Year 5 have spent the past four weeks in small groups of four students researching a country, so as to prepare a presentation to give to their peers. As a cohort they chose thirteen different countries. They followed expicit criteria and learning intentions to design a one slide SMARTboard file which contained the following.
- A link to the countries national anthem.
- Various photographs including the political leaders and an icon of that country.
- One paragraph of information outlining how Australia was connected to this particular country.
They also had to create a group presentation about their country, containing key facts, interesting anecdotes and more about the way Australia was connected with this country.
This week they gave those group presentations, with a twist. This week we used Ustream, in order that our parent body could view these presentations too. Year 5 first signed up to Ustream last year and we used it to showcase our end of year drama performances. They were well recieved and so they should have been, as they represented many hours of preparation and work by the students.
This time it was different. Working in small groups on such a project was new for these students. Negotiating how to create just one slide within a group was also new. Rehearsal time had been lacking. We knew that although they had worked hard, they were under rehearsed and unpolished. Yet we went ahead with our promise to Ustream all class presentations. And I am so glad we did.
We had overwhelming support from the parents who managed to view it. Comments such as ‘”I so enjoyed being a fly on the wall for a few moments today”, “all the other dads in the office are jealous that I had this opportunity to see my daughter at school”, “what a great chance to see my child cope in a group presentation”. And more, all positive comments.
I know that the next time these students give a group presentation they will be better. They know that too, as our process also included an in-depth student reflection. The giving of two stars and a wish and the watching back of our recording. I am sure too, that the next time the parent body view us on Ustream, they will see that their child has learned from their previous presentation experience.
And after all, isn’t that what school is all about, the learning? So go on, polished or not, I challenge you try Ustream in your classroom.