Simple design tips for stunning visual aids in the classroom
Using visual aids is a fun and effective way to teach primary children. The problem for many teachers is where to get beautiful and original materials to include in lessons. Of course, to design visual aids yourself is an option, but it can be difficult and overwhelming. So to help you, we have listed below a couple of tips that you can follow!
Use relevant images to encourage learning
As with every other kind of learning, it is easiest for students to memorize information when it is relevant to them. So for as many subjects as you can, use familiar images when you design visual aids! Popular cartoon or movie characters can be used as inspiration for your own characters.
Have a look at the following animated video, where familiar superheroes and adorable toys are featured in math problems. These aren’t only easy to notice and remember but they look good. Of course, there are also appearances of young boys and girls such as the students themselves!
This is part of a project that F.learning studio had with the Bar Model Company, which aims to teach children maths through visualization. Particularly, we produced animations and illustrations presenting math problems that they provided through the use of the bar model. The images and characters that were used are fun and relevant to the children’s lives, which help the children learn quicker and better. As a result, the visual aids helped turn a tedious subject into a fun and exciting one!
Something to think about when considering educational animation:
Free Infographic: 5 steps to design visual aids for teaching purposes
Basic but essential steps for beginner to design effective visual aids. Some design plaforms are suggested. Make sure to download it!
Keep your visual aids short, simple and colourful
To catch young students’ attention is one of the key purposes of using visual aids. Often, they are attracted to lively colours and images, but only for a short period of time. Thus, it is important to keep visual aids short, simple and colourful.
Why keep it short?
Young children have a very short attention span. In other words, they don’t have the patience to sit through long videos. Especially for the purpose of visualization, short and simple illustrations are more appropriate.In most cases, 1 or 2 pages of handouts and videos around 3 to 5 minutes long are usually good.
The exception to this is if you want to use visual aids to tell a story. It’s when the storytelling method is applied to teaching lessons about morals that you can be more elaborate. The first advantage of teaching by telling a story is that you are able to imprint the lesson in an engaging way. Moreover, the students will be encouraged to empathize, think and draw out lessons by themselves. Importantly, they often remember the lessons better when the stories are well presented using a video, especially animated video.
Have a look at this animated video that uses the storytelling method to educate children about mental health issues. The use of eye-catching design with dialogue of monster characters helps better deliver knowledge about understanding emotions, which is hard to explain by text.
Why keep it simple and colourful?
When you want to use diagrams or illustrations, being colourful but simple is also important. How so? Let’s imagine that you want to teach the solar system to your class. Below is a good example of how it can be illustrated.
Here, the shapes are quite big and simple, with varying colors. Additionally, even the background has a few colours rather than just black. Perhaps more complicated diagrams are more realistic but children are easily distracted by too much details. Thus, they are likely to find it hard to learn from complex illustrations. And that’s why simple is the best way to go.
Let students be part of the creating!
Young students are budding creators! They are full of energy and ideas. Instead of worrying about how to keep them still and focused during your lessons, use their energy to your benefit. Specifically, you can prepare crafting activities in class where they get to design visual aids that will be used for learning. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone – there is less work for you, and the children get a fun and creative lesson! Besides, they often view the world in such a unique and vibrant way that you should let them express that!
An example is letting them make paper animals or insects when you teach about the circle of life and nature. All you have to do is prepare the materials and instructions, and the kids will do the creating! The instructions can be presented orally or visually – as a video, an animation or a poster, which should also be beautiful and attractive to the children. Below is an example of a self-recorded instruction video.
Check out some awesome tips to create an instructional video:
Record and share your ideas
The final tip for you is to record and share your ideas and projects. It’s great to look back and find places where you could improve. Perhaps the children like some characters more than others. And, you will know what you need when you decide to repeat a project from a previous year.
In addition, if you work in a school (which you most likely do), other teachers might need help for their classes. Moreover, they might have ideas that they can share with you! You can help each other out, and get ideas that you wouldn’t have had otherwise!
So, it’s not simple to design visual aids for primary children. There are so many things you have to consider, but we’ve narrowed it down for you! When you design visual aids for primary school students, firstly, try to use as many relevant material as possible. Then, remember to use plenty of colours and to keep it simple. Finally, don’t be afraid of letting the children be part of creating! With these tips, we hope you will be able to design wonderful materials for your classes.
If you want to learn more about in-class primary school visual aids, we have some articles below that will be helpful!
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