Thursday, May 6, 2010

Digital Posters Develop Higher Order Thinking

Have you taken a look at a Glog yet? The website is a free Web 2.0 site for educators. The site allows for teachers to create an account and then within that account create up to 100 managed student accounts. The entire setup takes about 3 minutes to complete. On my wiki page I have provided instructions for accessing and setting up an account on Glogster.

A Glog is a digital poster that may contain text, images, clip art, videos, audio files, backgrounds and hyperlinks. All of these items can be arranged  in a very creative and artistic way. There is not a template that is forced on the user. Glogs are designed to be presented to an audience upon completion.  This is where a Glog separates itself from other presentation tools such as PowerPoint.

We have all sat through a number of PowerPoint presentations delivered by students and our peers. How many of these presentations have been dreadful? How painful is it to sit through a presentation in which the presenter has slide after slide of text that he or she continues to read word for word? In many cases students are copying and pasting text from the web and then reading it out loud to the class. This is not an exercise in higher order thinking. Students are not synthesizing the information they have uncovered. They are just reading information that they found on the web.

Glogster can change the way you and your students deliver presentations. A Glog is a one page digital poster. All of the content for your presentation must be contained in one page. It is designed to be populated by primarily images and short text labels. By limiting the space allocated for content the presenter must provide meaning and depth to his or her presentation by offering explanations and descriptions for the content they have added to their Glog. The presenter must have a clear understanding of the topic and be able to offer explanations in his or her own words to explain their content selections.

Example: The Glog that I have linked to below is a digital poster assignment in which the presenter is stating a case for a President that she believes a monument should be built for. It was designed by Mrs. King in our Middle School as an example for a class project. Each image has a full explanation that provides justification for her argument. Mrs. King must provide this explanation to her class. This explanation is verbal. Ther are not large text boxes of content that is being read. Mrs. King provides a verbal justification to her class and uses the images to support and add meaning to her content delivery.

By providing our students with a presentation tool that steers them towards reflective analysis, verbal explanations, public speaking and creativity we are not only preparing them for the 21st century, but we are providing them with an avenue for synthesis of ideas and information. This type of assessment will have a positive impact on student learning that exceeds what we are currently experiencing with MS PowerPoint.

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