Learning Styles and ICT Tools

by admin 1. April 2010 16:38

While researching for Web 2.0 Tools that can be used in the classroom for the different AVK Learners (Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic), I came across a good site "100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner".

This article lists 100 tools divided up into the appropriateness of each tool to AVK learners.

This site explores different tools for Visual Learners - 34 in fact - divided into 3 categories: Mind Mapping; Charting & Diagrams; and, Videos and Photos.

For Audio Learners, there are 31 tools divided into the following categories: Podcasts; Presentation Tools; Audio Tools; Text Readers; and, Audio Books.

For Kinesthetic Learners, there are 34 tools listed in the categories: Note Taking Tools; Bookmarking; Interaction; and, Collaboration.

This collection of tools offers teachers a range of tools that can be incorporated into the classroom even if you are not using WebQuests. They are there to be investigated and will enhance any lesson.

I can see their great application to WebQuests. These tools will enable the teacher to create WebQuests that will cater for all their students covering all the AVKs.

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Article Review | In the Classroom | Tips on how to improve a WebQuest | Web Tools to improve a WebQuest

Bloom's Taxonomy and ICT Tools

by admin 29. March 2010 11:41

I have just organised for my student teachers a Learning Activity involving Learning Styles and ICTs. In researching for this lecture, I came across this wonderful material about Bloom's Taxonomy and ICT Tools. This same material was reported in Tech&Learning in a simplified manner as "Bloom's Taxonomy Blooms Digitally" - it is set out in a very tidy manner.

I love the fact that so many of the Web 2.0 Tools are Free or Open Source Software [FOSS] - this is great news for teachers!

The ICT Tool Category within "Bloom's Taxonomy and ICT Tools" article includes Word Processing, Presentation Tools, Desktop Publishing, Geographical Information Systems, Instant Messaging, Audio Tools, Video Tools, Mind Mapping Tools, Graphics tools, Project Tools, and, Modelling Tools. Although this article was reported in 2008 it still has relevant "possible tools" for each category.

As teachers, you can make this listing of relevant ICT Tools up to date by using Jane Hart's Directory (2009 & currently being updated daily the 2010 Tools).

Jane's 12 categories are: Instructional tools; Live tools; Document and presentation tools; Blogging, web & wiki tools; Image, audio & video tools; Communication tools; Micro-blogging tools & Twitter Apps; More collaborative tools; Social networking and collaboration spaces; Personal productivity tools; Browsers, Players & Readers; and, Mobile Tools.

Jane has listed hundreds of Web 2.0 Tools to use within the classroom and for training purposes! It really is any exciting place to be as a teacher.

As far as WebQuests go, as a teacher you need to make sure that you have more of the Higher Order Thinking Skills [HOTS] Web 2.0 tools present.

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Article Review | What is a WebQuest?

Building Better Principals

by admin 24. March 2010 10:18

This entry has nothing to do with WebQuests but it caught my eye and leads from my comment on the NY Times article on Building Better Teachers reported on 4th March 2010.

The Herald (a newspaper in regional NSW, Australia) reported yesterday (23rd March - Inequity in what Hunter schools stimulus money will buy) about inequities on how the Federal Rudd Government monies to schools was spent. Instead of praising Black Hill Public School principal Brian Adamthwaite to the hilt about his decision to project manage the building of "the first permanent buildings at the school in its 128-year history", the newspaper concentrates on comparing other schools that didn't take this initiative!

What a Principal - Mr Adamthwaite certainly lives up to the school's motto: Endeavour and Achievement!



It goes to show that being a Principal (and a teaching Principal as well!) is more than meets the eye!

Congratulations Brian on a job well done! 

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Article Review

Building a Better Teacher - NY Times

by admin 4. March 2010 19:04

"Building a Better Teacher" by Elizabeth Green* and published in the New York Times on the 3rd March 2010 is an excellent article to read! [although 9 online pages long!]

In essence, Green reports on Doug Lemov's investigations on what makes "a quality teacher". Lemov explored the problem of different student outcomes based [as collated through standardised American tests] solely on the quality of teacher classroom management, after all the other extraneous elements were accounted for. Lemov has created his taxonomy of good classroom management [The official title, attached to a book version being released in April, is “Teach Like a Champion: The 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College.”]. You can read some segments of the book (PDF) here to get an idea of the classroom management techniques explored.

