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Topic: Mental Disability

Project: Students will present their project work through power point presentation as opposed to the more traditional scrapbook format.

Method: I started this computer project after the module had begun. This meant a change in the teaching strategies I was using. I had been using "Breakthrough" by Michael Shevlin and Patricia Noonan Walsh. (ISBN 0 952471000) as a basic text. This involved teaching strategies such as Group work, simulation, role-playing and discussion. The students were enjoying the programme but the content was rather nebulous for power point, particularly because we were now on a fairly tight time-scale.

My new objective was to equip the students with information that they could edit, in preparation for work on their power point presentations. My classroom work became more information based and I inclined towards lecture format.

To make it more interactive and stimulating(!) for the students, I prepared handouts to accompany the class content. These were partially completed. Students then filled in the extra information during the course of the class.

The information I used came mainly from Fact Sheets developed within the CARA programme, published by Health Education Bureau and St. Michael's House Research, 1983.

Once the material was covered, I spent a class explaining power point and the type of editing that they would now need to do. We spent the next three classes editing. Students selected an area they were interested in, and then decided the amount of material that would appear on each slide.

The editing process was most beneficial. It accessed a type of learning that their previous project work often evaded. In scrapbook projects, the students found it hard to resist lifting chunks of material and using it verbatim. Sections of their work were mere transcription. Sometimes, projects even contained photocopied information (very pleasantly presented, mind you) but there was a strong possibility that the material had not even been read, let alone digested!

Active editing was done. Some clued into the framework that the handouts provided. They used these for the bullet content and saved their own added information for the commentary.

When we finally got to the computer room, students were ready and motivated. Many had used power point before, all seemed fairly at home working on computers. Their level of competency was reassuring and comforting for the not so computer literate teacher! Template works excellently. Plenty of peer teaching went on. There was some trouble saving material on the desktops, but students sorted these out.

Students particularly liked animation. They were very engrossed in their work. The programme allows plenty of room for creativity between choosing material; the editing process; selecting background, clip art and animation.

The plan now, is that these slide shows will be available on Transition Year Evening for students to show to their parents. They are not so keen on this idea. Private work is fine but the public forum intimidates them. It is drawing on a whole new range of skills. Nonetheless, they will present their slide shows to each other and provide their own narration. Hopefully we will glean a couple of confident, fluent presenters from the pack, who will be willing and able to present their projects to the parents.

I include a sample of the kind of handouts I used and the commentary that accompanied the handouts.


Click below for links to Handouts and Commentaries or back to the introduction


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