At Ledyard High School, all students are at some point required to create presentations, whether it’s highlighting the themes of a classic novel or presenting opinions about the American Dream after reading “The Great Gatsby.”
Despite the fact that most students dread presentations with all their heart, they are undeniably useful. They help students organize their thoughts, reflect on information and present to a fairly large group of people. The issue is, however, what kind of presentation students get to make.
In 10th grade English class, finishing “Fahrenheit 451” is followed by a Prezi. The reasoning behind this is that 20 or so PowerPoints/Google Slides would look identical. And while that’s a valid argument, there’s a significant difference between “must be a Prezi” and “cannot be a PowerPoint.”
“Fahrenheit 451” follows Guy Montag, the protagonist who refuses to conform. The novel stresses free thinking and individuality in a society where everyone is mindlessly absorbed in technology. It’s ironic that the presentation accompanying this Ray Bradbury book lacks the freedom to choose what format students must present in.
A main component of school is inspiring creativity and allowing students to choose for themselves, as that creates consequences that in turn make students self-reliant. Forcing an entire group of students to create a Prezi, and only a Prezi, limits their creativity and takes away the privilege of choice.
Nowadays, as schools start to intertwine curriculum with technology, presentation programs are everywhere. There are PowerPoints and formats just like PowerPoints, such as Google Slides and Keynote. Prezi is a leading site, but there are also Powtoon, SlideDog, Kizoa and many more.
Presentations can also go down the less conventional road, with posters from Glogster.edu and videos from Animoto.
Different groups of students simply don’t like specific programs. Prezi, for instance, is annoying for those who are susceptible to dizziness and those who get frustrated when the “frame” zooms in on its own. Animoto has limited flexibility and, like Prezi, has services only available when you upgrade by paying monthly or yearly fees.
Options are endless, but only when students are allowed to choose their own format. If students are capable of meeting all requirements of a presentation, they should not be boxed in with a “You can only use (insert program/format here).”
Giving students the freedom to choose can boost motivation on their part and make them enjoy the project a little more. Limitations on format boxes students in by restricting their creativity and thinking and create frustration, which varies from student to student, caused by completely avoidable roadblocks and features.
Carina Wang, Staff Writer
Sophomore Carina Wang is a staff writer for the 2015-2016 Colonel. She is on the FIRST Robotics team.