If the curriculum and its objectives are clear and well defined, it will be obvious when a textbook’s content is in line with the curriculum and when the objectives of both the textbook and the Computer Science curriculum are In parallel. When teaching Computer Science it is very important to select the correct textbook as well as to select the right community resource.
While it may be difficult and overwhelming to select the right textbook, there are factors that will guide a teacher in selecting the appropriate textbook. Five factors in selecting textbooks are appropriateness, readability, availability, credibility and cost. The textbook should be appropriate where the content and objectives compared with the Computer Science curriculum are concerned. When students are doing any activity such as an assignment or preparing for a test, they should be able to use Just one textbook. The textbook that is to be chosen should cover all or at least most of he syllabus.
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This will prevent students from using two or three different textbooks. When some students use more than one textbook for the same subject, they might get confused because of the different styles or levels that the different authors use. It should have an easy to use glossary, index, appendix, and table of content. The glossary should have all the terminology used in the chapters. This will provide a quick reference for the student. It should also have an activity at the end of each section or chapter, so that the students can test themselves.
They will discover whether they understand the concepts of that chapter, or whether they are weak In a particular area and need to revise that area before moving on. Having the relevant content is good, but it is useless to the student if the information in the textbook is unclear or difficult to understand. The text should be physically clear. This means that the font type, font color, font size and the background of the textbook should permit the reader to read the text exclusively of any intricacies. Pictures, tables and graphs should be clearly printed.
Graphical Illustrations should be relevant to the content, and located near the points of reference. Labeling these pictures, tables, and graph are crucial to comprehension. As it relates to vocabulary, texts with unnecessarily complex vocabularies should be avoided where possible. If a text has infrequent complex words, the speed at which the students read and comprehend will be slower. The ease of understanding what is read is also affected by syntax, or sentence structure and the way in which the content is organized. The progress to unknown concepts.
Availability and cost are two factors to be considered when selecting a textbook that are sometimes overlooked. Even if a textbook is perfect in line with the Computer Science syllabus, if it is not available for all the students that will be using the text, and if it is not affordable for the average student, it should not be selected. Some of the things that affect the credibility of a textbook include author educational level, date of publication and the reputation of the textbook. The education of an author can be used to assess whether a textbook is creditable.
For example, an tutor with a Doctorate degree will be accredited more that an author with a Bachelor degree. In sciences such as Computer, technology and information is changing very rapidly. Things that could not be done one or two years ago can now be done today. It is important to keep up with the change in technology. Other wise a textbook may contain information that was true back when it was written, but is incorrect now. If a textbook has been on the market for a long time, and it has been used successfully by schools, then it should be among the list of text to be evaluated.
In addition, if a reputable teacher recommends the text, it should also be considered. When using community resources, it is important that the teacher makes sure that the concepts that are taught, do not conflict with what is taught in the classroom, are relevant to the Computer Science curriculum, and are not too complicated for the students to understand. When selecting a resource person, he or she should not be selected on the factors of qualification or position held by the individual, but also his or her ability to demonstrate or explain what they know.
The individual should be able to foster two-way communication and be humble enough to allow students to ask questions. The session should include discussion after the information has been passed to the students. Relevance is of great importance when selecting a textbook. A textbook that contains a CD or DVD disc in the package is a plus, as this will provide interactive learning. It will also provide work-labs that will allow the students to use the newly gained concepts in real world like situation. This will enforce or drive home the concepts and ideas that are taught in the textbook.
The best textbook for a Computer Science course may rely on the teaching style of a teacher. A teacher that is bias towards teaching with a practical approach will teach best with a textbook that has many graphical illustrations. While a teacher, who is bias towards a theoretical approach will teach best with textbooks that are text based, and have few graphical illustrations. Because instructors’ mind are at a higher intellectual level that their students, they this, it would be wise to include a student representative in the evaluation of the codebook.
Since students are the ones that are going to use the textbook the most, they should have an input in the selection process.