Instead of getting students to deliver presentations to the class about key aspects of a new topic, consider instead getting the class to work together to create a collaborative ‘choose your own adventure’ game like this example by history students from the International School of Toulouse.
How to do it
Firstly, re-imagine the key aspects of the topic in terms of ‘locations’ on a map by converting ‘themes’ into ‘places’. For example, if you want to cover economic factors, create a bank. If you want to cover education, create a school. And so on.
As an illustration, here’s how I laid out a conceptual map for Culture in Weimar Germany in the interwar period. Each batch of ‘places’ corresponds to a different theme. For example, the ‘cinema’ has several ‘screens’ with different films showing in each one; similarly, the ‘Music Hall’ has a performance of the Threepenny Opera, then you can go backstage to meet Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht:
Next, create a series of separate pages on a Wiki, Google Sites or similar – one page for each of the locations you envisage – and connect them together with links like “Go North”, “Go East” and so on.
Next, the fun part! Give each student a link to their specific project page and they have to write an account within it describing what is there, in the style of a ‘Choose your Own Adventure’ story (“You find yourself at the Art Gallery. The posters on the wall tell you that there are three main rooms – one for the work of Otto Dix, one for George Grosz, and one for Franz Beckmann. Which of these do you wish to visit?”).
Once the students have finished writing their pages, students can be given a copy of the map and make notes within it to outline the sorts of things they learn. The teacher could construct a worksheet based around the adventure and set a factual test based around the game.
Taking it further
The game can be revisited, re-edited and developed by the following year group. If you use Wikis for such projects the revisions are easy to track, and fresh pages can be added so that each year the adventure grows bigger and better.