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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Monday, September 05, 2011

Pecha Kucha: a hard sell

This is a no frills post about using Pecha Kucha with my Higher class. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is basically 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide and no text to deliver a talk on a topic. We tailored this slightly amongst groups for explanation of coastal feature formations and then gave the opportunity for peers to question or feed back after each presentation. The activity was peer assessed also, as marking grids were used during the talks.
Some observations: students found this very difficult as they felt rushed and therefore prone to mistakes. I related this to the exam and the same problem of time and organisation. We also discussed why groups were running out of time and I suggested it was due to the repetition between speakers. This is easy to extract in an oral exercise, but is also a common complaint of teachers marking exam scripts.
I asked how the class were as teachers. Some students felt they had excelled, but in reality, they had all at some point been hesitant, checked for approval, mumbled through points of uncertainty and doubted themselves. I stressed I wasn't assessing their ability as teachers, but it is important to speak with authority and confidence on your given topic. Again, in examination terms, I've marked scripts, given them back with suggestions only for candidates to tell me they were thinking of writing something but doubted its relevance. If its not on the paper, it can't gain the marks.
Not everyone felt they understood their own topic and less again felt others did. Students felt that the focused nature of the task was good but others said they had not taken enough responsibility for their learning. Again, the teacher doesn't sit the exam and I think its important to address this early.
Finally, we talked about how to make it better. I gave an example from a few years ago of a question were rote learning of the topic didn't give enough to answer the coasts question in the exam well. It was more important that students understood how their learning was linked e.g. what links a cliff to a wave cut platform, a headland and bay to a stack. We talked about how not to study, but haven't resolved the best method as it will differ by pupil.
In summation, I am sure that some students saw the value of the activity, but am equally sure that some still won't see it as a bigger picture. I think I would use this again. Presenting the first part took me out of my comfort zone. I can't help thinking that the experience will be less important to students in the end up than the marking grid which came with it. Please let me know your experiences using pecha kucha and share them in the comments.

Posted via email from Mr O'D's class posterous


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