Work That Data Projector!
My affair with data projectors dates back to 1997 and once I found out their many attributes, my name was on the booking sheet for every computer class and workshop I delivered. In those days you needed a solid trolley to move the portable projectors, but any inconvenience was worth the results. The only time she ever let me down was when her very expensive bulb blew (a little like my Blood Pressure when it happened mid sentence). Class and I went into the huddle to discuss game plan – early coffee break and hopefully tech would arrive with new bulb. (That small glitch was nothing compared to fingernails being scrapped across a blackboard. Still sends shivers up the spine.)
I always invited students’ input when planning a new work topic. Using the data projector for brainstorming provided live feedback and ensured no miscommunication. I was able to print, photocopy and distribute material within minutes of completing the task and this assisted with storing information in their long term memory. When introducing each new work topic, I would display the book/s using the projector to ensure students had a fully understood the work they were to undertake. At this point any questions relating to activities were discussed and all students were given the information simultaneously. Using the projector to encourage students who were reluctant to read was nothing short of brilliant. The BBC RAW READING webpage has excerpts from books that are high interest and low reading level for adults. Displaying the pages and reading the text with students following using copies resulted in outstanding outcomes. I would draw students attention to – the style of writing, the use of connectors, different aspects of the story and how it linked characters or occurrences and all students could participate and SEE the connections. This worked so successfully students bought the books we read in class to read the entire story.
Another literacy activity that is exponentially enhanced by using a data projector is listening comprehension. I have used YouTube videos that relate to both vocational and personal topics and are adult relevant to expose students to new work areas, personal areas of interest and areas that are integral to any work place e.g. safety. The beauty of using the projector ensured the students, as a group, had the same information and could then discuss the content with relation to their own experiences and future goals. Never underestimate the potency of literacy and numeracy computer games. I would use the projector to introduce games or quiz pages and demonstrate how to play and move from one page or site to another. Much easier than having five to ten people meld around a single computer screen. An unexpected, but positive outcome of using the data projector was students presentations. The data projector had enhanced my delivery why not the students. They were all instructed on how to save their work onto memory sticks and use the projector. Students delivered professional presentations that varied from web pages they developed for their fictitious business to an animated advertisement using PowerPoint. This activity mirrored the workplace tasks and, as such, students had set times for presentations. Students also had to develop feedback sheets for their presentation. They would later convert the feedback into statistics and present as graphs. Overall, the data projector has been beside me or above me supporting in my teaching delivery. One of the best teaching partners I’ve ever had the privilege to work beside.