I love giving students the opportunity to present in front of the class. Assignments that include presentations give students ownership over the information that they are disseminating to the class and it allows the rest of their classmates to learn something from someone other than the teacher.
This format is modified from a segment that occurs every year during the Ignobel Prize Ceremony. During the ceremony, experts are invited on stage to speak about their research or field of study. The twist is that they are limited in how much they are able to say. Each presenter is allowed to explain their topic twice: "First, a complete, technical description in 24 seconds, then a clear summary that anyone can understand in 7 words". They really mean business about that 24 second limit too. They even bring in a referee to blow a whistle and cut them off if they go over the time limit. I show my students the clip below for an example of what this entails.
For further inspiration, videos of all of the 24/7 lectures that are given during the ceremony each year are posted along with a transcription on the Improbable Research website - https://www.improbable.com/ig/24-7/
In an assignment form, I keep the spirit of this format pretty much the same. In addition to the 24 seconds, and 7 words, students must also display an engaging picture that represents their topic. To highlight this added requirement, I started calling these "photo/24/7" lectures. The Minnetonka Research Program added a fun little twist. Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, they refer to the assignment as a "1000/24/7" lecture.
The most unique part of this assignment is the format itself. To help outline the project, students receive the following outline.
1000/24/7 Lecture Must Include:
My favorite part of this format is the 7 word summary. I like to think of it kind of like a tagline and I encourage my students to have fun with it. Here are some examples from improbable.com.
At the end of the year, I have my students complete a project that I call "Predict the Future"
Predict the Future
For as long as humans have been around, they have been looking to the future and speculating what technologies might exist and what life might be like. Research some information and choose a technology to focus on.
Your topic should be something that relates to your future life somehow. If you have some idea of your career path or have a hobby that you are particularly passionate about, choose a technology that closely aligns.
Your presentation is three important segments:
24-second Presentation Must Include:
To give them an idea of how this looks for this project, I demonstrate with a quick example about Google's Project Loon:
24 Second Description:
Using giant balloons, Google’s “Project Loon” aims to provide internet access for the entire planet. The balloons hover on the edge of space and use the wind to navigate and create one large network.
This was tested in New Zealand in 2013 and a global network is in the works
It is hard control and maintain thousands of balloons at the farthest reaches of the sky, but if this project succeeds, people in even the most remote locations will have access to the internet and education.
7 Word Summary:
Internet Balloons mean that EVERYONE can Snapchat
Why is this Useful?
So, why is this quirky little presentation format useful? I have found in both written and oral research presentations, it is very tempting for students to spend their time find resources that match the requirements and lifting lightly reworded passages off of websites and directly into their reports. Because of this, I'm constantly looking for ways to developing assignments that necessitate rephrasing into a new voice. I write about another method I've used in my "Up-Goer Five" post where this goal is achieve by limiting the specific words that they can use. Using this 1000/24/7 lecture approach, I can encourage this revoicing by limiting the overall amount of words that they can include. This changes the conversation from "how much can I write?" to "what is important?" By imposing this restrictions, students need to be able to identify important information and be efficient in the way that they summarize this knowledge.
I would love to hear how others have used this 1000/24/7 format. If you have ideas to share please write them in a comment below so we can all learn from each other :)
Father, Physics Teacher, Knowles Fellow, Friend, Techie, and Musician