Learning should be fun and engaging, even if it is not student’s cap of tea. I find similar joy every time when I prepare lessons for my students or homeschoolers which I have the privilege to guide in the exciting world of learning. The key is to find the right information in the right form and combine these elements into a new complex which will surprise kids and let them discover new horizons. Let me shortly summarise how I try achieve that.
I start with the topic summary, which is ideally based on student’s choice. I gather data from well known and recognised online resources or books, such as Openstax, Wikipedia, BBC Bitesize, encyclopaedia Britannica, GCSE textbooks or other usually scientifically orientated websites and magazines (Nature, NASA, Minecraft for Education). Google usually search very well for me. From the collected articles I pick the core info and some interesting facts or data, and also make notes into my OneNote document dedicated to each student.
After that initial step, I turn to multimedia. I start with the expected visit on Youtube where I will look for relevant videos. They do not need to necessarily contain an explanation but they should convey a visualisation of the core matter. If I find complete tutorial or explanation I will keep it as well because it might be brilliant for the initiation or conclusion of the lesson. Moreover, the video can introduce the topic in different perspective which might help to better understand. Apart videos, I would search for images and animations which will illustrate the problem and explain visually what is going on.
Lastly, I would transfer my notes and images into a presentation. Here is the lesson’s alchemy because it is essential to thing about order of tasks, questions, experiments and activities. I try to use experiments whenever it is possible. Hands on activities are great for the intro of the lesson, where they ignite questions and problems or as demonstration after our discussion about the selected matter. There is also a good opportunity to think about students’ notes and how to help them remember important facts for the future. Furthure more, I let them think off and ask themselves questions as I consider the ‘why type’ question as the key element in my teaching approach. Simply put, a correct lesson narrative, or story line if you wish, will help gradually introduce problems, find answers and digest it all.
That’s it, a lesson ready. I usually do at least one more check where I tweak the design, images and order to make everything cleare. To say this, it is good to mention that not all lessons will work the same way. Simply, there is involved too many factors beyond our control, so it is easy to loos sometimes. I remember to teach lessons either way, not good as I thought they will be, but also excellent and above my expectation.
The following simple list of resources is my continuously evolving spreadsheet placed in Google Drive. It contains resources for IT/Computer Science and Science. Feel free to look and try any of these links. I hope they help you with your study or teaching.