I was recently approached by a friend who shared some concerns with me about her child. The child had issues speaking up and participating in class, to the point that he needs to communicate with his classmates via a whiteboard. This parent also witnessed this “shyness” herself during the school’s tri-conference when her child was supposed to talk about his progress and reflect on his learning. Instead, due to the presence of his teachers, he put his head down and refused to speak. The fact that he had a PowerPoint presentation due caused a lot of stress to his mother and thus, she emailed me the following conversation with the teacher.
This to me sounded like a great idea until his mother forwarded me the teacher’s respond.
The mother knew that her presence in the classroom would not improve his “stage fright”. She didn’t know what to do.
As an ICT specialist, that was when I thought, “Hey, maybe technology can solve her problem”
I gave the mother a few suggestions:
- Video record her child speaking and have the teacher show it in class
- Upload the PowerPoint on iMovie and do a voice over without showing the child’s face
That was when I thought there must be a software out there that could combine both videos and slides into a single presentation. After some research, I decided to use Zentation and came up with this final video to be sent to the teacher:
The child is fortunate to have a teacher who is willing to adjust her expectations on how a student should be “presenting” and allow him to show his PowerPoint presentation in such a way. For the child who is so reluctant to participate, this might be a rare opportunity when he can finally prove to his teacher and peers that he is capable of speaking confidently to an audience.
In this story, technology was key in solving an issue. We must keep in mind that every student learns and develops in different ways and at different speeds, and technology should be more fully utilized to differentiate instruction. When designing a task, teachers could provide options for students, and allow flexibility in the way students are assessed. By keeping up to date with the technological tools that exist, teachers and parents could better help students draw on their strength and achieve their goals, while promoting learning in the multiple intelligences.
Other Implications: Language Teaching:
Language teachers will come across students who either have a shy personality or are shy only when it comes to speaking a foreign language. By allowing them to use the right online tools, you can encourage them to showcase their learning and overcome their obstacles.
Students can create speaking avatars to make their voices heard in a fun way.
I just made a new Voki. See it here
Students can use this platform to do storytelling by creating the visuals in PowerPoint and recording a video of themselves telling a tale.
Students can demonstrate their understanding of a concept without recording their voices while writing on a whiteboard. You can allow shy or reluctant students to do their own recording without the spotlight.
By allowing a backchannel during class discussions, students will be encouraged to contribute and ask questions without the pressure of speaking up.