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close this bookAudio-visual Communication Handbook (Peace Corps; 1989; 134 pages)
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPlanning instructional materials
Open this folder and view contentsUsing media
close this folderPresentation methods and materials
View the documentDemonstrations
View the documentField trips
View the documentPresentation boards
View the documentOther presentation media
View the documentThree-dimensional materials
View the documentProjected materials
View the documentRecording
Open this folder and view contentsBasic production Techniques
Open this folder and view contentsWriting
View the documentAppendix 1 - An example of the four steps in planning
View the documentAppendix 2 - Evaluation procedures
View the documentAppendix 3 - Communication factors in family planning
View the documentAppendix 4 - Formulas
View the documentAppendix 5 - Equipment construction plans
View the documentAppendix 6 - Sample illustrations
View the documentAppendix 7 - Lettering patterns
View the documentAppendix 8 - Media comparison chart
View the documentAppendix 9 - Notes on the use of audio-visual equipment
View the documentAppendix 10 - Sources of information

Presentation boards

There are several different types of presentation boards that can be used to supplement a lecture or demonstration. These include bulletin boards, chalkboards, electric boards, flannel boards, magnetic boards, and plastigraphs. When using any of these, a few basic ideas should be kept in mind.

- Base the selection of a presentation board on the audience, the goals, the content being presented, and available materials.

- Choose and organize content in terms of audience and goals.

- Use one idea, presented in a simple, straightforward manner.

- Attract and hold the attention of an audience by using basic principles of color and design to combine good, neatly-mounted illustrations with legible lettering.

- Evaluate effectiveness by asking appropriate questions relating to planning, production, and use.

Bulletin Boards

One of the most common types of presentation boards is the bulletin board which can be:

wallboard, plywood, or hardboard pegboard
the wall of a building
a blanket stretched tautly between two trees
a banana leaf or a grass mat tacked to a wall
heavy corrugated cardboard wire screening.

What is chosen will depend on what is available as well as the nature of the display. A banana leaf may be fine for a temporary display, but in a classroom something more permanent is needed. A sheet of wallboard is ideal. It is lightweight and strong, and displays can easily be fastened to it.

A frame of some kind usually improves the appearance of a board. While an effective frame can be constructed from wood, good results can be had by using such materials as rope, bamboo or palm fronds as frame materials.

The appearance of a bulletin board on a wall or sheet of wallboard, plywood or hardboard can be improved by painting or covering it with cloth, wallpaper, newspaper or matting. Interesting effects can be achieved by crumpling paper and smoothing it out to create a textured surface for a background. Be sure that the background is not so busy that it detracts from the display. Avoid cloth or wallpaper with conspicuous patterns.

If the board is to be placed outdoors, it is best to find or make a shelter for it because sun and rain can quickly undo hours of hard work. A covering of clear plastic, if available, also protects an outdoor bulletin board.

There are many ways to fasten materials to a bulletin board - thumb tacks, push pins, bamboo splinters, thorns, staples, glue, tape or straight pins. One of the most satisfactory methods is straight pins because they are inconspicuous and easily removed without damaging the board or display elements. Tape loops, with the sticky side out, are good for holding pictures and other lightweight materials, but tend to lose their grip in a day or two, particularly in hot. humid weather.

Bulletin boards can be made effective In many ways.

- Choose a location where the board will be seen. In the community this might be in the market place, by the post office, or near a well-traveled path. In the classroom it might be above a work table or opposite the doorway so the students see it as they enter the room. No matter what the location, it should be placed at a height that is appropriate to the viewers, and there should be adequate light so it can be easily seen.

- Keep the bulletin board neat and clean. If used for announcements, remove old materials promptly.

- Use a variety of techniques to attract attention. Extend some display elements out from the board. This can be done by mounting a picture or object on a small box and then attaching the box to the board. Extend titles beyond the boundaries of the board, thus pulling the viewer's eye into the main display. In addition to pictures, try displaying real objects. A few stalks of rice, a syringe, a specimen or a swatch of cloth will add appeal and credibility to displays on agriculture, public health or home economics. Real objects create interest, and the message is likely to be remembered longer.

- Use a variety of lettering techniques Letters can be cut out of paper, cloth, cardboard, or wood. Yarn, rope, grasses, vines, and wire can also be used as effective lettering materials. Be sure there is sufficient contrast between letters and background to maintain good legibility.

