That’s right…I used research and fun in the same title. It can’t be done you say? Think again!
A problem facing our students today is knowing how to properly summarize, or grab main ideas from, different media when researching a topic for a report or presentation. It is too easy for us to just copy and paste when researching digitally. Students are not learning good skills when research is performed this way, not to mention it is plagiarizing. Being able to summarize is a skill that is useful throughout your life. It needs to be more of a focus in education.
If this is something your students struggle with, consider having students create postcards for their research project. Postcards really limit the amount of space a student has to present their information. Using a postcard forces students to dig into the information they have found and extract only what they feel is most important.
Your students can create postcards by hand. You can also create postcards in Word, Publisher (postcard templates already exist here), or a comparative program. If you are lucky enough to have iPads, create postcards using different apps on the iPad. A favorite of mine is Photocard by Bill Atkinson. There is a lite version and a full version. The only difference I have found is the full version has a much larger selection of images, stickers, and stamps than the lite version, but both versions are free!
Photocard is very easy to manipulate, and it allows you to email you card to anyone as an image. You even have the choice to have the potcard printed (at a price) and mailed. Instead of using the images in the app, import your own pictures from your camera roll. It is fast and simple.
Want to take it just a little further? Try out the TurboCollage app. It lets you create a collage using pictures you have in your camera roll. If you can’t decide which picture to use, why not use them all! There is a lite version and full version of TurboCollage as well. The full version is on sale now for $1.99. It is regularly $4.99. Among other things, the full version gives you more collage templates to choose from as well as the ability to choose the size of the collage. With both versions you can add text and change the order/layering of the images. Just like every other app I talk about, it is easy to use! I test these out with my 5 and 8 year olds and they love them! See below an example of Photocard Lite and Turbocollage working together.
Give postcards a try. Force your students to dig down to just the basic facts of their research.