Saturday, 18 August 2012

Envisioning creative end of the chapter activities for children through online tutoring

In my blogs; I have always enumerated different ways through which online learning can be made better through creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. This write-up is no different; except that it includes certain points which will help online tutors to create out-of-the-box end of the chapter activities for children.

How many times I have been discussed about the need for creativity in online courses during my blogs. But have I ever spoken about the need for originality in developing end of the chapter activities for children? Teaching a child is the most difficult task, more so; if yours is an online course. But the toughest job is to make a child to homework; which we call as end of the chapter activities in online education. If you have made the child interested in the course; then half of your job is completed as you have already created the curiosity in the child. That also means that a major burden of your shoulder has lighten; but it is not the end of the hurdle. The bigger test is to make the child like the activities after the chapter ends.

It is possible that the child may develop lack of interest in doing the activities which you think will help him gain additional knowledge from the activity. But the difficult part is that you can never be there with the child to make him/her understand the importance of doing these activities earnestly. So what is the possible option left to you? I have already researched a lot and found that majority of e-learning course providers have a quiz at the end of the chapter which gives an assessment to the child about their grasping power. But don’t you think that if you were in their shoes; you would have studied only to get through the quiz in flying colors without worrying about gaining knowledge from the course. If that is the case then what is the big difference between class room education and online education. Since there are many students in a class, teacher cannot concentrate on each and every child hence; children need extra help of joining a tutoring class. Now if an online tutor cannot help the child and provide the requisite knowledge to them; then I cannot possibly understand the need for enrolling in the online course at the first instance.

Now what we need is an innovative solution to this problem which is not easy; but it is possible. The only reason for me to continue writing this blog is to find creative ideas for online tutoring; so that children can enjoy studying online in a fun-filled manner. But the current teaching mechanisms are very far from the benchmark that I have set while envisioning a great online course with creative end of the chapter activities for children. You can always try to include something different something unique; and mix them with the orthodox teaching techniques to make a winning recipe for children. It is all about thinking like a child as discussed in my every blog. That is the secret to making a connection with them. Without that it is impossible to get the desired results from your course. So let me now provide various activities that can make you stand out from your online competitors; and make you instant fans amongst parents and children:

For English: I have already discussed in my previous blog titled “Determining a breakthrough teaching mechanism for English online tutors”; that there should be an innovative way of teaching children. In fact I have already discussed some breakthrough ideas in that blog. Now the major challenge is to go a step further and create end of the chapter activities for children so that they are still interested in the chapters after getting through the chapters. One way of doing that is; by showing couples of minutes of footages of animated story created out of the lessons; and then ask them to write the dialogues for each of the characters without changing the story line. The other alternative is to give them match the following kind of stuff; wherein you show animated images of characters in the lesson and ask them to match the characterization of each individual without browsing through the animated series of the chapter. This way child will love to engage in the activities; and will not feel it as just another way of evaluation. Try to fix a minimum criterion that the child needs to meet before proceeding further. This will give them an opportunity to know whether they have gained expertise in that chapter. Even if they are not able to achieve the minimum criterion there is nothing to worry. They can see the animated series of the lessons once again; and then try to give their best in the activities; so that maximum knowledge can be gained from the activities.

The sole objective of conducting the activities at the end of the lessons is to make sure that the child retains the story-line and gain knowledge from the chapters thereby; getting insights from them. The other way of looking at it is giving something different to the children; so that they can enhance their creativity and showcase their talent. This can be done by asking them to write the synopsis of the animated series in their own words, mentioning the role of central characters in the story and the moral behind the story. This way children would be able to retain the lessons for a longer period of time without much effort. 

For Math: Now this is a very sticky situation because it is very difficult to design engaging activities for children especially if we talk about Math as a subject in online tutoring. But since I have already discussed about innovative activities that can be done for English it is only natural to showcase different innovative ways through which Math education can also be made fun-based for children. Now as far as activities are concerned they would go in the line as discussed in my previous blog titled “Challenging task of making math a fun-loving activity for students”. Since I have already discussed innovative methods of making Math an interesting subject to teach in online tutoring. Let me go a step further to evaluate different activities that can add a new feather to Math education; as far as end of the chapter activities for children are concerned. So let me start off with the activities.

Remember when you were 10-15 years old you were fond of various super-heroes. So we will use the same concept in our activities. For example; if we are talking about division problems. Then the activities would be something like this: 

Batman is fighting a supreme battle in the Gotham City against Bane, a ruthless monster who wants to take down the Gotham City with a nuclear bomb. Now if Bane has planted 4 different nuclear bombs in different locations of Gotham City and Batman has only 2 occasions to find out the exact location before the bombs diffuse; how many tries does he have in total to save Gotham City from the nemesis from happening?

This can be a very interesting division problem; and but it cannot be that simple for a 10 year old to solve but it will keep them engaged in the problem and get the solution. I will give you another example of fraction to showcase that these kinds of activities can not only be creative; but also enriching for the critical thinking of the child as discussed in my previous blog on Math titled ““Challenging task of making math a fun-loving activity for students”. 

Captain Jack Sparrow is joined by Angelica to search for fountain of youth. But the only glitch is that once they are there they will have to encounter a fatal encounter with a “one-legged man”. Now there are also mermaids in the story which are quite vicious. The trick to get to the fountain of youth; and get eternal youth is to get tears of sorrow from one of the mermaids and put it in a cup and drink it. Now this is not an easy thing because they are vicious and attack individuals like predators. So if there are six people including Jack, Angelica, Mermaid, One-legged man, Phillip Swift (who falls in love with the mermaid) and BlackBeard, who practices voodoo magic and yields a magical sword to control the ship. Who amongst these six will be able to get eternal youth? The only problem is there can only be one person that can gain eternal youth. Find out who amongst these six individuals would be that lucky person?

The answer is quite simple; 1/6. But for a 10 year old the most fascinating part would be to imagine being in the adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow; and trying to figure out the eventual winner who gets eternal youth out of the six participants.

Although the examples that I have given are based on movies you can create your own fictional characters. But bear in mind that children should be fond of the characters. These characters should have some sort of connection with children like Batman and Captain Jack Sparrow. This can lead to further enhancement of knowledge in children in a very creative and interesting way. Similarly different examples can be given for solving problems and puzzles by giving interesting characterization to children.

In the end I would conclude this blog by saying a very famous quote by Vincent van Gogh,

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? 

So always think big and try to go out of the way and follow your dreams; because they are not just visions or hallucinations but they are your pathway to future success.

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