Peer Presenting with Prezi (Parts III and IV: The Activity and the Data)

3 05 2011

Description of Activity/Lesson/Task

For this project, students were asked to teach class, based on a prompt that they have been given. Students would take that prompt, and then create a Prezi that answers the question in great detail. Prezi amazed the students themselves each time that I used it in class over the previous 7 weeks, and so I thought that Prezi would be a great tool for them to play with, and teach with like I had. Students had just finished up the Interwar Period, between World War I and II. When faced with the decision of how to teach World War II, I decided that the students themselves had enough prior knowledge about WWII, that they could build on that and teach class themselves.

The first day of this lesson, students were shown a 10-minute screencast on how Prezi works, and the capabilities and limitations of Prezi. After the screencast, students spent the rest of class, using their textbook and their brain, to complete a graphic organizer tailored to the prompt that they had selected. Students were grouped (by themselves) into small groups of 3-4, and told that the group would receive one collective grade.

To understand this assignment, you must understand what Prezi is. Prezi is a new presentation tool that has been called by myself and other people more important then me as the ‘death to PowerPoint.’ Prezi allows the creators to not only create ‘slides’ to scroll through, but to do it in a visually stimulating way that PowerPoint cannot.

Another capability of Prezi, though not necessarily accessed during my Action Research Project, is that of the ‘infinite’ whiteboard. By inserting whatever information (text, images, videos, etc.) into the Prezi, a teacher may create a labyrinth that they may have their students explore and discover the information for themselves.

The next two days were spent in the Blue computer lab at Blacksburg High School. Here, students were to use their graphic organizer, as well as the vast information found on the Internet, to create a Prezi that answered their prompt. On top of just simply answering the prompt, students had to create a way for their peers to take notes on their presentation, thus having to categorize the information themselves into ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ groups. They also had to prepare themselves for teaching, thus learning extra information that might help them teach class.

After the two lab days, students were given 10-12 minutes to teach their class the answer(s) to their individual prompts. Students were encouraged to facilitate class discussion into their Prezis. The first three groups (Causes of World War II, Allied Leaders, and Axis Leaders) were to go on the first day, while the last four groups (Battles in Europe and Africa, Battles in Pacific, Major Effects, and Reconstruction of Axis) were to go on the second day. Students would give their classmates a sheet to take notes on (Slot notes, simple headings, etc. Whatever the group saw fit for their prompt). Students were graded on the organization of their Prezi, the content of their Prezi, as well as their presentation to class.

It should be noted, that this is the only lecture students were given on World War II. The idea with this assignment was that students seem to remember and/or be most interested in the World Wars, particularly World War II. This assignment gives students an opportunity to not only dive deep into one section of the war, but their classmates should have done the same thing, and thus built a deep set of Prezi’s that can be used not only in lecture, but in study as well.
Data Gathered:

In order to judge and grade the Prezis, I created a rubric for each of the prompts, which grades students on their ability to go above and beyond the SOL standard, but also the organization of the Prezi and their note-taking apparatus, as well as their presentation/lecture to class.. Here is an example of a rubric:

After I had designed the rubric, I realized that the ‘above and beyond’ part of the SOL standards were not on the rubric. So, within the SOL standards, a 5 is representative of going beyond what was asked in the graphic organizer and the SOLs. Anything below that was based on the level of detail provided for the SOL standard. The Prezi, as seen in the rubric, was worth 75 points (I have graded this past six weeks on a point scale. Usually, homework assignments were worth 10-12 points, writing assignments 25-40, quizzes 25, and tests over 100 points.)

An important aspect of this rubric were the note taking apparatus that students created. Some students created Slot Notes with their Prezi:

Prezi – Major Battles in the European and African Fronts

Others created a simple heading system:

Prezi – Causes of World War II

Another form of data that I took from this project was the unit test for the Interwar Period and WWII. This unit was the longest I taught at Blacksburg, lasting roughly 3 weeks. The test, like all tests I have given, included a map portion, a multiple-choice portion, a fill-in-the-blank portion, and two short essays. It was the largest grade for the six-weeks, at 131 points. Here is a blank copy of one of the tests:

Interwar and World War II Test

Finally, I gave students an option for extra credit in the form of a short write-up (2-3 paragraphs) on how they felt about the use of Prezi. I asked them to answer the following questions when writing: How did you like Prezi? How did you feel about teaching class? If I were to do this again, should I change anything? An example of one of the write-ups I received can be seen below:

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