Jigsaw: the Shared Presentation

Posted by on Sunday, December 6, 2009

One of the most powerful classroom activities I have recently rediscovered is the jigsaw. Here is an example of where technology can make something better than it was in the past. As my students are able to view each others' work -- in progress -- the overall quality of the final product (as a sum of the individual parts) inevitably increases.

For example, I recently had my Modern World History students redesign an old PowerPoint (link to assignment) I made using VoiceThread as the collaboration tool. Here's what the old PowerPoint presentation looked like:

Using the "Lessig Method" of design (minimal text, symbolic images), students were responsible for redesigning a portion of the PPT (PowerPoint), and then annotating (either with speech balloons or their actual voices) the new slides with the words used by the speaker. Although my students were frustrated with the lack of design control in VoiceThread, I believe the project was an overall success. My students better absorbed the content, but also learned how to clearly communicate in the visual realm. Here's what the revised presentation looks like, collaboratively designed by 26 sophomores:

In the future, I would have the students first design their slides using Google Presentations, then upload the completed PPT into VoiceThread for annotation purposes. Having now used both tools, my students preferred the design flexibility of the former.


Although this blog is authored by New Trier High School (NTHS) staff, the audience is global and the views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of NTHS as an institution.

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