Thursday, June 21, 2012

Prezi Technology Project

For my technology project, I chose to do a Prezi presentation.  I recall a Prezi that we viewed early in our technology class that really captured my attention and I decided I wanted to work with the fun online tool. 

A few months ago, at my job at Oregon Gymnastics Academy, our supervisor had asked the entire coaching staff to read an article in the recent Gymnastics Techniques magazine about child development.  Not surprising, when asked a month ago how many people had read the article, hardly anyone raised his or her hand.  Knowing that I needed to do a presentation to the group as part of my personal development, I decided to do a presentation on the article at a summer staff meeting.  I chose to use Prezi, because the technology tool intrigued me, and I felt it would keep the groups’ interest. 

My project
I created my presentation by pulling out the salient points from the Techniques magazine article.  I felt I needed to choose a method for my presentation that would capture the groups’ attention most affectively.  They are all young adults ranging in age from 18 – 24, and have seen the usual power point presentations already.  I felt Prezi would capture their attention and keep them focused. 

I wanted to get the coaching staff involved in creating the presentation as I thought they would be more attentive during the presentation if they saw themselves in action. I captured video and photos that supported the message I wanted to get across.  I also got ideas from them of things to include in my presentation by listening to them coach their kids.  By incorporating pedagogy from the coaches themselves I believe this became more a presentation about them rather than about me telling them how to coach.  When I present in July, I intend to give them an exit survey to see if they learned anything from the presentation.  I will also collect their ideas for coaching kids of different developmental stages. I will compile this information and make it available in our staff room. 

My Goal
My goal with this project is to see if the uniqueness of Prezi will keep people’s attention and make the information more memorable. 

Theoretical Framework
Technological Knowledge
While OGA is not known for its use of technology for teaching (we are lucky if we have a strong internet connection!) I do know that most of the coaches are young students and are therefor technologically savvy to some extent.   My intent for using this online tool was to apply a little “shock and awe” effect to capture their attention (we will see if it actually works in July!).  Looking forward, I may go back into my presentation and create an interactive piece, possibly a game for a review at the end, to further their interaction with my presentation. 

The Keohler and Mishra article stresses the importance of using technology as a teaching tool.  They stress, however, that teachers engaging with the technology is imperative for building in-depth knowledge rather than merely being exposed to it in a presentation or weekend class.  “What is needed, however, is an approach that helps teachers develop deeper understandings of the nuances and complexities of technology integration”.  I found this to be true while creating this project.  I encountered lots of challenges with this project as well as other Prezis I created, such as pasting video links and sharing the editing feature with another person.  I gained increased knowledge by having to troubleshoot through these situations that will inevitably help me in future endeavors. 

Pedagogical Knowledge
At OGA, we all teach a wide range of groups, age levels, abilities, etc.  By sharing our knowledge and techniques we can become good teachers for one another.  Research shows that learning from peers can be very effective and I can see this as being very valuable at our gym.  We have team coaches who have coached for many years and if we were able to capture their pedagogical knowledge, it can only make us all more effective in the industry.  Learning effective coaching techniques for a variety of groups is imperative for pre-school and rec coaches as we need to be flexible and ready to respond to different situations as they are presented.  The more tricks we have ready to use, the more enjoyable our jobs will be. 

Content Knowledge
As with pedagogical knowledge, our coaching staff has a wealth of information, which if shared, will make us all more effective.  Sharing this in an effective manner, such as through presentations, will make the information more valuable and will benefit the most people.   Staying current with the latest techniques and safety tips will make us all better coaches and benefit our students in the end.  At this time, we share this knowledge through monthly staff meetings and bi-annual boot camps, but if we were to share this information through technology presentations we could effectively and more efficiently reach more staff members. 

What’s next?
As far as my OGA presentation project goes, I could see possibly extending this into a long-term training method for the staff.  If we were to create a presentation of a relative article each month and then e-mail it to the staff to view, we could teach quality coaching techniques to our staff in a timely manner.  One of my thoughts for a while has been to highlight good coaching among our staff as a form of recognition and appreciation.  We all get to that point of stagnation as we become tired of the same old drills and skills.  By capturing video of quality coaching and sharing it with the staff regularly, they would be inspired to learn from each other and consequently raise their level of coaching as their learn new ideas.

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