Posted by: shineonali | October 2, 2010

Digital Presentation

What a FABULOUS way to spend a Saturday.  My confidence level with creating digital presentations and stories (and more importantly, having students create them) has increased dramatically!

This week’s assignment was to create the digital side of a presentation we might use with students–either to present a lesson, or as a model of something they will be assigned.  I now have the skeleton of a new and improved final assessment project for my current reading unit, and ideas and skills for a project we’ll do with our Grade One buddies.  Plus zillions of ideas for future projects!

The “product” for my students will be a presentation about a book they have read as part of our character unit in reading.  The in-depth work on using strategies to understand character is not necessarily being assessed–that’s happening via individual conferences and reading letters.  What I am thinking about is a way to celebrate and bring closure to the unit.  However, many lifelong oral language, reading comprehension, and 21st century literacy skills will be utilized.  (Watch for more on this as it will probably turn into my project for this course.)

Danielle, Heather and I were all fascinated by the “5 frame” presentation format–which is derived from the pecha-kucha style of presenting.  You have a limited number of slides, each of which will be shown for 20 seconds as you speak.  Each slide should consist of one, or perhaps several, large images, with minimal use of text.  We all contributed to this sample, although Danielle and Heather would probably modify the assignment for their middle school students–perhaps changing the purpose to recommending a book, and certainly taking into account the familiarity their students have with the format.

Actually putting myself through the process of planning this sample digital presentation today was amazingly helpful. I have an entire page of ideas about how much structure I’ll need to give the students (LOTS, I decided, for 10 and 11 year-olds making their first presentations of this kind), what background knowledge and skills they will need in order to be successful with this project (definitely a little time to “play” with keynote, as well as a pre-project visual literacy activity around reflecting on what a given image might mean).  They already know how to search for Creative Commons-licensed images, but need to learn how to attribute the images they are using–this will be different than the way they do it on their blogs. They have a basic understanding of more concrete searches for images and web pages, but for this purpose, they may need to get more abstract and creative.  I’ll also need to give the students time to practice their presentations.

Presentation Zen, which I am reading right now, strongly encourages planning offline.  I envision giving the students a graphic organizer to plan their slides–a general idea of what will go on the slide side-by-side with what they will say about it.  But, after making my own presentation, I have to allow (and probably advocate) for midstream revisions to the plans.  As I worked, I didn’t follow my plan exactly.  (In fact, my message for the last slide didn’t become crystal clear for me until I was actually finding the images to support the idea!)

I’m really excited to see what the students make of this project.  Will they be excited to use the tools?  Will they find the visual literacy component challenging?  Will they give strong oral presentations?  Will they have to fight the impulse to add lots of text to their slides?

One decision I haven’t quite made…the students are reading several novels with a partner during this unit.  Even though Danielle and Heather hadn’t read the book I used, I think the kind of talk that happened during the planning and creating of this slide show was similar to the talk that would happen if partners were working together on a single project, and it made for great learning as well as a better presentation.   So I am leaning towards having the students work together…at least this first time?  Another option could be to let the students decide.  If a pair wants to create a single presentation, great, but if a pair would rather have each person make their own presentation (either about the same book or different books), they would have to act as consultants to each other along the way, giving each other feedback and assistance.

Thanks, Jeff, for an inspiring day.  And thanks to Mark for helping us to “Flip” out.  (In the teacher world, you achieve ROCK STAR status if you are behind the best digital video camera EVER.)



  1. Great ideas! Have been dying to read Presentation Zen for a few years.

  2. […] you may have noticed from my posts here and here, I have found this third COETAIL course very practical. Some of my learning has come from the […]

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