Metawriting posts from the new blog location

Monday, November 7, 2011

Releasing students into the wild with digital presentations

I just posted the final assignment for my online writing class and I deliberately left things a bit loose and vague because I want my students to explore and experiment. I’m already anticipating this will freak out some of my students, but I hope that most will enjoy the challenge. Right now, as I contemplate my newborn assignment and dream about what the future could bring I am excited about the possibilities. Of course, the challenge will be working through that post-partum period after my students deliver their projects.

I have always had some sort of culminating project and/or presentation for my writing classes. In my early years as a teacher that was a portfolio but for the past few years that has meant a project, such as a blog. However, I wanted to allow more room for creativity and individuality, so while blogs are still on the table I’m hoping to get a wide variety of projects. I suggested they consider genres such as cartoons and brickfilms as well as more traditional types of presentations.

I have only two requirements for their projects. First, as they have been researching and writing about the communication requirements of their profession they must stay with that topic, and second, their presentation must be publicly available on the web and include interactive elements.

Some suggestions I have made to create and/or share their projects include:
·         Squidoo
·         Popplet
·         Pearltrees
·         Omeka
·         Storify
·         Posterous
·         Prezi
·         YouTube
·         Flipsnack
·         Slideshare
·         280slides
·         Google docs Presentations
·         Sliderocket

They have already done extensive research and writing about their topic over the course of the semester, so while they certainly can bring in additional information that is not necessary. I am also jumpstarting the project through some journal prompts. Am I wrong or right to let my students go wild with digital presentations? Should I give more structure and guidance? Have I overlooked or included tools I shouldn’t? What do you think? Share your thoughts about your own digital project assignments.

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