At the recent plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the use of new technologies of the digital age to spread the word of God.
With that in mind, for the first time in my life as a catechist, this evening I will be having my students create Powerpoint presentations rather than posters!
For the last few years, during the Jesus unit, I have had my classes work at Jesus Learning Stations, from which they prepared posters to teach about Jesus to the rest of the class. This year, I’ve decided to do something very different.
It turns out that I have access to 3 laptop computers: my own, a work laptop, and my daughter’s laptop. With 10 students, I can easily form groups of 3 or 4 and have each group work with a laptop to create Powerpoint presentations that teach about Jesus. I will have 3 groups (I rearranged the material from the previous 5 learning stations into 3 groups):
- The World of Jesus and the People of Jesus
- The Words and Actions of Jesus
- The Death and Resurrection of Jesus
As you’ll see from clicking on each of the above, I am providing a resource packet to each group with all of the information they need to create their presentation on their assigned topic. I will be telling them to imagine that they are going to be explaining who Jesus is to someone who’s never heard of him before.
Before they do any work on the computers, however, they will have to show me a hard copy of their plan. I have created the “templates” for each of their PowerPoints and will provide hard copies of the slides they need to complete…each slide includes a header that asks a question they need to answer using the information from their resource packets. Each group will divvy up the slides they are to complete and then will get to work. Here are the slides:
- The World of Jesus and the People of Jesus SLIDES
- The Words of Jesus and Actions of Jesus SLIDES
- The Death and Resurrection of Jesus SLIDES
This week, they are to complete their slides which I will take home and combine into one presentation. Next week, we will show the PowerPoint presentation and each of them will “narrate” their slide.
The one “fly in the ointment” is that the clip art gallery on each computer does not have much in the way of Christian clip art so I’m going to need to spend some time this afternoon downloading some clip art that will be readily available to them (the classroom does not have wi-fi access) so that they can “dress up” their slides.
I’m excited and nervous about this new venture. I’m so accustomed to working with paper, scissors, and glue, but I’ve been curious about how to use technology in the classroom so I think this is a perfect opportunity. Pray that we meet with success.
Any pointers and suggestions are most welcome!