Assignment Smackdown: Speech vs. Video

Having a 1:1 pilot program this year, I decided to offer two different variations of the same assignments to my 1:1 and traditional classes: one class would deliver their “This I Believe” essays as a speech; the other would make a compilation video.  Check out the results for yourself, here:

After the assignment, I asked both types of classes which variation they preferred. Overwhelmingly, they identified making a video as being easier and preferable, though one student said, “Instead of spending our time memorizing and practicing a speech, we spent our time editing a video.  It’s just different.”

From my end, I find there is a lot of value in asking students to deliver speeches;  we give students few opportunities to present on their own, and I think there is a lot of confidence-building that comes out of delivering a speech.  However, in terms of students’ engagement with each others’ presentations, the classes who watched and assessed each others’ videos were far more engaged than the classes who watched speeches.  Additionally, from my end, I felt comfortable allowing my students to provide peer evaluations of a video, which is a final product, rather than a speech, which is a performance.

So, in the end, what it comes down to is a more authentic discussion of audience.  Is the purpose of the presentation just for our class? The broader school community?  Our community at large?  For those assignments that reach beyond our classroom’s walls, video seems to be the winner; whereas, for those assignments that are particular to our group, I’ll stick to speeches.


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