Leon Conrad is a highly experienced voice-centered communication skills specialist who has run training courses in voice-centered communication skills for business for over 20 years. He is co-founder and lead trainer at The Academy of Oratory and teaches communication skills for negotiators for The Negotiation Lab. Leon is passionate about traditional arts and crafts, storytelling, and about reviving the integrated approach to classical liberal arts education. Leon performs as a storyteller and performance poet. He lives in London, UK.
In this conversation, Leon discusses his book, Odyssey - Dynamic Learning System.
Geetesh: Tell us more about your new book, Odyssey - Dynamic Learning System – and how you conceptualized and evolved this book.
Leon: Odyssey, in a nutshell, is a simple approach to education that makes learning more effective, engaging, inspirational, and fun.
Odyssey works like a game. It's based on a grid of colored shapes -- each with an intriguing word, diagram, or picture on it. The goal is to travel through the grid, starting at the top left, visiting a set number of shapes. The goal is to end up at the blank shape at the bottom. The blank shape symbolizes a key learning point -- because we don't know what that will be, the shape is left blank. The content will emerge as a result of going on the journey.
David Pinto first developed the idea when he taught Maths to secondary schools students in the UK. He developed it as a desperately needed alternative to the traditional jug-mug approach to education, realizing that students were crying out to be inspired, engaged, and that they wanted things to just make sense. Odyssey allowed the delivery of necessary syllabus-based content, while fulfilling the need for being inspirational, engaging, fun learning -- and encouraged students to make sense of the subject matter for themselves, each in their own way.
The results he got were impressive -- in one case, after 5 weeks using an Odyssey Grid with a class of 13- to 14-year-old students working at level 3 out of six levels, they all moved up. Of the 24 in the class, 21 moved up a set -- already outperforming those in the set above them -- and three shot up to the top set.
David and I became friends after a chance meeting on the top of a double decker bus in London. We shared a common interest in a holistic, integrated approach to education, but it was around 3 years after our initial meeting that I found out about Odyssey. David explained how it worked and I used it when I was teaching an Oracy to Literacy program based on storytelling at a primary school in London, which the students loved and did really well with. When I told David what I'd done, we were both surprised to find I'd developed a new way of using the system. As a result we decided to write a book which covered both approaches.
I found PowerPoint really useful in developing teaching materials. As we recommend presenting material in riddle format, and vary the type of content as much as possible, the ability to hyperlink from shapes on a navigation slide and embed different kinds of content was really useful.
Geetesh: Presentations such as those created and delivered using PowerPoint can be both linear and dynamic (non-linear) -- in which scenarios, can a presenter and an audience benefit more from a slide sequence that's dynamic rather than linear?
Leon: Since the book came out in January, we've given presentations on the system using PowerPoint. We've designed presentations using an Odyssey Grid approach and have got audience members to select their own journey through the grid, learning about the approach by being immersed in it -- which has increased engagement, and enjoyment, made presenting and learning more fun.
I'm a big fan of PowerPoint - used well. The great thing about the program is that both linear and non-linear approaches can be used alongside each other as appropriate. Why go for an either/or scenario when it can provide a both/and option? While the overarching approach to going on an Odyssey journey is non-linear, any shape could link to a linear slideshow sequence if the content lends itself to being explored that way.
Odyssey is an incredibly flexible system. It's got four main advantages over traditional approaches to presentation or education. It's content-free, it's scalable, it's adaptable and it can work at any level.
Firstly, being content free, it can be used to teach any subject. It can literally be used by anyone to teach anything to anyone. Secondly, because it's scalable, it can contain anything from a whole year's syllabus, a term's project, the content for a single training day, but can also be used in an even shorter intervention. Thirdly, because it's adaptable, you can design Odyssey Grids to suit different requirements -- and there are many variations described in the book. For instance, you could explore David's approach to delivering a syllabus which is cumulative, in which one segment develops out of another, or Leon's approach to delivering a syllabus which is interconnected, but not necessarily cumulative. Last but not least, we've used Odyssey Grids at many different levels -- they work for corporate training and tertiary education as well as at primary and secondary levels.
Odyssey is released under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial License.
The book is available from major on-line retailers worldwide and can be ordered from independent bookstores or you can get a signed copy from OdysseyGrids.com.
If you're an Indezine subscriber, you can use code 'Indez15' at checkout to benefit from a 10% discount on your first purchase from OdysseyGrids.com.
A sample Odyssey Grid that introduces the concept of what an Integrated Approach to Liberal Arts Education means can be downloaded for free from the OdysseyGrids website here.
David explains the very simple idea behind Odyssey on this YouTube video.
Categories: books, interviews, powerpoint, presentation_skills
April 2003 | May 2003 | December 2003 | January 2004 | February 2004 | March 2004 | April 2004 | May 2004 | June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004 | September 2004 | October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005 | April 2005 | May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006 | February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | May 2006 | June 2006 | July 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006 | October 2006 | November 2006 | December 2006 | January 2007 | February 2007 | March 2007 | April 2007 | May 2007 | June 2007 | July 2007 | August 2007 | September 2007 | October 2007 | November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008 | June 2008 | July 2008 | August 2008 | September 2008 | October 2008 | November 2008 | December 2008 | January 2009 | February 2009 | March 2009 | April 2009 | May 2009 | June 2009 | July 2009 | August 2009 | September 2009 | October 2009 | November 2009 | December 2009 | January 2010 | February 2010 | March 2010 | April 2010 | May 2010 | June 2010 | July 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010 | November 2010 | December 2010 | January 2011 | February 2011 | March 2011 | April 2011 | May 2011 | June 2011 | July 2011 | August 2011 | September 2011 | October 2011 | November 2011 | December 2011 | January 2012 | February 2012 | March 2012 | April 2012 | May 2012 | June 2012 | July 2012 | August 2012 | September 2012 | October 2012 | November 2012 | December 2012 | January 2013 | February 2013 | March 2013 | April 2013 | May 2013 | June 2013 | July 2013 | August 2013 | September 2013 | October 2013 | November 2013 | December 2013 | January 2014 | February 2014 | March 2014 | April 2014 | May 2014 | June 2014 | July 2014 | August 2014 | September 2014 | October 2014 | November 2014 | December 2014 | January 2015 | February 2015 | March 2015 | April 2015 | May 2015 | June 2015 | July 2015 | August 2015 | September 2015 | October 2015 | November 2015 | December 2015 | January 2016 | February 2016 | March 2016 | April 2016 | May 2016 | June 2016 | July 2016 | August 2016 | September 2016 | October 2016 | November 2016 | December 2016 |
Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.