Guidelines for Making a Great Collection

What makes a collection engaging for students? There are two elements that are important to keep in mind when you create your collection: teacher voice, structure, and collection length.

1. Teacher Voice

How do you communicate with your students digitally?

Make sure that your voice is present throughout the collection! Your students should be aware of your expectations and instructions throughout the collection.

Use the narration tool to communicate with your students in your collection. Narration can provide directions and set the tone of the learning experience. Reiterate your instructions in narration scattered throughout the collection.

Extra Credit!

Looking for a way to inject your voice directly? Screencast tools like Jing let you create short videos on your computer. A screencast is the perfect way to start a collection because it establishes your voice while providing a perfect format for explaining the collection.

2. Structure

Consider how your resources are organized.  One great way to structure your resources is called the Watch, Read, Do model. In this model, students start by watching a video, dig deeper by reading a text, and finish by applying their knowledge with an interactive resource or quiz. This can be a good principle to keep in mind when introducing a concept.

The Watch, Read, Do model allows for different learning styles to engage in material, and also provides a natural progression for learner engagement:

1)  Watch (video)
Videos are a great way to start a collection because they grab a student’s attention. Choose an attractive video that hooks student interest and provides context for the rest of the collection.

2) Read (textbook or website)
Once a student has watched a short video, they’re ready to dig deeper into the material. Follow up with a text-heavy resource, such as a website or online textbook.    

3) Do (Interactive or quiz)

Finish by allowing your students a chance to apply their new knowledge. Games, simulations, and quizzes are all good ways to finish your collection.

3. How long should my collection be?

The ideal number of resources in a collection depends on how you would like students to interact with each of them. In general, however, students respond well to collections that are between 6-10 resources long (about 30 minutes long). If there are multiple concepts introduced in your collection, you may want to include a watch, read, do cycle for each concept.

Final Thoughts

Even if your collection is impeccably structured, it won’t impress anyone if it is full of sloppy, unreliable resources. A high-quality resource satisfies each of these criteria:
  • Purpose: Where does this resource fit into the rest of the collection? Does it provide a unique learning outcome?
  • Age-Appropriateness: Keep your audience in mind.
  • Attractiveness: While this shouldn’t be the main consideration when choosing resources, including a few attention-grabbing resources can really boost student interest.
  • Interactivity: Make sure to include at least a few interactive resources in your collection. Games and simulations are popular ways to engage your students.
  • Reliability: Exercise responsible internet research practices and check where the information in your resource comes from.

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