Of course, I'm hardly the first person to notice it. I saw a great TED talk a few years ago that spoke about the difference between written ideas and speaking ideas. The gist of the talk was that historically, speeches and rhetoric was presented simply as people reading great works of writing. As time passed, however, it became less about the writing, and more about the personality and tone of the individual. As a result, we live more in a "talking centric" era rather than the written-centric era of the past. Take a look at modern political speeches if you don't believe me.
Regardless, getting students to convert their written ideas to spoken ideas (without simply reading them) remains the final hurdle in the debate project. On Monday, we'll see just how many can make the jump.