For this project, I designed a Prezi that could be used with my French II students to help them review the passé compose (past tense). I really enjoyed creating this project, and can certainly see how projects such as this could help develop the disciplined and synthesizing mind.
Any project that uses a variety of types of media and sources is an effective project. It allows students to look at a topic from a multitude of perspectives. It also helps motivate students. Each student has different interest and needs, and allowing students to use different sources and media types will help each student to relate to the assignment in some way.
In his book, Gardner discusses the issue where “students may have accumulated plenty of factual or subject matter knowledge, but they have not learned to think in a disciplined manner” (Gardner, pg 22). This is certainly a problem that all teachers can relate to. We want our students to not just recall facts or information, but to understand that information and apply it to various situations. French is a topic that builds upon itself. There are many concepts that my students learn that they can use later on to predict new grammar rules. Having my students create projects such as Prezis where they have to apply an old concept to a new one would help develop their disciplined minds.
Synthesis is also a very important skill for our students to learn. Gardner defines synthesis as “the ability to knit together information from disparate sources into a coherent whole” (Gardner, pg 44). When I created my Prezi, I did exactly that. I took the topic of the passé compose, and then visited a variety of sites to gather information about the topic. I even created some of my own media (the audio clips) to add to the final product. I then combined all the information and media into a presentation that would concisely and completely review the passé composé. My students could certainly create a similar project. Doing so would help them develop their synthesizing minds.
This was my first time using Prezi, and I am already mentally planning various projects my students could do using Prezi. If I am so excited about using Prezi, I can only imagine how excited my students will be about using it!Gardner, H. (2007). Five Minds for the Future. Harvard Business School Press: Boston, MA.