- Involve the audience. Displays can ask questions that relate to the needs of the audience. Handout leaflets can be a part of a display.

Suggested Applications

To announce film showings, demonstrations, visits by doctors or extension workers.
To remind people to get an inoculation, spray their house, weed their crops, etc.
To display posters, charts, wall newspapers.
To display photographs of local activities.
To make comparisons. For example, a display of two ears of corn - one from a fertilized field, one from an unfertilized field - or photographs of well-fed and poorly-fed children.
To display pictures of projects in other places that are of local interest.
To introduce a new topic in the classroom.
To provide a reminder of topics that have been discussed.
To display student work.
To provide supplementary information.
To announce various events.

Evaluation Questions

Always try to get some measure of the effectiveness of a bulletin board. There are many questions that can be asked.

What percentage of the people passing a display stopped to look?
Who stopped to look?
What could have been done to attract more attention?
How long did people look at the display?
Was the lettering legible?
Was the message easily understood?


The best-known and most easily-used presentation board is the chalkboard. If a ready-made chalkboard is not available, one can be made by painting a smooth piece of plywood with blackboard paint or any flat, dark-colored paint. Careful sanding of the board before painting will pay off in appearance and writing ease. Small portable chalkboards can be made of painted hardboard or a piece of oilcloth. Rub the smooth side of the oilcloth lightly with fine sandpaper so that it will accept the paint. Stitch the bottom and the top to bamboo sticks, and the chalkboard can be rolled up for easy carrying. By covering the back of a chalkboard with flannel a combination chalkboard-flannel board can be made that is very useful for extension workers in the field. Before writing on a new chalkboard for the first time, be sure to wipe it all over with a cloth or eraser covered with chalk dust. This will make subsequent erasing easier.

Chalkboard presentations can be improved by following a few guidelines.

- Always plan carefully. Know what will be put on the board in order to plan for the use of space. Lightly sketching material on the board in advance can sometimes be helpful.

- Make writing and Illustrations neat and legible. Use an easily-read writing style and be sure that the chalk contrasts with the board. A clean board is essential. Erase carefully with vertical strokes and wash occasionally.

- Don't talk while writing on the board.

- Don't stand in front of material that the audience should be able to see.

- Don't put too much on the board. If it is necessary to put a large quantity of material on the board, do it in advance of the presentation. To avoid distracting the audience, such materials can be covered with sheets of paper which are removed as necessary.

- Be sure that the audience can see. This is more than legible writing and clear illustrations. There should be adequate lighting and a minimum of glare.

- Use color for emphasis. Light colors are generally more legible than dark colors. If chalk is difficult to obtain, make your own. One method is described in Appendix 4.

- For making accurate geometric shape., use cardboard templates. Circles can be made by using a piece of string with a loop in one end to hold the chalk or with a bamboo compass. To make a bamboo compass:

1. Cut two bamboo rods about 1/2 inch in diameter and 16 inches long.

Bamboo rods

2. Make a slit 1/8 inch wide and one inch deep in the end of one rod. Chalk is held in this end by clamping it with a strong elastic band.

3. Fit a sharpened wooden peg snugly into one end of the rod.

4. Cut one-inch notches at the other ends of the rods leaving only 1/4 of the circumference. Drill holes in these ends and fasten them together with a bolt and wing nut.


- Drawing complicated illustrations that have to be used on numerous occasions can be simplified by using the screening technique. Follow these directions:

1. Stretch a piece of mosquito netting on a frame. Using a brush and thin paint, a crayon or a felt point pen, make the drawing on the screen. It is easier if the drawing is made on paper first, then traced onto the screen.

Mosquito netting

2. Place the screen against the chalkboard and draw over the painted lines with chalk.

Drawing with chalk

3. Remove the screen and go over the lines with chalk to make them stand out.

Stand out the lines

By using several colors of paint, several outlines can be made on the same screen which can be used indefinitely.

Several outlines

- Dot-dusting techniques can also be used for making complicated drawings by following these steps:

1. On a large sheet of heavy paper make a careful line drawing as it should appear on the board.
2. With a large needle make small holes along the lines of the drawing about an inch apart.
3. Before the audience arrives, place the paper against the chalkboard and pat a dusty eraser against it. A dotted outline will be transferred to the board which can be completed immediately or during the presentation.

