lesson plans ces

How to Teach Presentation Skills, New Technology and Research Using CES

The Consumer Electronics Show is in Las Vegas this upcoming week, January 7-10, 2020. In the fall semester, students present about historical figures in computing. However, in January, we turn the spotlight on analyzing new technologies with a critical but futuristic eye. The media, videos, and press releases give us an excellent opportunity to move to the leading bleeding edge of technology, where it becomes difficult to tell the difference between the next big thing and the next big flop.

lesson plans ces

You can use this lesson at any time, though.

Over the last eighteen years, I've crafted all of this myself, and it is continually changing. You'll see resources from guests on the podcast who have changed my thinking so you can dig deeper into the pedagogy. I've also got all of these resources in a handout for those who sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this post. Don't worry, if you're already getting my newsletter, you'll receive all of this today automatically in today's newsletter. I always send my resources to the newsletter each week.

This unit teaches about new technology, some basic CS concepts, research skills, plagiarism, verification of sources, and presentation skills. I typically spend three weeks on this process. But also note, this is not something you can do on autopilot. You must be engaged and working with the students to make it work!

Step 1: Iron Chef Compilation

First, you'll want to make sure that each student selects a different technology. So, I start with an “Iron Chef” approach that I learned from my friend Jon Corrippo.

In this assignment, students will quickly select a technology and an accompanying video and resource to prepare a presentation for the class. A technology may only be used once.

Note that this follows up a review of web technologies and the types of interfaces: CLI (command line interface), GUI (graphical user interface), NUI (natural user interface) and what I'm calling BUI (biological user interface) which will undoubtedly be when we interface directly with machines.

In this lesson, you will use the “Iron Chef” slides to put information on your technology to share with the class. You will also embed a video on the slide to share. Do not work on someone else's slides. You should be prepared to share it with the class.
10 Points – Turned in on time
30 points – Video – Use the video feature in Google to only show up to 2 minutes of the video you selected. You can clip and show just part of it. It shouldn't go for longer than 2 minutes.
20 points – Information put on slide including description, your name
30 points – In class presentation to another student – you should share a simple explanation of the technology and what kind of interface it uses (CLI, GUI, NUI, BUI, etc.) and play the video for the them. You will be working to make a full presentation on this lesson for the class.

There have been years I stopped right here and let students share their technologies and was done with the presentation. However, presentation skills are essential, so I have integrated some techniques I've learned from some guests on the podcast to make this a stronger lesson for enhancing presentation skills.

Take the template for the Google presentation here(Make a copy.)

Note: If you type in your email below to sign up for my weekly newsletter, I'll send you a copy of Iron Chef slides we've made before and some of the rubrics I'm using. 

Assignment in Google Classroom: students all edit the template and add their information. (1 class period)

Step 2: Research Using Google Keep

Next, I have my students set up their tag in Google Keep as they go through my Google Keep training video. I also go ahead and give them the basic content rubric for what they'll need. (I save the full rubric for later.) Students are asked to answer just these questions at this time:

  • What is this technology?
  • Who is the manufacturer?
  • Did this student explain how the technology works?
  • What type of interface is used to interact with humans?
  • Is there any AI or algorithm involved?
  • Who is the target market for this technology?


Assignment in Google Classroom:

  1. The Google Keep tutorial is one assignment. (1 class period)
  2. The second assignment includes an outline using Google Docs and the information from Google Keep. Students dive deeply into the topic based on the rubric. I require at least two sources for each part of the rubric listed above. (2 class periods)

Step 3: Presentation Drafts and Speed Presenting Round 1

At this stage, I give students two rubrics. I provide them with the rubric for this stage of the project (given in step 2), which is just helping them research the topic.  I go ahead and let them understand where they are going with this so they can look for the “wow” and videos, etc.

They work on their Google Slides for approximately one day. Then, they will use the speed presenting technique that I learned from Rob Donatelli. We'll typically do three presentations in the class.

Then, students often realize they need to improve their work and can make it more compelling. So, then, I'll go through and teach them how to level up their presentation skills.

Assignments in Google Classroom:

  1. Slide Drafts – Note that I do not have them turn it in, but I review the draft in here. If they turn it in, they lose access, and I want them to create the slides so I can see their progress. When done, they will go back and finish and turn them in here so we can present in class (1 class period)
  2. Speed Round Rubrics – students are graded on the three rubrics they turn in for the quality of their presentation evaluations. We discuss a “compliment sandwich” and giving a genuine compliment as well as feedback. They use the basic rubric at this point. (1 class period)

Step 4: Presentation Skills content

At this time, I have a presentation on giving presentations in Nearpod.

I also typically will pull about five minutes of one of my keynotes and deliver it to them so they can both see my vision for what I dream education can be in our classroom and the “presentation Zen” techniques I'm teaching. Students who see teachers only lecture think that is how a presentation is given. I am always challenged to make this lesson the kind of performance I want them to deliver. Students model what they see — not what they are told. So the lesson they see in presenting from me has to be spectacular.

If you want to learn more, read Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds, who crafted this powerful technique to engage your audience.

Assignment: Students take notes and turn them in (1 class period)

Step 5: Presentation Revisions

Now, I give them the final rubric, and they take the feedback from their peers to not only revise their presentations but practice the revision.

Assignment: Students make further revisions to their slides (1 class period) If they say they are done, I will sometimes give them feedback.)

Step 6: Speed Round 2

Students now take the final presentation rubric, which includes an opening with a Wow and having a compelling conclusion. They present three more times to their peers.

Assignment: Students will evaluate three more of their peers using the final rubric. (1 class period)

Step 7: Final Presentation Revision and Submission

Students revise one more time and prepare for final presentations. They turn their slides into Google Classroom.

Assignment: Final slides turned in on time. (1 class period)

Step 8: Final Presentations

We're ready. Sometimes students want to dress up, and I'm okay with that. Otherwise, we draw numbers!

Assignment: Final presentations (4-5 class periods depending on how excited we get!)

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

Madeline Diaz January 19, 2022 - 11:46 am

Thank you for this awesome post that will be beneficial and I will definitely integrate in my lesson on teaching PowerPoint to my middle school students in computer application class.


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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere