How would a Language Arts teacher grade a project that involves the use of technology?  Will the emphasis on the grading be more on the content and for presentation skills (public speaking) used?  What percentage of the grade be for the use of technology or for how well it was used? 

If let's say, the project was to use PowerPoint Presentation for Persuasive Writing project, will the project be graded for the font, font style, font size, color schemes, slide transition, slide animation etc.?  Or forget all about that (it doesn't matter if the project has an annoying color background of neon green) since the content was superb! :)


Tags: class_project, grading, technology_project

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Persuasive writing is persuasive writing. A PowerPoint does not substitute for a well turned paragraph. Having to present your material would be another or separate grade. One could set up a rubric that could allow for individuals to be creative yet meet the requirements of the presentation. Part of a presentation is that it is pleasing to the eye and that the bells and whistles don't get in the way of what information is being presented and that the audience is able to see a cohesive and well thought out point of view.
It depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the assignment. If the objective is to teach writing, then grade the writing. If the goal is to teach effective presentation skills, then you grade the presentation. As it sounds as though you are trying to teach both, you need to decide which objective is the main objective and weight the assignment accordingly. Since you state that the assignment is a Persuasive Writing assignment, I would weight heavily in that direction. I have seen many teachers fall into the trap of focusing too much on the technology, even though that was not the objective of the lesson, so make sure you know what you want the students to get out of the lesson.
How about two rubrics, one for each aspect of the project. If you are trying to enhance their technology skills let that be worth more points. If the writing is the main point give that more credence. Otherwise allow them to carry equal weight.
I always (obviously!) grade on content, conventions...6 traits as desired. For any type of project, my rubric contains a Presentation category which is useful when students have a choice of product types. Is it neat, balanced and "aesthetically pleasing" - which can include those things like appropriate use of color, white space, bullets vs. text boxes, etc.

If part of what I'm teaching is the use of a new application (I've introduced students to iPhoto books, Animoto projects, Glogster, and of course PowerPoint and Keynote), I'll include a category for components where the students attempt/complete/excel; it's really a good place to level/differentiate. The % of the grade devoted to this depends on whether you're teaching the tool, too, or if students are using an application that they are already familiar with. It can become part of the Presentation category or be it's own category depending on the assignment. For example, if it's the first time a student has created a PowerPoint presentation and he is able to use pictures/graphics, at least 3 types of slide (master, bulleted, photos), and include transitions, that might be a major accomplishment. For another student I'd expect sound in the background, unique "appearances" of copy and/or art on each slide, perhaps the use of charts or graphs... Also, I'd expect them to follow the 2 font style rule and not to use every transition/appearance option that is available. Quite honestly, it may take a while to develop a rubric you're really happy with, but you can tweak as you go along and in the end have a basic rubric you can use for many things.

As for technology in general, I've used iPhoto books to teach expository and technical writing skills; podcasts and Keynotes/PowerPoints to teach persuasive writing skills; Glogster to teach denotation vs. connotation, static vs. dynamic character; and VoiceThread to work on justifying analysis of a story using events from it. Are these the only ways that I teach those skills and topics? Of course not! However they are additional tools and they assist some students in understanding concepts they just weren't getting before. Technology projects provide a way to work on small skill sets or large ones and they hold student interest better that continually writing paragraphs or essays.

Sorry this is so long! I'm fortunate enough to be in a 1:1 school and I get a little excited about the topic!
I would say you have to add one or two categories to your rubric, in addition to the content categories. One of the main reasons for integrating technology into education is that students need to learn technology skills if they're going to be successful. Too often, teachers focus on the tool (i.e., can kids use PowerPoint?) rather than the skill (i.e., Was the presentation engaging?). If you think about it, our students won't be creating PowerPoints once they graduate -- that tool will most likely be gone. But they will need to create engaging presentations, no matter what tools exist.

So I would say, add a category to your rubric that includes something like, "the student's presentation was engaging, and kept the audience interested." And possibly another one like "the student's use of the tool helped communicate the overall message," meaning the technology enhanced (rather than distracted from) the main point.

Lastly, I recently found a great alternative to PowerPoint, which allows students to pick up those tech skills better, but still communicate content well. And it's FREE for teachers and students. -- check it out. It's super easy to use, too.
In my classes, I have rubrics for everything including how technology was used. I model what I want. I share examples from earlier student work to illustrate what I am looking for. I also include them in creating the rubric. This is a big buy-in in for them:) Since technology is used in all projects along with classroom presentations, I give them time to practice before they go up front and share their project with the class. Presentation style is part of the rubric so I make sure that they have time to get feedback from me before they go before their peers. I sometimes record their deliveries. Then we study them as a class and offer points on what could be changed as well as what was great (no grade here). Since my students come from homes with limited resources, I do my best to expose them to technology as much as possible including webquests, hotlists, GOOGLE DOCS, etc. Good luck!

Great points, Denise! Giving them those practice opportunities gives them such a boost of confidence!! Plus it prevents having them work really hard with the wrong goal in mind.
Thank you everyone for all these great advice. I posted this question on the forum on behalf of our Language Arts teacher. I will definitely take these great points discussed here and apply them.
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