Many of us still remember lugging around a backpack full of textbooks to and from school. While textbooks remain integral to a learning curriculum, the reality is different than what we experienced growing up. Today’s modern classrooms are full of quality digital and adaptive products. From game-based learning to interactive courses and simulation activities, PreK-12 educational materials come in all shapes and sizes for every learner.
At the Association of American Publishers (AAP), we have a committed membership of PreK-12 education content producers who know that publishing materials for the digital age are about creating engaging content that helps students reach their highest potential. Each year, AAP’s PreK-12 division identifies and honors high quality resources through their REVERE Awards program. By recognizing successes in the educational content industry throughout the years, we’ve found keys to creating learning materials for today’s classroom.
So here are five lessons we took away from some of the 2015 REVERE Award winners:
1. Adaptive learning built on quality content is a powerful tool. Learning resources that personalize classroom materials with real-time assessments are helpful for the student as well as the teacher. Feedback on how students are performing for certain tasks and assignments is immediate and can instantly influence how to teach students based on their needs. Responsive programs that create individualized learning pathways for each student help foster a classroom environment that is conducive to unique and effective learning.
2. Technology with the human touch helps students learn. One REVERE Award-winning product featured handwriting recognition with the ability to use a touchscreen to answer math equations. This solved a common problem with digital learning for math, since writing out equations on digital tools had been challenging for some students. Resources like this allow the student to fully engage with her learning, taking an active role. Other examples include platforms that allow students to create their own content based on their own interests, and video technology with the ability to let students ask experts in the field questions directly pertaining to their studies. Connecting with technology through personalized interaction to programs can help spur enthusiastic learning.
3. Interactive tools and games help promote critical thinking. Incorporating interactive elements into learning resources creates an immersive environment that provides students with activities and opportunities to experiment with content from a variety of perspectives. With fun and compelling games, learners are able to improve critical thinking skills through experience adapting to new ideas. For example, an educational app with a guided story lets the user pursue multiple pathways through activities to develop skills, like planning and lateral thinking.
4. Accessible and easy-to-use resources make teaching and learning more effective. It’s valuable to help the teacher with organizing and planning so that they can focus on what’s most important: teaching. Learning companies provide more than just physical books; they also provide resources and tools for teachers to make professional educators stronger, such as practical strategies to develop an engaged community of learners and classroom research for a positive school environment. Support tools help teachers develop a strong curriculum aligned with standards by making materials organized, understandable and easy to use.
5. Resources based on well-researched, expert information are trusted. Supplying schools with professionally produced educational materials that are based on confirmed research from reputable sources is important to ensuring quality learning. When students and teachers have accurate and relevant learning resources in line with the latest pedagogy, everyone benefits. Cutting-edge scholarship curated for the classroom gives the next generation the knowledge they need to compete on a global scale.
For a complete list of tips on publishing quality educational resources from the REVERE Awards winners, visit our Top 10 List.
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