Guest, Pioneers, User Stories | December 20, 2016

Using a Swivl to Help Students Learn How to Present Better by Patrick Donovan

As someone who has presented at various conferences, I have used my Swivl to record my own presentations so that I can watch them later to reflect on how I can improve. Having that video gives me an exterior data point, that is separate from my feelings, that I can use to help guide my reflection. I can see how often I make the mistakes I am trying to avoid or I can even get a better understanding of the flow of the presentation. That video is an unbiased data point that my reflection can be centered on.

Lets use this idea with our students. Recently one of our Swivls has been used in a Language Arts classroom to record student presentations, so that other students in the different sections can watch the presentations. This teacher is planning on ways to use those videos with students down the road, in order to help them reflect on their presentations so they can improve as presenters. There are a lot of ways they can do that but without that video, they would not be as effective. This will help those students become better presenters instead of allowing them to continue with the subpar presentations that we see happening so often in classrooms.

If we want our students to deliver better presentations in the classroom, we have to make it part of the learning.

We can’t expect it if we don’t teach it.

We can’t complain about the quality of presentations if we do nothing to help students learn how to improve. Giving them a list of traits that a good presentation has is not enough to help students.

Here are some tips for recording student presentations using the Swivl:
  • Have the students practice with a quick recording using the microphone so they are accustomed to it before their recording.
  • You can set the center button on the marker to stop the Swivl from swiveling, which means it won’t go crazy if the line of sight between the marker and the base unit is blocked, especially by their notes.
  • Recording a projector screen can be difficult depending on the lighting in the room. You could always add their slides to the video so they look better. You can find out more about adding slides to a project here.
  • Share the videos with the students as soon as you can. The sooner they view themselves presenting, the more impactful their reflection can be.
  • Place the Swivl as near to the audience as you can, to get a “true” perspective from the audience.
  • Give constructive feedback but also allow for peer feedback. Take the links to all of the presentations in the Swivl Cloud and put them into a shared Google Doc. You can add time-stamped comments to videos stored in the Swivl Cloud. You can find more about that here.


Patrick Donovan is a Technology Integration Specialist in Ames, IA, an authorized Google Education Trainer, a Swivl Pioneer, and much more. He has a Masters in Curriculum and Instructional Technology from Iowa State University. Check out his website and Swivl Pioneer page, and follow him on Twitter    

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