Teaching English, I use a lot of different websites that I then ask my students to use for homework and extra practice outside of class. One such website that I use is called “Spelling City”. I love this website, because it allows a teacher to create a user name and password for each of their students, and then I can track when a student has logged in, what homework assignments they have done, and I can see their progress. However, too many students forget how to log in, and the parents complain that the website is all in English, and they can’t understand the English enough to help their children log in. Clarify-it is a beautiful solution to this problem. It helped me create a step-by-step tutorial using screen shots of my computer. For the purpose of the assignment, I wrote the instructions in English, but will add a Japanese translation when I hand this out to my students.
After viewing this tutorial, a student will be able to access and log into their individual student “Spelling City” account.
Please click here: speedy-speller to view the PDF format.
The instructions are simple:
- From your desktop, please open up an internet browser. Feel free to use the browser of your choice.
- Enter “Spelling City” into the search engine. Then click on the arrow button.
- Confirm that the website is http://www.spellingcity.com and click on “Login”.
- Under the student Login, please enter your username and password. This should have been assigned to you by your teacher. If you have forgotten what your username and password is, please talk to your teacher.
At least…I thought the instructions were simple, until I took this class. I realized that I have not been taking my students ages and their knowledge..or lack of knowledge, as the case turned out to be…into account. I just assumed that by writing down the website name and their name and password, they would have been able to figure it out on their own.
When applying the multimedia principle (the importance of using both text and pictures), the e-Learning and the Science of Instruction textbook reminds us that “Simply presenting information is not all there is to instruction, because the instructor’s job is also to help guide the learner’s cognitive processing during learning” (p. 71). I had just been presenting them information on how to log in; I hadn’t been guiding them on how to use a computer and access the web and log into a website, which is a skill that many lower grade elementary school students aren’t familiar with.
To create the PDF, I downloaded clarify-it to my desktop, and signed up for the free trial. I then took a simple screenshot of each step that I listed. To help make an effective PDF, I took note of the Contiguity Principle #1: “Place printed words near corresponding graphics” (e-Learning and the Science of Instruction, p. 91). Clarify-it makes it easy to edit the screenshots instantly, so it was easy to add circles to draw attention to where students should click, as well as to add arrows and text near the corresponding graphics to be able to guide the students with the lowest level of computer knowledge. The screenshots with the text will also allow the students or parents whose native language is not English to sign in. Further PDF’s can now be made to ensure that each student knows exactly where to click to bring up the assigned homework or game for that week.
This was surprisingly easy and simple. I have struggled with other screenshot programs before, but this one…made designing an instructional PDF a piece of cake. I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone that has to design Multimedia instructions.