Suggested Applications

To summarize the key words of an oral presentation.
To list the steps in a process (also might be repeated in a leaflet to be given to the audience).
To list ideas suggested by the audience when planning group projects. This helps them to feel involved.
To list audience responses to questions. For example, to list the foods in different food groups.
To work out weekly or monthly plans.
To list assignments.
To provide student demonstration and drill in arithmetic. Using the chalkboard allows the teacher to watch several children at the same time and often uncovers problems that would go unnoticed if the child stayed at his desk.
To develop a story point by point.
To locate cities, rivers, mountains or other features on a map. The chalkboard is particularly useful for this purpose where maps are scarce.
To present new words or terms.
To visualize information graphically through the use of various kinds of graphic presentations. Pie charts, line charts and bar charts are particularly adaptable to chalkboard presentation.

Evaluation Questions

Was the material to be presented carefully organized in a logical manner with sufficient repetition and emphasis of important points?
Was all material on the board neat, legible, and easily understood?
How could the presentation have been improved ?
Was the chalkboard the most appropriate medium to use?

Electric Boards

An electric board is designed for audience participation, and is primarily suitable for classroom use or for use as part of a display at an agricultural or health show. In its simplest form there is a list of questions and a list of answers with an electrical contact beside each. To use, the viewer touches a wire to the contact beside a question and a second wire to the contact beside the answer he thinks is correct. If correct, an electrical circuit is completed and a light turns on or a buzzer sounds.

To make a simple electric board, proceed as follows:

1. Gather these materials - an appropriate sized piece of plywood, hardboard or heavy cardboard for the backing nuts and bolts or split paper fasteners for the electrical contacts heavy paper or cord for the questions and answers single strand electrical wire a flashlight bulb two flashlight batteries.

2. Mark out the areas for the questions and the answers on the board. Questions can be lettered on paper or cardboard and glued in place, or slots can be easily changed.

3. Drill or punch a small hole adjacent to each question and each answer, and put a paper fastener or a bolt through each hole for a contact. Drill two holes for the connecting wires and one for the bulb.

4. On the back of the board, connect the contact beside each question to the contact beside the correct answer to that question. Connect the batteries and bulb as shown. Leave the lead wire long enough to reach each of the questions and answers. Batteries can be taped to the board, and wires can be taped to the proper terminals; however, to avoid problems with bad connections, use a bulb socket and a battery holder and solder connections. Nails can be soldered to the end of the lead wires to make them easier to use. Ingenious ways of construction can be devised by using parts of an old flashlight. To prolong the life of batteries, be sure lead wires do not touch when the board is not in use.

To make your electric board effective:

- Choose a suitable location. Not only must the electric board be seen, but it must also be in a place that is convenient for people to use it.

- Try variations of the basic board. Make a board in an unusual eye-catching shape. Use a colored light or three-dimensional materials. Incorporate the light into the design of the board - a star could light up when the correct contacts are touched.

Suggested Applications

To relate authors with the books they have written.
To help children learn the locations of countries or the names of capital cities.
To add variety to arithmetic drill.
To identify bones or other parts of the body.
To relate specific foods to the food groupings in which they belong.
To associate animals with the products they provide.

Evaluation Questions

Does the electric board attract attention?
Does the novelty of the board detract from the message it is Intended to communicate?
Would some other medium have been equally effective with less effort?
Can the questions and answers be changed conveniently?

Flannel Boards

The flannel board can be useful in conjunction with an oral presentation. Items can be placed on the board progressively to tell a story or to keep the audience aware of the main points in a talk. The construction of a flannel board or felt board is simple.

Flannel Boards

1. Cut a piece of plywood, wallboard, hardboard or heavy cardboard to the appropriate size. For audiences up to 100 persons, a 3 x 3 foot board is about right.

2. Stretch a piece of rough-surfaced cloth, such as flannel, felt, wool, raw silk or burlap, over the board, and fasten it securely in place with tape, staples or thumb tacks. A rough-weave blanket in a dark, neutral color is ideal and usually is readily available at minimal cost.

