Monday, November 24, 2014

Fight Back Against Presentation Boredom

Have you ever experienced "death by PowerPoint"? If you’ve never been there, consider yourself lucky.  Unfortunately, as a teacher, you could get stuck in a full hour of presentations with slides chalked full of words, where students showcase their reading skills by reading every single word directly off of the slide.  Well, Mr. Kopecky is working to fight back against presentation boredom in his criminal justice class. He encourages students to showcase good information in an interesting way. I observed him practicing some basic guidelines that any teacher can introduce in their classrooms.
1) Introduce Only.  Mr. Kopecky briefly introduces students to a variety of different tech tools, quickly showcasing the potential of the tool.  He spent, maybe 10 minutes of class time to do showcase the potential to students.  And there are so many technology tools out there that go beyond Google Slides.  He showcased prezi, eMaze, Dipity and Wordle.  My favorite example was his resume for Captain Crunch, serial killer.  There is no need to go too in depth with students on a specific tech tools. This is second nature for them.  They will figure it out.  And for those that don't figure it out, it can be remedied by a quick one-to-one tutorial.  This leaves the majority of Mr. Kopecky’s time to discuss with students the content and topic of their presentations.
2) Give Them Choice.  Allow students to choose technology tools that will best fit the story that they are trying to tell.  When students have the opportunity for choice a project, they feel more comfortable and confident that their project is something they are creating, not something teacher directed.  They become the owners of their content. Students that I talked with in his class appreciated the ability to choose how they presented their information.
3) Encourage a Tech Smash.  To truly overcome presentation boredom, you have to have a dynamic presentation.  Why use only prezi? A tech smash encourages the use of multiple technology tools to create a truly customized presentation. Mr. Kopecky stressed this with his students.  Create an infographic and add that to your eMaze presentation or create a wordle image and insert it into a prezi as the opening image.  Students picked up on this idea and were running with it.

I saw the beginnings of some great projects including a family photo wall of mobsters, a Facebook profile to tell the story of identify theft and a google map detailing the areas of Baby Face Nelson.  The possibilities are endless with the basic guidelines Mr. Kopecky has in place.

- Contribution from Amber Bridge, Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant. Want to share what is going on in your class or collaborate on a technology project?  Feel to to contact me

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

American Association of School Librarians Best websites and apps

I was hoping to attend this Iowa Library Association presentation on the AASL best websites and apps in October to learn a little, but when a colleague had to cancel in order to conduct professional development at her own school, I ended giving the presentation and learning a lot!

Information about each of the sites is linked using one of the best website tools, Thinglink. Any of them look interesting? I'll be more than (h)appy to help!