Although report writing is a part of all grade levels, today’s students crave opportunities to use technology when researching and revealing all they’ve learned. Here are 5 ways to incorporate Web tools into the research unit.
1. Book Trailers–Similar to movie previews before a feature presentation, book trailers are a way to prompt a book and encourage reading. Students utilize summarization skills to create a video advertisement for a book using the site Animoto. Incorporating images, video clips, music, and text, Animoto contains powerful features to create dazzling presentations with ease. Click on the video to the right to view this book trailer for Wonder by R.J. Palacio created by a high school student using Animoto.
2. Character Avatars–Students first create a customized avatar (three-dimensional, digital representation of a character). To do this, students can use Voki and build the character based on details pulled from the author’s description in the text. With the avatar built, students then record themselves speaking as if they were the character, from his perspective, sharing insights and drawing conclusions about various episodes within the text. Check out this link to several student projects. Simply join Voki Classroom and manage multiple classes, create Voki assignments for students, as well as publish.
3. Digital Research Posters–A traditional poster-report can be transformed into an interactive Web-based poster, also known as a graphical blog or “Glog.” (Learn more by clicking on the video to the right.) Make any research topic come alive with embedded video clips, audio files, and digital images using Glogster. The possibilities for Glogster in the classroom are endless.
4. Collaborative Content Slideshows–Starting with a basic PowerPoint slideshow, it’s possible to add audio comments using Voice Thread. Whether it’s students writing original poems and reading them aloud or the class all participating in a virtual discussion of literature, this site gives a voice to any traditional slideshow. Comments can be made within presentations via microphone, webcam, or text.
5. Streaming Presentations–Often students work for weeks researching and building their PowerPoint presentations, only to be limited to sharing it with a small audience. Thanks to AuthorStream, you can upload their PowerPoint presentations and choose to share them publicly or privately. Easily access a presentation on any networked device, including iPads and iPhones. Here is a PPT you can access via AuthorStream that was created about the Underground Railroad.