They complained a bit, giggled and balked but finally started their presentations. Three eighth graders stood in my classroom in front of their MacBooks speaking out across the room as the laptop built-in video cameras recorded their speeches directly to iMovie. To graduate from Institute 1 (grades 7-8) at Hsinchu International School, all 8th graders must give a an end of the school year forty minute presentation to fellow students, parents and judges where they give examples of their learning demonstrating growth in our five student learning outcomes. With their “Exhibition” evening fast approaching, we realized that the MacBooks could become versatile feedback and learning tools.
After the initial recording session, the 8th graders reviewed their videos while making notes about their presentation skills. Whether it was poor eye contact, low voice output or killer smiles, the students found themselves facing undeniable evidence of their weaknesses and strengths as public speakers.
We could have used a camcorder and had the students take turns presenting but this would mean taking time to transfer footage from the camera to each student’s laptop. Students would also spend even more time sitting and watching classmates present when they could practice themselves and get immediate evidence of their progress. While we do set aside time for whole grade practice sessions, we are hoping that our version of the valuable technique of videotaping presentations will help our many ESL students not only feel more comfortable in their speaking but will push them to practice more on their own.
A coinciding use of the MacBooks is taking place in our 7th grade Language Arts class where Thomas Perkins has his students constructing a presentation skills rubric. The students first worked to create the rubric on paper. Now they are “laptop” videotaping themselves presenting for each of the criteria at the different score levels. Score a “4 out of 4” on the teaching rubric for Thomas in having his students engaging and learning about presentation skills by using thinking skills at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Thomas also gets bonus points for using technology to support and enhance the learning.
Image Source: http://www.michelem.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/macbook.jpg