28 June 2011

Computer Teaching Technique: Fewer Words, More Pictures

If you’re having a difficult time teaching your students about the operation of computers, then you might want to look into the technique being used by author Chris Charuhas: using pictures.

When he worked as a computer instructor in a community college, Charuhas noticed that his students learned more quickly if he walked them through the lessons by showing them how to perform computer operations. According to him, the more he showed and the less he talked, the better the students remembered the lessons.

From what he observed, he decided to write a computer book that “featured large pictures, step-by-step tasks, and minimal text.” Initially offered as an e-book that can be downloaded for free, the book received overwhelming response especially from parents with dyslexic kids and non-native English speakers. In its first six months, it was downloaded 50,000 times - proving how popular it is.

The technology expert shares the following information based on a survey among teachers that he and his team did and his own experience:
  • Students perform better if books and teachers underline tasks that they would be able to do with the computer programs.
  • Step-by-step detailed instructions are especially helpful to children with short attention span or those with Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • The fact that most computer books available in the market today are written in English does not make the task of learning about computer programs an easy task for non-native speakers. Pictures and large black and white illustrations lessens the complications.
  • The fewer texts appear on a computer how-to book, the easier it is to understand.
The book, although designed mainly with special students in mind, was also greatly appreciated by average students (i.e. those with no special needs.). According to Charuhas, teachers who tried his book pointed out how the average students in their class preferred the book over their regular textbooks because of its simple layout and illustrations.

You can utilize his technique of using illustrations to make your students comprehend computer lessons more clearly. Illustrations and simple texts would surely be of good help, especially to students who are not proficient in the English language.

Did You Know?

Former computer instructor Chris Charuhas is now the CEO of Visibooks, LLC, a publishing company that specializes in computer textbooks.

The first 50 pages of each of his In Pics books could be downloaded from http://inpics.net/

Reposted from SmartSchools Program

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