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Student Led Conferences- Web 2.0 Style! December 22, 2007

Posted by Joselyn Todd in Educational Technology, Podcasts.

Today and tomorrow I am helping to facilitate a gigantic ed tech project with all 100 7th grade students at the school that I teach at- Cary Academy, Cary, NC. Several years ago a colleague and dear friend (and excellent videographer and writer) of mine and I came up with the idea of “independent technology projects” for our 7th graders. Finally, the project is coming to fruition as we are having our students spend two mornings (approximately 6 hours of instructional time) creating independent technology projects for their student led parent conferences in January.

Our team of teachers consists of 9 advisors/teachers that are working with the 100 students. Actually most of us are simply providing advice, and the kids are working extremely independently. Our teachers have fairly good technology skills, albeit like many teachers, their skills range across the tech savvy spectrum. No problem, the kids help each other and are eager to show teachers some of the skills they are employing in their projects. We settled on having the students create their projects in Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 which allows much better multimedia integration than the former version. At first I was resistant to using this software to create the projects, but I am feeling better about it as our students are really creating multimedia projects through the use of the platform.

So this morning I am watching my students work on their computers (we are a 1:1 school), and they are creating a storyboard in PowerPoint and then integrating pictures, podcasts (audio), and video into it. They have been gathering content in the later part of the morning- photos of their friends, photos of tests and projects they have completed, screenshots of their digital academic work, “It’s an Elementary Mystery Podcasts” (Science), “Poems Aloud” (English, self written poems that they have recorded in Audacity and then embedded into a self-created webpage), Foreign Language (French Poems recorded in Audacity), journals re: Math problems (math), self recorded music from strings class, Medievals Travelers Videos (History), etc. Some are writing of their struggles. Some are writing of their growth. Some are not writing much at all- they are letting they multimedia speak for itself.

I can not wait to see their final products tomorrow, and I will publish one of them as an example eventually. The power of 1:1 computing is truly coming to life in this project. The students own their content…it is theirs and they created all of it on their PCs. They are free to be creative within the loose constraints of the guidelines for the project. In the end, they will present their independent technology project to their parents to facilitate their conferences.

As I reflect on the NETS published by ISTE, I feel confident we are on the right track with these Web 2.0 Independent Technology Projects for Student-Led Middle School Conferences because they exude…

  • creativity and innovation;
  • communication and collaboration;
  • research and information fluency;
  • critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making;
  • digital citizenship; and
  • technology operations and concepts*

What do you think of this strategy to allow students to really own their educational experience when meeting with their parents for student led conferences? Ideas? Thoughts?



1. Laura B. fogle - December 29, 2007

I love this idea of students creating a sort of electronic portfolio for sharing with their parents. Will the project itself be graded or evaluated in some way? I assume that the PowerPoint files are being stored on the server. It would be very compelling to refer back to these projects again at the end of the year.

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