Friday, April 5, 2013

Student Presentations: Oh my!

Every day in my school, students use Google Presentations to share their knowledge and to "tell facts" to their class. It is torturous for both students and teachers.

The teachers and I really wanted to challenge the students to give engaging presentations, where the audience is engaged and learning. Then, I remembered the keynote speeches I saw last summer.

I was fortunate enough to attend Building Learning Communities (#BLC13) Conference that Alan November puts on each year in Boston, last July. What struck me about the keynote speakers was that they taught us all kinds of things without the traditional presentation slides. In fact, they displayed amazingly engaging images and few words.

When I saw the educational visionairies present, I thought, this is exactly what I have been trying to describe to my students! So, it has been my mission this year to challenge the students at my school to transform their presentations. I won't lie, it has been an uphill battle!
When I explained the new process to the students, I showed them TED talks, Eli Pariser's on online filtering, partly because it was an engaging topic for 8th graders, but also because his talk was a great example of the style of presentation I was proposing.

The students discussed what they noticed about the slides, then the candance of Eli's talk, but also about the stage. Once I pointed it out, the students noticed the teleprompter in the floor.
From there, we came up with a plan to create two presentations in Google Drive.
One presentation was the "teleprompter" with all the words the students were going to share. The other one was the presentation that the audience would see, with engaging images and little to no text. Then, on presentation day, the students had the projector hooked up to one computer, then another laptop for their teleprompter.
The teachers and the students loved the process because it allowed to students to give their presentation confidently because they had their notes in front of them to refer to, and then the audience loved it because they were engaged in the visually stunning images.

We are working on moving from telling of facts to creating something new with their new found steps.

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