Ms. Lombardi’s Grade 6 class has been studying earthquakes and tectonic plates as part of an Earth Science unit. Thinking ahead to the upcoming sixth-grade science fair, Ms. Lombardi wants her students to not only show artifacts, but also to make...
Giving students varied opportunities to create presentations provides them with multiple means of expression. Students can be taught to use technology tools to create multimedia presentations in the following ways:
Best Practices with Technology
Step 1: Provide Direct Instruction
- Using a think-aloud, demonstrate your own techniques for incorporating digital tools—such as Google Docs, PowerPoint, and the interactive whiteboard—into your classroom presentations.
- Focus explicit instruction on how to use specific tools in presentations.
Ways to help students utilize digital tools
- Share exemplary audio and video presentations, pointing out the tools and methods used by the presenter.
- Demonstrate the functionality of various tools (such as Google Docs, PowerPoint, and audio/video integration) in live presentations.
- Give students a set of criteria to consider when selecting a tool for a specific purpose.
- Differentiate instruction by providing step-by-step tutorials and models for various presentation tools, while allowing more proficient students to explore additional resources available online.
Teach students to become fluent with handwriting, spelling, sentence construction, typing, and word processing.
Step 2: Help Students Present for a Variety of Purposes
- Help students understand that different forms of presentations (e.g., digital formats) can be used for different purposes.
- Discuss and provide models for presentations designed for different purposes, highlighting how the tone, diction, and style are tied to the function of the presentation.
Strategies for teaching purpose-driven presentations
- Compare video clips of a descriptive or informative presentation (such as a TED Talk) with video clips of a persuasive presentation (such as an attorney’s closing argument to a jury).
- Have students present the same basic talk (e.g., on a favorite book) in multiple iterations, each with a different purpose (e.g., persuading, describing, analyzing, informing, narrating).
- Provide opportunities to practice presenting for varied purposes across content areas.
- Engage and expand students’ concept of audience by highlighting how a presentation with the same purpose would vary for different audiences (e.g., formal versus informal, peer versus adult, academic versus personal).
Teach students to use the writing process for a variety of purposes.
Step 3: Engage Students in Ongoing Assessment
- Have students use a rubric or feedback form to provide a speaker with feedback after their presentation.
- Add elements of speaking and listening to the latter stages of the writing process (publishing, sharing, and evaluating).
Ways to support presenting in the writing process
- Share early outlines of a presentation, takes, and rehearsals with the teacher, peers, and other adults in order to gather feedback and suggestions.
- Publish students’ written work as podcasts or record students’ in-class presentations to build a lecture or story-telling series.
- Evaluate the presenting student via an audio or video annotation tool or by giving a live “play by play” of a recorded presentation.
- Publish and share presentations to extend the community beyond the classroom via blogs, vlogs, audio- or video-recorded live presentations, podcasts, and annotated audio/video, with mechanisms for commenting and providing feedback to the presenting student.