Lemov ignores the content of the lesson and concentrates purely on the classroom management techniques as a way that all teachers can teach and all students can learn.

But what about the passion of the content? What about the way content is delivered to students?

However, the article is balanced as it provides another dimension. Green goes on to ask the question... "Is good classroom management enough to ensure good instruction?" She describes the work of Heather Hill, an associate professor at Harvard University, who realised that even if a teacher has good pedagogical techniques but they don't know their subject matter very well - then students still do badly on standarised testing.

Hill is a member of a group of educators, who, like Lemov, are studying great teachers. But whereas Lemov came out of the practical world of the classroom, this group is based in university research centers. And rather than focus on universal teaching techniques that can be applied across subjects and grade levels, Hill and her colleagues ask what good teachers should know about the specific subjects they teach.

The wellspring of this movement was Michigan State’s school of education, which, under the direction of Judith Lanier, one of the original Holmes Group members, took the lead in rethinking teacher education. Lanier overhauled Michigan State’s teacher-preparation program and helped open two research institutes dedicated to the study of teaching and teacher education. She recruited innovative scholars from around the country, and almost overnight East Lansing became a hotbed of education research. (Green, 2010, NY Times, p 6)

This group of researchers consider both the mechanics of teaching as well as teachers knowing their subject matter as essential to be a quality teacher.

I think it is extremely important to give all teachers Professional Development (Teacher Professional Learning - TPL) in pedagogy. Lemov's taxonomy could be a good tool especially for student and beginning teachers but teachers also need to know their subject material very well and be passionate about it!

One way to address both these requirements is to use great WebQuests - they have sound pedagogical techniques behind them (Problem Based Learning, Higher Order Thinking Skills, Constructivism, Cooperative Learning, Social and Emotional Learning) and the content should have been created in such a way to get students to think and become passionate about the learning.  

*Elizabeth Green is a Spencer fellow in education reporting at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the editor of GothamSchools.org.

Here is some video examples from the Uncommon Schools that use Lemov's Taxonomy as classroom management techniques

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Article Review | In the Classroom | Research & Case Studies

Every Queensland state school to teach indigenous culture

by frances 16. July 2009 19:41

 

As reported in the Courier Mail, "EVERY state school in Queensland will teach indigenous culture in a radical plan to reduce the education gap with their fellow Australians. State school residential colleges where indigenous children board, but are close enough to their community to go home on the weekend, are also being proposed. Indigenous educators say the plan represents ''a seismic shift'' within the Queensland Education Department and offers new hope for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Presented in the report, Closing the Gap Education Strategy, schools are told they need to halve the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Year 3 numeracy and literacy levels by 2012. By 2013, schools are expected to lift indigenous retention and attendance rates to that of their non-indigenous students."

If you go to Scot Aldred's Blog [see side panel for Educational blogs], you will see numerous occasions where Scot (an Australian guru on Problem-Based Learning @ Central Queensland University) has recommended that PBL is taught in Australian schools as this approach to learning engages and motivates ALL students!

Let's hope that the "seismic shift" occurs! All the best Queenlander Teachers - this should be a wonderful thing to happen!

 

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Article Review | General

TYPES OF QUESTIONS INITIATING A WEBQUEST A MENTAL MODEL

by frances 14. July 2009 17:24

 
 (Source: Types of Questions initiating a WebQuest: A Mental Model)

 

In this article by Dea Conrad-Curry, the art of questioning is described. Conrad-Curry gives Research examples about content that teachers are wanting students to explore. She then provides some questions that will elicit the same knowledge but promotes higher order thinking. The types of questions are: Understand, Figure out, Decide, Build or invent, Persuade or convince, Challenge or destroy, Acquaint, Dismiss, Wonder, or, Predict.

The article falls down by not describing the questioning involved in Problem-Based Learning - the basis of WebQuests. Again, it ascertains by not exploring PBL that WebQuests are just "inquiry-based" projects.

