How to use interactive resources with students
Students working at their own pace in an IT room
There are some topics that normally involve quite a lot of chalk and talk e.g.
- domestic electricity in Electricity Explained
- nuclear power in Radioactivity and Atomic Physics Explained
and that don't have too many exciting practicals associated with them.
For these types of lessons booking an IT room and taking a whole class up there normally works pretty well. The deeper and wrong ideas sections let students of higher ability take things further.
Using the adaptive multiple-choice testing
At the end of each lesson there is an adaptive multiple-choice test. The algorithm is:
Ask a simple question on topic A. If they answer correctly ask a more difficult question on the same topic, otherwise ask a simple question on topic B.
Each test has a minimum of 10 questions and a maximum of around 30. The number depends on how each question is answered.
There is full feedback all the way through and a summary at the end identifying weak areas together with links back to the appropriate part of the lesson.
There are several advantages to these tests:
- neighbouring students tend to follow different paths so it's more difficult to cheat
- every student gets stretched because if you get a question right you generally get asked a more difficult question next
- higher ability students not only get asked more difficult questions but they end up being asked more questions in total, making a class more likely to finish at the same time
- lower ability students aren't confronted with difficult questions they might find rather disheartening
Using in class with a projector or interactive white board
There are lots of advantages of using animations and simulations but the two main ones are probably
- you can an invisible or conceptual process
- you can use equipment that it's too time-consuming, costly, complicated or dangerous to set up yourself
There are several times when putting up an animation or simulation really helps smooth the teaching and learning process
- as a way of explaining a piece of practical work, for example showing a circuit animation after students have set up the circuit with real equipment
- as a quick revision of equipment used in a previous lesson without having to set it up again
- as a way of magnifying a piece of equipment, for example a cathode ray tube, that's quite small and has to be used in the dark so that you can explain what's going on
- as a way of getting rid of the clutter of a real experiment so you can concentrate on what you're trying to show
Students using the lessons at home
There are many opportunities for students to use these lessons at home including
- if a student has been absent it's a good way of catching up
- for higher ability students to extend their understanding
- for students to be able to revise what they studied at school