My first two students presented today -- they were tackling Voltaire and his time period. I was very excited to see my revised guidelines in action, and I had a right to be. The first student created a wiki of biographical information. He therefore was able to talk about Voltaire while his classmates just listened -- no frantic note-taking when they knew they had the wiki as a resource. He did not just talk though. He made a small PowerPoint to highlight key things and show images while he talked -- a perfect use for PowerPoint. He then played a YouTube video on Voltaire and Humanism that was a perfect way to bring in the audio component and have it be very useful. He ended with a trivia game about Voltaire, and the students really knew the info [they had closed the wiki :)]. Overall, a really thoughtful and engaging 20 minutes for us.
My second student created a webpage. He did not use FreeWebs like I had hoped -- the site he used has a free trial but then he will have to pay. So I am curious if his site will disappear in 30 days. But his classmates were very intrigued by his site and enjoyed the visuals he chose. He then played a YouTube video of a Beethoven piece. This was the most amazing part -- as the music was playing, he explained to the class how Beethoven's music was often soothing and melodic but that we should hear the tension building in this piece just like it was in this time period. Almost on cue, the music rose and the class almost made an audible, "Ahhh ..."
A 100% success day. We had great uses of technology supporting learning, we had music, we had archival photos, we had art, we had fun, we learned. My first two students have set the bar very high for their classmates.