An interactive multimedia tutorial application to provide an innovative educational tool that would contribute to substantially improvement of the quality of mathematics and Sciences education in Afghanistan.
In the area of developing learning and teaching aids, ICTA has endeavored to leverage the powers of IT and developed a unique software product called “Moalem Hamrah (Teacher’s Companion)”. This software product is a significant step forward in terms of promoting education in the urban as well as far flung rural areas of Afghanistan in these testing times.
Moalem Hamrah is an interactive multimedia tutorial application developed and designed by ICTA especially for math and science subjects. It is expected that ICTA would expand its horizons to encompass similar software products for other subjects and at different levels.
The product has been designed in accordance with the syllabi followed in the Afghanistan Ministry of Education textbooks (General Education as well as Teacher Education Program). This exercise provided the opportunity to identify the slip-ups within the textbooks and make amends, so that the software product is error free.
Unlike traditional textbooks, Moalem Hamrah uses the visual Mathematics and Science learning technique, designed to run on any personal computer as well as a single DVD player.
Visualization significantly enhances the learning process as opposite to the traditional instruction in mathematics and sciences which rely far too much on memorization and verbal instruction while using far too little visual imagery. However, the rapid advancement of the technology and use of the computer and DVD players have provided us with the ideal tool to bring visualization into mathematics and sciences teaching. The user interface of Moalem Hamrah is designed to be simple, friendly to the user and utilizes objects that are
familiar to casual users of computers or other multimedia systems such as DVD players.
The principal aim of this product is to provide an innovative educational tool to Afghan students, teachers, and to the students of Teacher Education Institutes, especially those who do not have access to normal education (for example, female students in eastern and southern districts).
The tutorial clips are developed using Macro Media Flash and 3D Max technology. It is expected that such a tool would contribute to substantially improvement of the quality of mathematics and sciences education in our country's public and private schools as well as Teacher Education Institutes.
The product has a range of video clips that have been especially designed in 2 DVDs to enhance the understanding, confidence, enjoyment and results for students in the two national languages: Dari and Pashto.
This project is intended to be the first stage in an ongoing effort. These DVDs have been developed by very experienced and qualified professors from Kabul University and ICTA technical team. The product has the potential to immensely benefit the students when they are out of their schools.
Moalem Hamrah is intended to jump-start that process with particular focus on preparing teacher trainers of science and mathematics in general, and science in the TED centers.
The program contributes to elementary education as well as professional development of Afghan students and teachers, in fields of mathematics and sciences education and also in the use of technologies which can support classroom learning in teacher education centers and schools.
Emphasis is also being placed on strategies that engage teachers in the successful study of sciences and mathematics. In addition, mentoring skills is going to be introduced that will enable the teachers to serve as qualified mentors for their young students.
The program is designed to permit every TED student and other scholars to move ahead at his/her own pace in a highly supportive atmosphere provided in the TED centers or schools. Students need such a product to enhance their learning capacity in absence of qualified teachers and lack of standard teaching methods in the public and private schools. Teachers can also benefit of the teaching techniques were introduced via animated clips.
This program is designed to provide parents and teachers with the means to better employ visual imagery. The product is designed as a supplementary resource to help students in their mastery of mathematics and sciences. It is also designed to help parents to better understand mathematics and science concepts as they work to assist their children in home learning.
How to Use DVDs to Study Mathematics and Science Independently As students view the DVD, they get actively involved in the learning process by working out examples. The explanations provided in the DVD, make the students comfortable with the concepts. They are then able to solve additional problems in their textbooks.
The textbooks are beneficial as a source of practice problems, especially if mathematics and sciences are being learned for the first time. Practice (much practice) is necessary to shift understanding from short-term memory to long-term memory.
The methods using in the video clips enable concentrating and understanding concepts or general ideas rather than memorizing specific methods or definitions. By presenting different examples, students are encouraged to first think about what the problem is asking for. Then they are made to break down the problem in to different parts in a logical manner. The method of solution becomes obvious through following these steps Since learning of mathematics and sciences is a progressive process the product is designed to help students to improve their understanding gradually at their own pace and not become discouraged when encountered with challenges.
Inculcating their interest in these subjects is the vital first step, and that is one of the primary reasons why Moalem Hamrah inspires the learners’ motivation to learn mathematics.
Homeschooling with DVDs: The technique of using the product is very simple. Students can attempt to view and learn from the DVDs away from the school environment – in their homes. Each chapter of a textbook is divided into about two to four sections. Students should play the DVD and complete one section before moving to the next one. They have to know what is going on and why. Then the students are encouraged to work-out the sample problems. Partial solutions are available in the DVDs.
Watching the DVD Program: While the DVD instruction is playing, students could turn to the same section in the text within the textbook. Reference to text examples are casual and intended to simply reinforce methods or concepts presented in the animation video clips. The video instruction is comprehensive so text references are not necessary for a complete understanding of a topic. However by observing variations on a central
theme can often significantly help to solidify understanding of a topic.
Students are encouraged to attempt a few examples as they are presented. That is, once a student feels somewhat comfortable with a technique being discussed, as an example is being introduced on DVD, the student can pause the presentation, and attempt the example without looking at the DVD explanation. Then play the presentation to verify correctness. In that way, a student will often discover faulty logic or the danger
in taking shortcuts that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Study Techniques: Feedback from homeschoolers using our DVD programs reveals two distinct and effective techniques that may be of interest. One study technique is to view an entire section of DVD (one or several times) on a single day or to understand concepts and work sample problems with the instructor and concentrate solely on the exercises the next day.
The advantages of this technique are: (1) it is simple to oversee, (2) student responsibility is clearly defined, and (3) the amount of time required is optimized and predictable.
Another technique is to view the first few examples of a section on DVD and begin the exercises in the textbooks as soon as there is comfort with a particular kind of problem. This technique would likely require that the student stop the process at some point and continue the next day. Advantages of this technique include: (1) simple skills are solidified with practice before progressing to more challenging topics, (2) particularly good for a student with a short attention span in a relatively long section, and (3) the student will sometimes (perhaps often) complete sections in a single day. DVD technology can be utilized in a variety of ways at the different levels. Teachers as well as students can benefit from the availability of a video supplement.
Students: DVD programs can be located in a Learning Center, Mathematics and Science Lab, or Library for check-out by students. Students will use presentations to reinforce concepts presented in the classroom, or to catch up after absence or illness.
Gifted students use DVD presentations to satisfy their fast-paced interest, and they are equally ideal for selfpaced
study or for group study.
Anecdotal evidence shows that students at every ability level can benefit from using a DVD presentation as a learning tool.
Teachers: Teachers use DVDs for the following purposes:
(1) to continue with the class room lessons when they are absent [the video substitute offers maximum predictability in competence, material covered, and time required],
(2) when the video demonstration or animation is inconvenient or impossible for the teacher to perform in the classroom by using chalk and blackboard, (3) to investigate teaching techniques that they may wish to use in their class, (4) To brush up on unfamiliar topics.
When teachers use DVDs occasionally in the classroom, students become acutely aware of their existence and quality and are far more prone to check them out for home use.