However, the examples that Conrad-Curry explores are very helpful for teachers wanting to get students to think deeply about a particular subject.

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Article Review

Technology empowers differentiated instruction

by frances 10. April 2009 08:41

eSchool News (Monday Feb 02, 2009),  Technology empowers differentiated instruction  ISTE webinar offers new strategies for ensuring that all students learn by tailoring instruction to their abilities, needs, and interests By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor.

This is a great article to read from two Primary/Elementary Educators, Grace Smith and Stephanie Throne, authors of the book Differentiating Instruction with Technology in K-5 Classrooms and the soon-to-be-published Differentiating Instruction with Technology in Middle School Classrooms.  

 

 

Smith and Throne provide lots of practical ways teachers can engage their students including:

  • Tic-Tac-Toe Board with various activities that students can choose from
  • "I-Search" (see I-Search Unit , and, I-Search Curriculum Unit ); or
    • Webbe (where students make their own web books
  • WebQuests,
  • interest centres
  • flexible groups,
  • literature circles,
  • Role Audience Format Topic Tech (R.A.F.T.T.),
  • Jigsaw, or
  • computer software.

For WebQuests, "Working collaboratively, students use web research tools to investigate a teacher-designed topic of interest. They can also work collaboratively and use technology to create, write, publish, and present their information to their peers," said Throne in explaining WebQuests. WebQuests challenge students to solve a problem or answer a complex question with several possible answers. In the process, students typically learn about several different subject areas."

"Above all, DI [Differentiated Instruction] should be used to promote 21st-century skills," said Smith. "This includes digital-age literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity. A mastery of these skills will lead to student achievement." Both authors said technology is a great choice to consider for DI, because it helps to personalize instruction, enhances learning with multimedia components, can help students construct new knowledge, and motivates students with their work.

Other websites referenced of Interest:

1. Everything DI

2. Dare to Differentiate: Choice Boards

3. RealeBooks.com

4. WebQuest Maker [Limited functions!]

5. Reading Strategies (RAFTT)

6. RAFT

It all seems a lot of work - but with worthwhile results!!!

From my experience, students who are provided with WebQuests [as well as these other DI techniques] are given real skills and are engaged in their learning process.

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Article Review

The Book Whisperer

by frances 7. April 2009 09:41

I have just read a very interesting article about a teacher in Texas who is an expert in encouraging students to read.

She is known as the "Book Whisperer". In the Teacher Magazine, the article "Creating Readers" (parts I, II, III), Donalyn Miller explains how she gets students in her Year 6 class to read. It is well worth a good read yourself especially if you are a parent, grandparent or a teacher. She has some excellent tips and great lists of books for all students (after Year 2 students).  

Do any of you have any great reading lists for students from K - 2??? Would love to hear them!

Donalyn has a blog which I have added to our blog listing (right hand side).

It encouraged me to have a look for WebQuests on the books she mentioned. There were woefully few WebQuests! What a shame!

I think if we could have more real WebQuests (not reading comprehension or Scavenger Hunts, or Research Assignments) but real WebQuests where the students are given a messy problem to solve eg. creating a screenplay; or, a new ending to the book; we could incorporate it into the classroom. Although I would hate to have WebQuests regarded by teachers and students alike as tasks that could spoil their pleasure of reading a certain book. That's why it would have to build on the book! Making the book even more interesting and engaging!

Of course, another way to encapsulate this great article is to turn it into a WebQuest for teachers!!! Maybe that's what I should do for these holidays instead of the ANZAC Spirit WebQuest I have had on the back-burner for a number of years!!!

Here are some of the books Donalyn recommends in the article:

Tripping Over the Lunch Lady, edited by Nancy Mercado.

Sixth Grade Nickname Game by Gordon Korman

On the Run by Gordon Korman

Guts by Gary Paulsen

My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen

How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier

Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Clique series by Lisi Harrison

Click Here by Denise Vega

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

The Word Eater by Mary Amato

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Tarantula in My Purse by Jean Craighead George

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer

The Beasties by William Sleator

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen

The following books have WebQuests that I know about:

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

I would love to hear about any other books on this list that have an associated WebQuest!

