusing on “Simple” visual aids “To add” to the presentation is the first step in the process. She advises finding the simplest image that has the biggest impact, and also recommends being very selective about the amount of words used in a visual aid. Mattingly also places importance on including “Attractive” visuals that are interesting to the audience, while also thinking about how to strategically “Reveal” those visuals during the presentation. Finally, Mattingly stresses that “Starting to practice early” and often will help in deciding if some visuals are necessary or not and, most importantly, will make a great presentation overall.

Oh, and she also set a dollar bill on fire. To see why, and for more information on how to create strong visuals, watch the workshop here: