Mia Morgan, Ed.D., M.L.S.
Elementary students seem to enjoy researching topics of interest. My 3rd graders, for example, love the animal research project and my fourth graders find natural disasters fascinating. What gets them even more excited is the prospect of sharing what they have learned with a wider audience.
When introducing our youngest students to that wider audience, we need to make sure they understand the implications of sharing, and, that they know the difference between sharing private information, which we do not want them to do, and sharing public information, such as the results of an animal research project. It is in giving students the opportunity to share their public work with a wider audience that we can have meaningful conversations about what it means to share, what is ok to share, and what is not ok to share. Other important conversations relevant to the public arena have to do with citing sources and giving credit for information gathered in the project. With a project going live, those conversations take on a deeper meaning.
I like to see my students creating digital artifacts with the information they gather. My students have produced digital posters which I proudly display on the library website. My students have used DoInk! a green screen app along with Explain Everything to create informational videos. Creating digital artifacts gives students an opportunity to transform what they have learned into something tangible. They can use their creativity with how they present what they learned. They get to make some of the decisions about what the final project looks like.
Podcasting offers a great way for students to share what they have learned. Podcasting can be audio only, or audio and video, and it allows students use their voice to tell the story of their research. The beauty of podcasting is that you do not need fancy or expensive equipment to create a decent podcast. Using the video tool on a phone, iPad, laptop, or desktop, students can record a prepared script.