Sunday, August 9, 2009

Going back to school

Summer vacation is almost over. It's back to school the day after tomorrow.  Four days of in-service and then the kids start.  I've been thinking about what I'd like to focus on this year.  More and more its' coming back to the idea of presentations.

The question is how to work with teachers to improve the presentations that their students are doing.  Step one in this journey is going to be to approach the administration and ask for their support in improving student presentations and what that those might look like. 

We're going to be working within a Ramadan schedule which means late starts and early dismissals.  It also creates a lot of space for working with teachers on ther tech skills.  One of my colleagues sent out a proposed list of topics.  My biggest concern is that this list was all focused on different technology tools.  I don't think that there will be much uptake in the presentations offered. I think in a school, we have to be focused on what problems the students and teachers are having and what technological solutions can make their lives easier.  In this case, the curricular problem is powerpointlessness.  Too many presentations in school are just bullets and talking points.  I think the introducations to wikis and blogs also needs to framed similarly, otherwise, no one will use them.

The tie in for the admins is that this all fits very much into our school's mission of 21st century skills ( Communication and Collaboration), and within the ISTE NETS standard 2b of "communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats." It is cross curricular, and can be used in any subject. It also fits with 6b "select and use applications effectively and productively." and 6d "transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies."

Garr Reynolds
also writes about Pecha-kucha, the Japanese movement of 20 slides each for 20 seconds (6 minutes 40 seconds in total).  I might try running this as a club and see if I can get seven or eight students to prepare presentations and then have a competition of sorts one evening with the admins, and maybe some external people as judges. 

These two prongs will hopefully help improve our students' ability to produce effective presentations.  This is a skill that will stand them in good stead long after they graduate

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