One of the struggles of group work, especially when computers generated projects are involved, is to get everyone in the group to participate in the work. Many times, the fact that all students do not participate is no fault of the students. Rather, when a teacher assigns a PowerPoint, or something similar, to come from a group, the fact that half of the group sits around and talks may be the fault of the teacher. Group projects like this often end up being a classroom management nightmare for the teacher.
I remember being put in a similar situation in a college class. A group of about 8 of us students was assigned to make a video. We did some of the planning together, but when it came down to making the actual video, one of the group members did all of the work while we all sat around and watched or talked. I went through my entire Educational Technology class without ever learning how to make a video!
One way to remedy this when assigning students group presentations is to have them make these presentations using Prezi Meeting. All this takes is for one student in the group to get a URL for the page and send it to the other students in the group. Then, all of the students can get on to the same Prezi page and create the presentation together.
I currently have a class of 7th Graders who are making these Prezi presentations in groups of two. The students really enjoy being able to get on the same page and work together. We have only been using the app for a few hours, but so far there have been no major problems. What is really cool about watching the students work on Prezi is that they all have the opportunity to be a part of creating the presentation. It’s not a one man show!
One of the hurdles we had when setting up the meetings was sharing the URL for the presentation. Normally, a person could cut and paste the URL into an email making it easy for others to just click on the link. The problem is that the students don’t have access to email at school. We tried to type in the URL’s, but they are huge, way too long to reasonably type. After a little thought, we figured that we could set up a Pirate Pad where all the students in the class could post and share their URL’s.
This worked great! The link for the Pirate Pad was posted on the classroom blog, so everyone knew where to find the link. Then one student would set up a Prezi, get the URL, and post it on the Pirate Pad. Once the URL was posted, the other students in the group could copy and paste URL in their browser and go straight to the meeting.
If you are looking for a fun and, more importantly, effective way to have students collaborate, try Prezi Meeting.