Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tips for K12 Courses

What things must you remember when designing K12 courses?

1. Learning is more effective when the examples are from the children's day to day experiences.
2. Repetition helps internalize the concepts taught. This is why we remember tables, alphabets, nursery rhymes. Say it over and over again. Make them practice over and over again with different examples.
3. Move from simple to complex. Ensure that when you introduce a concept you start from simple examples and then take them a level higher (complex). This move should be gradual to ensure that they are still with you.
4. Use visuals to make learning more effective and interesting. Design innovation exercises to ensure that it is fun and effective.

For example: You want to teach fifth graders proportions.

Step 1: Help them first identify the symbol ':' as proportionate to. Explain that his symbol helps make comparisons between two things. Explain that 1:4 reads as one is to four or one is proportionate to four. Have an exercise to check whether they are able read the equation correctly. For this exercise, use visuals, such as three dogs to five cats. Provide several examples to ensure internalization. Then, ask them to write out equations based on the visuals shown.

Step 2: Move them a level higher. At the nursery, there are girls and boys. For every two girls there is one boy. Write the equation. (Show visuals for this.) Then, give them a situation in which two equations need to be compared. Tina makes upma for breakfast. She typically adds two cups of water for one cup of rava. Today, she increases the quantity of rava to 2 cups. Can you complete the equation?
2 : 1 = ? : 2.

The examples should be from the learner's environment. Use names based on the nationality/location of the learner. Ensure that all items used as examples are things the learners see and recognize. For example, do not use examples such as upma for US learners. :)

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