What I’m Thinking About:
Students need to do research. They need a way to report the facts they’ve learned. Posters are a time honored way for students to show what they’ve learned with a little bit of artistic panache.
That said, how many poster projects does the typical junior high student complete in a year? It seems like quite a few. Where exactly do all of these posters go after they are graded? A teacher certainly can’t fit 165+ posters on her classroom wall.
What are some alternatives to the poster project?
A Few Ideas:
Technology Note: I work in a 1:1 iPad district, so all of the following presentation ideas work with iOS.
- Flipgrid: Give a brief talk, explaining your research process and what you learned. If there is time, respond to other student’s work. Make sure your response shows you listened to the speaker. For example, “You found out ______. I am interested in that because…” or “You mentioned ________. One question I have is…”
- Collaborative Google Slide Deck: Add a new slide to the collaborative deck. Include an image (with a citation), a brief summary of what you learned, and 2 – 3 unanswered questions. In the speaker notes, explain your research process. Teaching Note: The best way to share an editable slide deck is through Google Classroom and “everyone can edit.” I wrote more about using collaborative Slides HERE.
- Infographic: Create an infographic with an app, such as Canva, Piktochart, or Easel.ly. Google Slides are another easy alternative. Google Slides works best if you use a computer or Chromebook change the page setup to 8 1/2 x 11. You can create the rest of your infographic on an iPad in the Slides app. Your infographic should include images, charts or graphs, and facts from your research. Teaching Note: For more information about infographics, check out Kathy Schrock’s Guide HERE.
- Sketchnotes: Make a visual representation of your research, using pens and paper or an app, such as Paper or add a sketch to the Notes app. On your sketchnote, draw pictures of key concepts and write important vocabulary and names in bold, large font. Click HERE for a Smashing Magazine tutorial on how to make sketchnotes.
- Podcast: Use Voice Memos on your iPad or a podcasting app, such as Spreaker to create a podcast. Most podcasts are interviews, so pair up with another student to interview each other about your research. Start with an introduction to the podcast, conduct your interviews, and end with a conclusion. Optional: Include some fun (imagined) advertisements.
- Student-Created Quiz on Quizizz, Kahoot, or Google Forms: Use the facts from your research to create a quiz on the app of your choice. If you are using Google Forms on an iPad, you can access it via Safari. Just type forms. google.com and start on your new quiz.
- Texting Story: Use an app like Text Story to create a text conversation between two or more people (real or imagined). Similar, to the podcast activity, create a conversation in which one person asks questions while the other person reports what they learned.
- Adobe Spark Video: Adobe Spark Video allows you to add photos, icons, music, and voice over to a video you create in the app. For your video, start with your research question, explain your research process, and conclude with what you learned and questions you still have. The only downside is you have to be 13 to sign up for Adobe Spark. For more on how I’ve used Adobe Spark Post, read my post on writing for authentic audiences HERE.
- Clips Video: Clips is a video app on iPads and iPhones. Make a short video to explain what you learned from your research. Before you start recording, press Live Titles for close captioning as you speak. After you record, you can edit the titles to make sure it says exactly what you want. Try out the effects, such as the Comic Book filter or Labels (see example below).
In the School Library:
Right now I am working on a mini-inquiry project with a seventh grade science teacher. We do not have time to teach students how to use a new app or platform. The easiest solution could be Google Slides, but not a typical a slide presentation. For this quick report out, the teacher can share a 8/12 x 11 Google Slide with a template already laid out–image, title, brief summary, unanswered questions, citation. Can her students do this in a class period or two? It could even be formatted as a “listicle,” with “Top 5 Things I Learned about____.”