George Lucas Educational Foundation

Collaborative Digital Presentations Enrich Projects (Tech2Learn Series)

Educator Kate Summers engages her students by asking them to "teach back" chemistry concepts to their peers via online demonstrations created with tech tools like Google Docs, Keynote, and PowerPoint. 
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Collaborative Digital Presentations Enrich Projects (Transcript)

Kate: The objective of this lesson was to use a project-based learning activity to have the students teach one another the key concepts for chemistry. Students are really engaged when technology is involved.

Kate: So get a partner, quietly sit, and set a goal together.

Kate: The assignment is for students to work in pairs and to develop a lesson to present to the students. I'm really big on trying to hit all the different types of learning, so they were required to have three main categories, and under that, they got to choose how they did it. So the first category was to have some type of visual for our visual learners, so that could be a PowerPoint, a video, a poster.

Student: Right now we're using Google Docs, so we're using Google Presentations, and we're going to make the presentation slides and stuff like that.

Kate: The second category was to be some type of handout for our students that like to take notes and write along.

Student: We'll just give them notes, and the notes, they're like fill-in-the-blank, so they have to look at our presentation in order to finish the notes.

Kate: And then the final category was to do some type of engaging activity, such as a crossword puzzle or a word search.

Student: Yeah, I think projects make learning more effective. I feel if you're hands-on with everything, you'll learn it better.

Kate: It is a biology class. However, next year, due to budget cuts, we won't be having chemistry as one of our core sequence. However, I felt it was definitely necessary that they got some more prerequisite skills for chemistry, so I decided to switch my end-of-the-year project to more of a chemistry idea.

Kate: Use your resources.

Kate: The first thing that most of them have done are like the Keynote, and then I find that they tend to go with a handout because that comes with the Keynote, and then their final stage is going to be the activity. Some of them are doing chemical reactions, and so they want to create a volcano and do the vinegar and the baking soda. Recently our school has been engaging in Google Docs and Google Presentations because all of our students have an e-mail address based upon our school that's through a Google account. And on the Google Docs, they can have Word and Presentations and stuff like that because it enables students to share with one another if they're working with partners, and it also enables teachers to see what they are doing and easily edit.

Student: And we sign into our school email and we go into Documents and it opens up all the projects we've done, all the essays, and then we go into Presentation, and we can make one of these like little presentation things.

Kate: But it's really neat because one student can be at home working on it while the other student can be at school and working on it. It also decreases the hassle of having students have to bring in flash drives or saving it and not remember where they saved it.

Student: So right now I'm moving the picture, and you can see it on his computer too. So right now, see, he's on the same slide as I am or basically on the same presentation, so he can see everything that I'm doing in the presentation to benefit it or change something up.

Kate: This was specifically a project, as well, because I know as a teacher I learn the material best when I have to present and teach it to another person, so I feel like they are best able to learn the knowledge when they feel like they have to teach it. It's higher stakes.

Girl: If you're trying to find out how much 4.5 kilograms is in grams, you would set up a proportion like this.

Kate: Today, Natalie and Nikki presented on the different SI units, so kilograms and stuff like that. They gave the students guided notes, so the guided notes have the key points and then have fill-in-the-blanks so that students can follow along and listen as well.

Girl: Since 1960, scientists use a set of units called SI.

Kate: They also had some practice problems, so they did one as a class and then they have practice problems for the students to work on. A lot of these students are very tech-savvy, and they already know how to do this stuff.

Class: [Applause]

Kate: We provide them with different ideas and resources, like the Google Docs, but if they have other ways to get their point across, like Pinterest or some other type of technology that they know about, they are more than welcome to use that, as long as it gets the point across.

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  • Producer: Zachary Fink
  • Producer / Director: Stephen Brown
  • Director of Photography: Mario Furloni
  • Editor: Jacqueline Santillan
  • Title Sequence: Randy Murray Productions
  • Digital Media Curator: Amy Erin Borovoy
  • Executive Producers: Erin Crysdale & David Markus
  • Thanks: Chris Fitzgerald Walsh, for help finding the teacher profiled in this episode.

Produced in partnership with the Teaching Channel.

This 2012 work by The George Lucas Educational Foundation & Teaching Channel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons License

Tech2Learn Video Series

Our video series goes inside the classrooms of educators who use technology tools in their lessons every day. Learn from their challenges, celebrate their successes, and share their resources in every episode.

This series is a co-production with the Teaching Channel.

Additional Resources and Tools from Ms. Summers

  • Impact Academy of Arts and Technology Website

    Kate Summers teaches at Impact Academy in Hayward, California, a small charter high school that is a member of the Envision Education network. Impact Academy uses project-based learning across all subjects and focuses on 21-century leadership skills.

  • Impact Academy's Biology Website

    Resources and information for 9th and 10th grade biology students at Impact Academy of Arts and Technology. You can see class presentations, worksheets, and project materials here.

  • Project Presentation Introduction Sheets (PDF)

    Ms. Summers uses these sheets to introduce the chemistry concept presentation project to her students. This PDF download includes five pages with one concept on each page: classification of matter, density, mass and volume, atoms, and matter.

  • Presentation Rubric (PDF)

    A downloadable PDF grading chart for assessing student presentations from the chemistry project.

Visit the Tech2Learn series page to see more resources.

Comments (4) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Marlyn's picture
Professor from Davao City,Philippines

Thanks for sharing all these resources! Am going to share these too with my colleagues and students.

faiz's picture
up to 10th grade mathematics teacher

We see that technology is very important in our life. And it is important in our educational life as well.

HCPSMarshall's picture
Instructional Technology Resource Teacher from Henrico, Virginia

Great way to have students teaching students! Great that you left other options open such as Pinterest. I like that you had them set goals in order to get the work done as well. Have you considered grouping students according to interests? I'm wondering also how it would look to have students developing their own group norms, rubrics, and requirements. This is great for base knowledge. What are your plans for moving further up the relevance framework in the action continuum?

Jeannele's picture

I love this video. My school district is expanding technology. The challenge is to integrate the use it into class instruction; therefore, I'm always looking for new concepts.

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