Presentations with class . . . yours or another!

As the winner of a MassCUE Initiative Grant this year, I was pleased to incorporate new technology in my classroom for a twist on an existing project. My Entrepreneurship students use funding provided from another grant to run their own small business for the duration of the trimester course. As the first step of the project, students pitch their business proposals to their class before voting on a single business opportunity to pursue. Since there are often multiple class periods of Entrepreneurship during any given trimester, students from different classes must often collaborate. By winning this grant and adding a classroom iPad to our technology bag of tricks, students have been able to create shareable video presentations in order to get feedback from students in other classes.

The funding of this grant pushed me as a teacher to use a technology that I was not already familiar with in the classroom setting. Using a variety of apps on the classroom iPad has really given me the opportunity to explore materials and tools that were previously unavailable to me without this device. Although I intended to use the 9Slides app originally, I found that I liked the Knovio app better and used that instead. It was also free! This new tool allows me to explore and find new ways to teach by using these apps in the classroom.

This project enhanced the learning experience of my students as well. Our building is not a 1-to-1 environment, so students did not have much experience using an iPad in an academic setting. Students were encouraged to not only stretch themselves by using the iPad to create dynamic video presentations, but to also serve as evaluators of various educational and presentation apps for future students. Here are two examples of the video presentations created using Knovio:

Beach towels – watch.knowledgevision.com/ec17d123b5d64a608cc2ec3fba4a163f

Tumbler cups – watch.knowledgevision.com/7ba7667cc78b4dd6b1ffd9c365605d69

I was able to complete one round of my intended project using the classroom ipad this year. My spring trimester Entrepreneurship students created their video presentations using the classroom ipad and Knovio, an app that allows side-by-side video and slides in one seamless stream. Some students didn’t have much experience working with video presentations and were a bit camera shy. For those students, I allowed them to create a video presentation that combined their slides with simple audio.

Although I consider our project to be a success, it did have its own set of obstacles to tackle. Our school does not offer wireless internet access, so I had to get creative for the iPad to work within my classroom. Using my cell phone as a hotspot for the iPad was not a viable option as the 4G connection was not always reliable within the walls of the building. I chose to set up my own wireless network in my classroom using an older router from home for the sole purpose of connecting the iPad for this project. It worked well enough for the single device to be connected, but the connection speed was not great. Subsequently, the router was removed from my classroom by the IT department because we’re not allowed to have them. I did eventually get the router back, but have not set it up again. Going forward, I will have to reevaluate my options for getting the iPad online again in my classroom.

I was able to share my project with other educators, both formally within my department and informally outside of my school. Having the iPad as a tool that can travel with me allows for me to share my students’ presentations “on the fly” and encourage other teachers to explore the Knovio app that we used.

Even though the funding has ended for this particular project, I am able to continue using the classroom iPad with future students. In fact, I considered this project such a success that I was recently awarded an additional grant for classroom materials from code.org/Hour of Code and purchased another classroom iPad for my students to use! Going forward, I hope to incorporate more dynamic projects like this one into my curriculum. My heartfelt thanks go out to MassCUE for giving me this opportunity. This project has reinvigorated me and this particular lesson for my students!

For those who are interested, my Entrepreneurship students pursued the tumbler cups as their business for the trimester. The students designed the product, researched vendors, created a marketing plan, and served as the sales force. After completing their sales, the students analyzed their finances to assess their success. As a way to give back to the community who supports then, the students chose to donate $450 of their proceeds to the Brooke DuBeau Family Fund. Since the inception of this particular project, Mansfield High School’s Entrepreneurship students have donated $3,100 to eight local organizations. For more information, please see http://www.thesunchronicle.com/mansfield/schools/learning-the-business-in-mansfield/article_e5b37681-933f-58a5-931d-17beb062621b.html

About the author: Jacqueline Prester is a business educator who is dedicated to technology integration and STEM collaboration.

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