Friday, September 24, 2010

A Work in Progress?

My goal this year was to use my lab to extend learning from the core curriculum. The eighth grade students have an assignment they are working on where they create a presentation about the European explorers from the 15th and 16th centuries. Here is a link to the actual assignment information. (Please note I did not type the assignment;)

Is this an incredible, transformative assignment? No, it relies too much on factual information which my students are getting online (not that there is anything wrong with using the net to gather info). If you looked at this assignment at face value it probably would be considered inadequate, but is it? What non-assessed things will my students be doing through this process?

They will have to analyse the information they gather for accuracy. One of my students found an explorer's birth date on Wikipedia to be in the 1800's! She brought this information to my attention and started a good conversation about reliability of all information.

They are working on their presentation design. Will their choices work with the assignment? Will they create their own Death by PowerPoint? How will the other students react to their choices?

They will have to present their PowerPoints. Will they read the information off of the slides? Will they speak with a loud, clear voice? Will they show sings of nervousness or even refuse to stand up in front of the class?

We often discuss the importance of grades, here is an example of where the most important parts of the assignment are not graded. This is a work in progress, but it is much farther along than it first seems.


Becky Goerend said...

I think Power Point basics are often neglected along with how to present. We just assume kids know how to do this or don't care as long as the correct information is included. They will benefit so much beyond their grades by learning about those things. It's basic communication!

John said...

You could also enhance the project by giving students the option to use other presentation tools. My favorites online are SlideRocket and Prezi, but there's a ton more for students to choose from.

Wm Chamberlain said...

@John, that is a great idea but the problem is we have to use PowerPoint. I would love to be able to give my students these options.