The recent posts on “Devcompage’s new look” and “How readable are food recipes?” elicited scintillating comments from readers. A reader’s comment on the usefulness of running readability tests on VSU’s instructional materials was followed by an account of a devcom alumnus about his experiences in our classrooms. The chain of comments is worth reading as it brings to the fore some key issues about instruction — the readability of instructional materials, page design elements that contribute to reading ease, the need to ensure accuracy in textbook content, relevance or timeliness of content, etc. Equally important in classroom learning is the “feel good” factor which can be the sum of all these parts.
Interesting comments have continued to be posted or sent to me by email to build on the earlier comments in “Devcompage’s new look” which deserve attention. I’d like to invite the readers to post their comments on what they have done or what can be done to improve the quality of instructional materials.
Through your comments, I hope we can pull together a compilation of “best practices” in developing instructional materials (IMs) and distill what works best in the classroom, training center or field. Results will be synthesized and presented in this blog. We can then share the results with university administrators, teachers, parents, students, future teachers, and others who care about the quality of instruction. Here are tentative guide questions. Tackle any of these in which you have an unforgettable experience or that which you are passionate about.
- From what type of instructional materials do you learn the most?
- From which medium or media mix do you retain information more – paper handouts or PowerPoint presentations, a website? Why?
- In this age of competing new media (cell phones, email, weblogs, podcasts, videocasts, etc.) how can those be tapped for instruction?
- What has been your best classroom experience?
- What classroom activities made you learn more?
- What were the qualities of the teachers who engaged your attention and participation?
- What sort of instructional materials do you give your students? Are these free or paid for?
- How did you design your instructional materials to ensure that they are read by your training participants or students?
- How do you make training or classroom instruction a worthwhile experience?
- If your university is resource-handicapped, how did you circumvent that to “satisfice” and manage to improve the quality of instruction?
- If you are not using information and communication technology or online resources in your classroom instruction, why not? What are the constraints in using a website or a weblog for instruction?
- What types of extension materials do you use to reach your intended beneficiaries?
- Have you tried using ICTs to reach, motivate and teach farmers?
- What are your experiences in the use of cell phones to provide agricultural advice to farmers?
- What has been farmers’ response to ICTs?
- What is the current state of ICT access among farmers in your area?
- What are your difficulties when it comes to preparing instructional materials for extension?
Your comments will help enlighten everyone who is concerned about teaching and learning. Please post your comments.
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