A wide variety of materials will adhere readily to such a board. These include:

Cloth cutouts
Pieces of yarn or string
Blotting paper
Thin strips of rough-surfaced, light wood
Cardboard strips backed with a piece of rough cloth or coarse sandpaper. If sandpaper is not available, spread some glue on the back of the cardboard. Before the glue dries, sprinkle it with sand.
Photographs or other illustrations can be backed in the same manner as cardboard strips.

When using a flannel board, keep a few simple ideas in mind:

- Lean the flannel board back slightly when in use. Materials are less likely to fall off.
- Avoid windy locations. Materials may blow off the board.
- Carefully plan the steps of the presentation. Making rough sketches of the final board can help in the design of more effective materials.
- Rehearse the presentation in advance. This will give time to make necessary changes.
- Stand beside the board, not in front of it. The audience should be able to see it at all times.
- Consider legibility. Be sure that all words and illustrations are large enough to be seen and simple enough to be understood by the audience.
- Leave items on the board only as long as they are needed.
- Avoid excessive handling. It distracts the audience.

After a classroom presentation, a flannel board can be displayed in another part of the room to serve as a reminder of the lesson.

Suggested Applications

To show the relationships of parts of geometric figures.
To teach vocabulary by relating words to pictures of various objects. Children can actively participate by choosing the proper words and placing them by the pictures they represent.
To stimulate participation in drills on word endings or arithmetic problems.
To illustrate a children's story.
To illustrate chemical structures.
To list the steps in a demonstration.
To illustrate a story or a process as it Is being explained.

Evaluation Questions

Was the flannel board relevant?
Was the material organized logically in a way the audience could understand?
Was the presentation smooth? If not, why not?
Were all words on the board legible?
Did the flannel board presentation help meet the objectives?

Magnetic Boards

Magnetic boards serve the same function as flannel boards. The only difference between the two is the adherence method. The magnetic board is usually a thin sheet of iron. Display items have small magnets fastened to them with glue, tape or wax. The board should be painted to Improve its appearance and to prevent rusting. The paint will not appreciably affect the magnetic attraction. Magnetic boards can also be made by stretching a piece of ironwire screening on a piece of plywood or on a wooden frame. In the latter method the display items seem to hang in mid-air.

Because magnets are a bit difficult to find, the magnetic board is less practical than a flannel board; however, it can be very useful when display items are heavy or when presentations must be given in windy places. It should be noted here that new hook and loop materials are available in some places and have similar advantages.


The plastigraph is similar to the flannel board except for the board covering and the materials to be used on it. These materials are cut from sheets of polyvinyl chloride, a thin, flexible plastic often used for tablecloths. Polyvinyl-chloride materials stick to glass or other smooth surfaces and are available in many brilliant colors. They are particularly adaptable for teaching children the basic concepts of color, shape, size, and number.

Stands for Presentation Boards

Frequently, a bulletin board, a flannel board or similar materials need to be displayed in front of a group where there is no convenient wall or tree on which to place the board. Several kinds of display stands can be made.

A simple cardboard easel is ideal for holding pictures mounted on cardboard or in tape-framed mounts. Materials needed are a piece of scrap cardboard and some paper or cloth tape. Use the pattern shown as a basis for making an easel the needed size. If the easel is to be twelve inches high, use two pieces of cardboard about 6½" x 12". Steps for making the easel are:

1. Draw the outlines of the easel on cardboard. An easy way of transferring this pattern to cardboard is the squaring method.

2. Cut the cardboard with a sharp knife or razor blade.

3. Place the pieces of cardboard about 1/4" apart as shown and tape them together over the space. Turn the card-board’s over and tape on the other side. Trim the excess tape and the easel is ready to use.

Painting the cardboard makes a fancier easel. To hold flannel boards or bulletin boards, larger versions of this type of easel can be made from thin plywood or hardboard (masonite). Use cloth tape for the hinged joint, as paper tape will tear with use.

A tripod easel can be constructed to hold a flannel board or flip chart. Materials needed are three pieces of bamboo about five feet long, a couple of wooden pegs, and some heavy cord.

1. Drill a hole near one end of each pole and tie the three pieces together securely, but not so tightly that the tripod legs cannot be folded together.

2. Drill another hole near the center of each pole and tie a four-foot piece of cord through these holes to form a triangular support.

3. Drill two additional holes at a convenient height and insert wooden pegs to support a flannel board or similar materials.

A stand of this kind is sturdy, easy to build, costs very little, and is convenient to carry and to use.

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