- Keywords: Presentation, speaking
- Learner English level: Beginner and above
- Learner maturity: University
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Activity time: 2 classes
- Materials: Worksheets, smartphones, PC/printer, paper
In-class presentations are a great way for students to demonstrate oral communication skills. However, when in front of a class, nerves can negatively affect the presenter’s smoothness, fluency, and pronunciation. To move the focus from public speaking and encourage practice and self-evaluation, this activity involves recording students’ speaking and sharing the audio via QR code on posters. The result is a self-guided, museum/gallery-style presentation session, where students can listen to each other’s work at their own pace, without the pressure of standing in front of the class.
Assign students topics to research and prepare a 30-120 second speech. Topics can be adapted for a variety of language levels and content areas. For example, beginner students could share a personal narrative about their hometown or hobbies, and advanced students could research a particular person, place, or historical event. Distribute a worksheet (see Appendix) with the assignment and an explanation of how to record and submit audio files.
Step 1: Instruct students to prepare what they would like to say and outline what their poster will look like. Depending on the students’ levels, determine an appropriate target for the length of speaking time, and other target skills such as intonation, pronunciation, pacing, phrases for explaining visuals (“As you can see…”), and so on. It may be helpful to mark speech cues on students’ scripts so they can remember where to use them in their recordings.
Step 2: Guide students through the process of recording their speeches with their smartphones. Free voice recorder applications are often pre-installed on iOS and Android devices. Students should record and play back to check timing, speed, pronunciation, smoothness, and so on. They should re-record multiple times until they are satisfied with their best recording, which they then email to the teacher.
Step 3: After submitting audio, ask students to create posters to visually support their speeches.
Step 4: Create QR codes for each student’s audio file. To do this, gather all of the files in one folder in Google Drive. Select each file individually to create a shareable link. Copy the URL into a free QR code generator. Finally, copy and paste the QR code image into a document file. Remember to label each code in order to distribute them to the correct students. Higher level students can also create and print their own QR codes with a quick tutorial.
Step 5: In the second session, distribute the printed and labeled QR codes and ask each student to tape the corresponding code to their finished posters.
Step 6: Display the posters around the classroom.
Step 7: Instruct students to use their smartphones to scan the QR codes on their classmates’ posters and listen to each other’s speeches. Depending on the students’ levels, they can take notes on the content of each presentation, provide peer feedback, or simply listen and vote for their favorite submission.
Students enjoy this variation on presentations because it allows them to share ideas without the pressure of public speaking. Since many of the non-verbal aspects of presentation are removed, emphasis is placed on speaking, pronunciation, accuracy, and clarity. The repetition involved in recording the audio several times gives students opportunities to recognize errors and reflect on their communication skills. Additionally, these poster presentations can be included as part of a speaking portfolio.
The appendix is available below: