An educational rite of passage is for students, somewhere from the upper elementary grades through high school, to carry out one or more research projects and present/report out their findings.
Recognize this familiar scene: A student is standing in front of the classroom, holding papers or notecards. While describing his/her research project, the student displays a poster, images, or artifact.
More recently, many students have been relying on PowerPoint presentations, filled with bulleted text, images, video, and even audio.
In the last several years, there has been an explosion of new, cool technology tools available for creating the final products derived from conducting research. Any of the following technology tools can offer your students options for representing knowledge in multiple formats—a core principle of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
Consider exploring these tools and introducing them to your students.
- Prezi: Create 3D zooming presentations, collaborate with others, and share online.
- Voki: Create, save, and edit background scenes, edit audio messages, select and upload backgrounds, and post scenes online.
- VoiceThread: Upload images, video, documents, record audio, video, or text comments and then invite others to record comments as well. (See 100 Ways to Use VoiceThread in Education.)
- ThingLink: Within images, embed icons that open to textual explanations.
- WikiHow: Follow a standard format to create a How-to Guide by writing and illustrating an explanation for how to do something.
There are two relevant ELA Instructional Strategy Guides on PowerUp filled with suggestions for evidence-based strategies and technology tools. Check out “Conducting Research” (coming soon) and “Presenting.”