For the Multimedia Project Assignment, I created a Prezi presentation that showed the itinerary for a virtual roadtrip around the United States. Students choose four states to research for their roadtrip. The learning goal of this assignment was for students to learn about the geographic features and historical importance of cities and states in the US, and for students to develop important research, writing, and presentation skills in creating their projects. This assignment is a fun way for students to learn more about US geography and history, but steps need to be taken in order ensure students are fully comfortable with Prezi as a new web-based presentation resource.
This project consists of two parts: the research portion, and the presentation portion. In the research portion, students use web-based resources to research each of their four states, and copy their research on provided guided-notes worksheets. Therefore, I need to reserve laptops for several days (3-4) for my students. At my observation school, this is done through the media specialist, and usually must be reserved a week in advance. Although most students have used web-based resources before, I would still want to guide them through this process, and possibly provide them with helpful research links, including state and city tourism sites to make their research easier.
The presentation part - where the students actually create a Prezi - will involve a bit more preparation. Because Prezi is a web-based resource, users must sign up for an account using an email address in order to use the site. Rather than have each student make their own account (which might lead to some problems if not every student has an email address, for example) I will create a master account, and have students use this account to create the presentations. In order to do this, I first need to create an account and provide students with a password. I would then create a sample Prezi if my own roadtrip, so that students can see what they are supposed to do for the project. I would present this sample Prezi in class, after each student has finished his or her research, but before they are given class time to work on their own Prezis. Additionally, I will need to create a blank template for students to use to create each of their presentations. Though this limits their creativity, I think this is the best way to gradually introduce them to this new resource, without overwhelming students. The blank template will be easy to use, and have descriptions and explanations for what should go on each slide.
This is an individual assignment, where each student works on their own. I plan on giving students ample time in class to complete this project, so that they do not need to worry about having access to the web at home. If students need more time to complete the project, I would provide students with opportunities to come in after school or during free time in school (such as lunch or advisory period) to complete the assignment.
Since Prezi is a fairly new presentation tool, I am assuming most students have not been exposed to this resource before, and therefore must be very thorough in my explanation of how to use the site. As I discussed in the previous section, I will introduce students to the site first by presenting my own sample Prezi presentation in class. Then, I will give the following instructions to my students, in this order:
- Go to www.prezi.com
- Sign in using the same given username and password
- Go to “Your Prezis”
- Click on the tab “Your Prezis” at the top of the homepage
- Click on the Prezi “Student Template”
- Click on the tab “Save a Copy” underneath the Prezi
- You will be directed back to the “Your Prezis” page. Click on the Prezi “Student Template Copy”
- You will be directed to a new Prezi presentation. Click on the title “Student Template Copy,” and rename the Prezi using the following format: “[Your Full Name] Roadtrip”
- Click on the “Edit” tab
- Begin your presentation!
Obviously, these are a lot of instructions. In order to ensure my students follow these instructions, and do not get overwhelmed, I will either copy them to the whiteboard, or pass out a typed instruction sheet, in addition to very clearly and patiently going over them. I will encourage students to ask for help and clarification during the process.
I will then walk students through creating their first slide - I will demonstrate that you must first click on the slide boxes, and then begin typing information found in their research. I will explain to students that the research portion of the project is now completed, and they will use the research they outlined on their guided worksheets to create their presentations. I will also demonstrate how to upload pictures, as the project expectation requires a picture for each slide. Again, I will encourage questions and comments from my students.
Students might be overwhelmed when first using this tool. They might get lost trying to personalize their presentation, so I will need to constantly monitor my students by walking around the classroom, and asking them to update me on their progress, to ensure they are staying on task. Additionally, I will provide benchmarks students should meet after each class - so for example, after day one, students should have two slides completed - so that students will continue to stay on task. In order to prevent students from getting lost or overwhelmed, I will thoroughly explain how to use the tool, as outlined above, and be ready to help students when needed.
I will debrief students at the end of the project by asking them what they thought of Prezi. Some students might like the tool, while others might think it was too complicated. This feedback is important to me, as the teacher, for future lessons. Additionally, part of the project is the presentation. Students will present their projects to the class. As part of an assessment, students will also write a brief reflection on what they have learned from the project. Together, these two components will effectively assess student performance and the learning goals. I will provide each student with written feedback regarding their research, presentation skills, and the Prezi project itself so that students can gain a full learning experience from this assignment.