Today the last of the students gave their presentations on their solutions to involving student voices in social media. They’ve been working on this project for awhile, and they ended up with many different solutions, though some ideas tended to overlap with each other. We were able to get a few audience members to join us as well- an administrator from the high school, a school board member, and the superintendent as well. We made sure the students had a genuine audience available during presentations. Presentations occurred over two days, and students chose their date and time.
Each presentation took between 5 and 10 minutes, with students and other audience members asking questions at the end of each one. Presenters were asked to dress professionally during their presentation, and this was definitely noticed by the audience members, who complimented them on this effort. Mr. McCauley and I had made sure that the students had a realistic presentation, as though they were presenting to a marketing firm. With the exception of one student, every presenter wore professional dress. We did assist any student with this requirement as long as they let us know in advance that they did not have an outfit that met the requirements.
The first day of presentations, we had Mr. Lee, our administrator, and Mrs. Johnson, our school board member, watching the students who presented. Both were familiar faces to the students, and some of them were former students of Johnson’s. On the second and final day, Mrs. Keller, our superintendent, joined us for presentations, tweeting out about each one as the students finished. All audience members complimented the students on their hard work, and seemed to be pleased with the information given.
Having viewed and graded each presentation, I can say that I saw many doable ideas. I think the best option that was presented (that met the needs of the entire student body) was one that formed a “Student Voices” club. The club members would take on the task of using Twitter to share information relevant to and by students. She chose to use Twitter as her medium, and, in order to combat moderation, looked into using a program called GroupTweet to keep negative posts from appearing online in the school feed. Because it would be a club, new members would be gathered each year, and trained by the older members on how to run the club. One teacher or other staff member would be needed as an advisor/moderator.
Another useful idea was geared to athletics. Though our school already has many clubs/groups on Facebook and Twitter, one just for athletics is severely lacking. This particular student plays football, and came up with ways to make sure scores for a variety of sports are posted via Twitter and Facebook feeds. What I enjoyed so much about this particular presentation was that the student took the problem and discovered how it was relevant to his own life and interests.
Some other good points made by students:
- Showcase a Twitter feed in the cafeteria area
- Send direct messages to the social media accounts to have something added and shared.
- Vet the students running the sites based on teachers, applications, etc.
- Add in social media projects as part of an elective course, like marketing
I really enjoyed seeing what the students came up with in the end. I think we definitely could work with them some more on mock presentations and presentation skills. We did give them tips, but just because they were written out doesn’t mean that students read/followed them. It might be good to practice the tips a few times before the actual presentation. Giving students the chance to do a mock presentation to get feedback and suggestions from classmates was a great idea. Those that mock presented took the feedback to heart and made changes before their final presentation. Part of me wishes that the mock presentations had been mandatory, but only because could have helped more students be successful.
Overall, I was very impressed. I will soon do a recap of the project as a whole. And yes, I’m still aware that I haven’t finished my VSTE updates!