How Transforming Student Materials Can Maximize Learning

By David Kwan

Consider Your Student Materials and If You Should Transform Them

Consider the major types of materials you give your students and whether they are optimized for their learning. You may consider whether your guided notes and graphic organizers support your multi-sensory learners. You may want to add more challenging questions to your pre-existing homework assignment. You may also wish that your students had more space and the right tools to demonstrate their understanding on a quiz or test. While some of your existing materials may serve their exact purpose, chances are there are a few that could use a tune-up and others that could be completely transformed.

Actual Transformation

Tuning up your assignment  is tweaking it to meet your students needs, but transforming your assignment is dramatically changing it to maximize student learning. While it can be difficult to determine the impact that an image or extra set of questions can have on your student’s achievement, what is indisputable is the impact you can have in process of considering an old assignment with a fresh set of tools.

Ko: Transformation in Action

Ko, one of the newest members on our Formative Dream Team, has been using our site to transform his materials. While Ko originally tested out our site to simply digitize a musical notes assignment that had fill-in-the-blank questions, the Formative tools enabled him to consider improving his students’ musical notation reading skills with a fresh perspective:

1. Instead of simply including text instructions on how to draw a treble clef, Ko decided to include an instructional video instead. The modeling and voice over instructions are great multi-sensory supports.

2. Instead of having his students draw staffs from scratch, Ko uploaded staffs that matched the one in the video. His students had more time to actually practice what they learned in the video.

3. He used different question types (multiple choice, short answer, show your work) so his students could apply their understanding of drawing notes in a variety of ways

Ko believes that Formative tools encourage him to re-think what he gives his students and thus how they learn. The fact that our tools can do this is very encouraging in itself!