Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Finished Project

Here are some of the best slides created by my students related to Global Warming and The Greenhouse Effect. Again, the emphasis was tipping traditional presentations on their head. We talked about design, marketing, using images and conveying your idea in one single slide (we also talked about science). Unfortunately, the drawing feature in Google Presentations was added after we finished and would have been very useful.

One thing that is interesting is how many slides took the form of flow maps. We use a lot of these at our school and it is encouraging to see students actually use them to organize their thoughts. One question that I am still trying to figure out is how to make sure students are learning and constructing knowledge when they do these presentations. Any ideas? Are there always a few students that will spend a day working on a slide and miss the main idea? Next time I would like to incorporate the Presentation Chat feature so that we can all interact with the presentation.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Greenhouse vs. Global Warming

science619 is starting another Google Presentation project. This time we are taking two days to research and present the basics of the Greenhouse Effect and Global Climate Change using exactly two slides. I wanted to build on a few aspects from the last presentations and focus more on the the following. Thanks to UF for these ideas.
  • Use good images
  • Avoid bullets and lists
  • Think about design
  • Begin building knowledge by using links
  • Examples are better than definitions

I also decided to make a planning sheet that looked more like a website and less like a worksheet. Supposedly kids are screen-first and should take to this layout better than a piece of paper with lists of expectations. We'll see.

Lastly, I am also going to use a Google Custom Search Engine instead of providing a list of websites that I have previously vetted. This is a great tool to help scaffold searches. Despite the reputation that students are tech wizards it can be absolutely painful to watch them search the web. By previously defining the sites I want them to use they can still feel like they are part of the process and I know the information is solid. Next time I use Custom Search I plan on throwing in a few distractor sites to see how the students filter content. Stay tuned for a few samples.