I hope you all had a restful weekend.
Today we started oral presentations in my grade 9 Immersion class. They mostly use PowerPoint and Prezi, and a few are using iMovie. What’s interesting is that last week, as I was driving in my car listening to my local news station, there was an interview with a gentleman who was talking about the fact that we actually don’t need PowerPoint to get our message across and engage our audience. He referenced studies that show retention of information through a single medium is higher. Of course, I couldn’t help but think of the presentations that my students were working on using PowerPoint. He did mention that if we are to use PowerPoint or Prezi, that we need to think about the audience first and foremost, rather than thinking about the content first.
The first time I gave students this assignment, I gave them a rubric with step-by-step instructions. However, I got presentations that were not very engaging, lacked organization, PowerPoint presentations with way too much text on each slide, students who were just reading the paragraphs they had typed on to their slides and presenting with their backs to the audience as they looked at the screen. That’s when I realized that I had to take them time to teach them how to give good presentations. It is a useful skill that they can use after they leave and move on to university or the workplace.
There is no question that students need to learn how to create effective presentations. I gave my students clearly defined goals and success criteria for this assignment. They were to create an organized presentation that was clear, easy to follow and had minimal writing on each slide. I explained to them that they had to face their audience, use just point form notes on the slides for important information that help the audience follow the presentation.
After I took the time to give them all these tips, the quality of the presentations increased dramatically. I’m glad I took the time to do that because hopefully, these are skills that they can use in other courses as well.
The presentations continue tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what they came up with!
Thanks for reading!