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Article Review

"Creating a WebQuest: It's Easier Than You Think"

by frances 13. March 2009 18:20

"Creating a WebQuest: It's Easier Than You Think" (08/1/2009) Article in Education World.

The article opens with the following statements and questions: "WebQuests are probably the most talked-about and widely used Web-based activities in today's classrooms. What are WebQuests? What accounts for their popularity? And how can you use -- and create -- WebQuests in your own classroom?"

Education World asked two educators about WebQuests... here is one response: "WebQuests, which use the constructivist approach to learning, are a super learning tool, said Kenton Letkeman, creator of a number of excellent WebQuests.

"With many research projects," Letkeman told Education World, "students feel that they are sucking up information and regurgitating it onto paper for no other reason than to get a good grade. WebQuests give students a task that allows them to use their imagination and problem-solving skills. The answers are not predefined and therefore must be discovered or created. Students must use their own creative-thinking and problem-solving skills to find solutions to problems.

"WebQuests are also a wonderful way of capturing students' imagination and allowing them to explore in a guided, meaningful manner," added Letkeman, a resource-based learning consultant for the Tisdale School Division in Saskatchewan, Canada. "Communication, group work, problem solving, and critical and creative thinking skills are becoming far more important in today's world than having students memorize predetermined content."

This article is getting teachers talking everywhere!

Let's hope so!!!

One way of creating WebQuests, that wasn't mentioned [don't know why editors like Linda Starr don't know about us] is through SWAT

Let's see how many teachers will start using WebQuests - they are brilliant!!!

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Article Review

Effectiveness of cooperative learning: WebQuest as a tool to produce

by frances 9. March 2009 13:07

Effectiveness of cooperative learning: WebQuest as a tool to produce scientific videos by S. Lara and Ch. Repáraz, School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Department of Education University of Navarra 31080, Pamplona SPAIN

These authors examine the use of the WebQuest with students in Year 10 studying Geography in Spain. Although published in 2005, this paper is going to be presented at the International Conference on Multimedia and ICT in Education, 22- 24 April 2009, Lisbon, Portugal.  

The WebQuest can be found here - in Spanish.

 

The Authors Conclusion:

"The results show that the use of a WebQuest helps and guides group members in their investigation work and in the production of their videos. It motivates group members to learn in a different manner, and in collaboration with others. It helps them to divide the load of the task among the members of the group. It helps them to seek solutions, share their information and to take into account the information of others. It contributes towards each group member working at his task. Everyone learns things of real value. In short, this way of working is positively valued, as opposed to individual classroom work. A WebQuest definitively secures the development of competences related with scientific investigation such as: the capacity of information analysis, synthesis and evaluation, of initiative and the taking of decisions, the capacity of observation and of adjustment to specific facts, evidence, and data, of simplifying what is complex without losing the global vision, of the development of critical thinking, of planifimcation and organization, of the performance and the evaluation of what has been planned. These are all competences which help students to assimilate knowledge, to integrate them, relate them with others, and thus attain more solid learning." (Source: Conclusion, Paper)

It is worth noting that this paper cited a few other (older) research papers on the effects of WebQuests. Unfortunately, the authors are using the old version of the definition of Dodge and March, and, the WebQuest itself is in Spanish so we have get to review it.

Anyone out there that is a teacher and speaks Spanish, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at info@webquestdirect.com.au

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Article Review | In the Classroom | Research & Case Studies

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Other WebQuest & Educational Blogs

As I come across other WebQuest Blogs (& Educational ones), I will list them here.

Jane Hart's Blog (Jane is a Social Technologies Guru in UK)

Scot Aldred's Blog (Colleague at Central Queensland University and guru on Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

The Innovative Educator

Digital Education Blog

Blogging Corner Carnival

eLearn Magazine Blog

Dr. Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine

Primary School.com.au Blog

Charlie Sullivan - Charlie does a fantastic job collating websites for Primary schools.

De Tools Blog

This blog by and for online educators and features free web based tools applications and resources. Author: John Goldsmith.

Bright Ideas: a blog by the School Library Association of Victoria

The Book Whisperer

This blog is written by Donalyn Miller, a 6th Grade teacher in Texas, who is reknown for encouraging students to read!

 

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