In Light of Hope, when we work with our educational contents and materials for children, we keep focus on 4 to 5 criteria that we found very effective after years of research and experiences. It’s not necessary that all of these criteria should be reflected in one single content. Our previous experiences say that if we want to ‘force-feed’ all the criteria into a single content, it becomes too complex to use and thus all the fun elements go taken away.
As content developer and teacher, you need to make a balance. If two criteria is covered, than it should be considered as a ‘good’ learning content.
The criteria that we keep focus on when we develop our ‘creative learning contents’ are given below:
Since each brain is unique and every children learn and process things differently, it’s important for the educators and teachers to consider whether the educational material is inclusive or not. It’s important to check whether slow learners, children with learning difficulties can also use these materials as effectively as others. All the children should be able to interact and engage well with the educational materials and only then it can be considered as a good one.
A single educational content or material on a particular topic may not have all the inclusiveness. For that educators or teachers can make different types of materials to cover one single topic considering the needs of the students.
For example, if you want to teach ‘solar system’ to children, you can develop a range of different materials and use various strategies like making a small model of solar system, doing a small project with children groups, making a game where 11 children can represent 11 planets and one can represent the sun and they can circle around the ‘sun’ to understand how the planets revolve around.
Here’s our ‘Letter to Picture Series’ that uses a different concept to teach children about alphabets. The content is designed such that the children can learn without adult supervision, even children with learning difficulties find it very effective.
Authentic, Creative and Engaging
The educational contents and materials should be authentic. It should try it’s best to cover the original idea or topic.
The developed material can be called creative and engaging enough when it succeeds in making learning fun and also ensures deeper level of understanding among the students. For example, you can simply draw a larger version of solar system as a learning material. But in the book or from internet you will get those pictures in more detail. As teacher, you have to think whether you can develop a model where the planets can revolve around the sun to make it more interactive and engaging for children.
Flexible to Use for Different Levels and Lessons
Creating a new learning material for the classroom is always time consuming and sometimes costly for the teachers. Best materials are those that can be used for different grade levels and also for various lessons.
Can you develop a chart that can be used for both basic math and also for science? Can you make a content that can be used by children from grade 1 and grade 2?
For example, we developed a concept called ‘Shape Artist’, which helps children to learn about basic geometric shapes, and also drawing animals and birds using these basic shapes. Teachers and parents can use this single concept for different levels and lessons.
Encourage Learners to Explore
The purpose of developing exceptional learning materials and contents is to instill curiosity among children. The materials shouldn’t explain everything about that topic. It should help children understand the basic concept and encourage them to ask questions and explore by themselves.
If you want to teach children about ‘water cycle’, don’t make contents and materials that explain everything and give away every information about water cycle. Leave enough things out, so that children can find out more about the topic. Help them to explore and self-learn something about water cycle.
For example, this video shows the human anatomy that encourage learners to explore: Video link.
You can find some video contents that we developed for students and teachers here. You can show them to your class, if you have multimedia facility.
Here’s the link for our Youtube channel: Light of Hope Youtube Channel
We hope this article will help teachers and educational content developers to come up with creative, engaging and fun learning materials for children.
We regularly provide professional development opportunities to teachers. To know more about our course, click here.