Today we are wrapping up our discussion of what is in and what is out in English education this week by looking at how outdated traditional student presentations have become. Up until recently, many students have had to rush out for poster board at their local CVS at 9:54 pm to hastily glue sloppily cut documents and scribble a heading in marker. Traditionally, students will then present their poster to their peers, who have a hard time reading the support on the poster and seeing how the different elements on the poster come together. Instead, jumpstart your student presentations by having them utilize tools that are trends for 2012. Two of our favorite presentation tools (that are also featured on our Favorites and Resources page) that can instantly bring your student presentations into the 21st century are Prezi and Tumblr.
While they both serve a variety of purposes, the most common purpose of Prezi is to replace stiff and stale PowerPoint presentations and for tumblr to replace the tri-fold board.
PowerPoints are great and have served us well since they originally shipped in 1988; however, there are more options that give the presenter more control and options for creativity. Our favorite is Prezi. Because it asks allows students to group and sort information, they are able to stylistically move from text box to text box. Also, they are allowed to embed youtube clips that load directly in the presentation, making it a more seamless presentation. See our Resources page for an overview on how to use Prezi.
Another thing that is out for the English classroom of 2011 is the archaic posterboard. Making these poster boards are extremely challenging for students are creative but not artistic. They become time-consuming and tedious for students who want a creative outlet but don’t know how to illustrate or draw letters. Also, because of space and size, the poster really only serves as a brief introduction to a topic. Instead, have students use Tumblr, a free website that provides them a variety of templates and colors for them to choose from when organizing their information. It also allows them the space to load documents and materials for the viewer to truly peruse and read clearly without squinting at poorly copied source material with glue marks distorting the text. Finally, this presentation tool allows the presentations to be a little more scholarly because students are required to incorporate quality sources for support. See our Resources page for directions on how to use Tumblr.
Both of these tools can really bring your presentations into the 21st century.