Plastic and politics: how bureaucracy is failing our forgotten wildlife

by frances 11. March 2013 19:43

I was reading an interesting article in The Conversation on the 8th March 2013: "Plastic and politics: how bureaucracy is failing our forgotten wildlife" by Jennifer Lavers [Monash University]. This article would make an excellent trigger for an Introduction in a WebQuest investigating the environment, ecology, North Pacific Gyre or Great Pacific Garbage Patch; plastics and their effect on marine life particularly birdlife. The statistics involved with the amount of plastic is staggering!

The target audience could be students in Years 9 - 12 or University students. The Perspectives could be: a Marine Biologist, a Fisher, a Bureaucrat, a Statistican, and/or a Representative of the UN.

The Conclusion could ask students to investigate the collection of plastics within their environment of school or university; the types of plastics present in their normal everyday activities; and, their chemistry and pollution aspects.

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Ideas on how to use News topics as WebQuests

Prophets - Reminders of our Conscience

by frances 17. April 2012 15:02

I have just finished totally reviewing and updating my WebQuest - "The Prophets - Reminders of our Moral Conscience in the Bible and Today". This WebQuest was created in 2001 and desperately needed a new approach and have more Australian content! I have totally reinvigorated Activity 4 which is the hub of the WebQuest investigating Australians who could be categorised as Prophets, Leaders, Good People, or Heroes.

As you can see from the montage - there are Historical Australian figures and well known current Australians!

The first part of this WebQuest has a Research focus to get students to investigate what was known about the Prophets of the Old Testament. They are led to categorise and explore what it means to be a prophet.

This WebQuest can be completed within a term of 10 weeks and be integrated into Social Studies and Religious Studies as it looks at various Historical Australian figures as well as asking students what issue or cause would they stand up for!

Let me know what you think of this "new" WebQuest!

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Oil Spills and WebQuests

by frances 31. May 2010 18:50

Back in May, A terrible year for Oil Spills (ABC, The Law Report) was covered. This is a great article as stimulus material for a WebQuest! The Law Report states "It has been a shocking 12 months for oil spills: the Gulf of Mexico and, much closer to home, the Great Barrier Reef, the Timor Sea and the coast off southern Queensland. When disaster strikes how well do American and Australian legal and regulatory systems respond?"

What an incisive big question!!!

 

Resources:

Videos of the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010.

Timeline: Gulf of Mexico oil spill

National Geographic: Daily News

2010 Great Barrier Reef oil spill

Oil Spill 2010: Disaster Recovery Plan Needed

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Ideas on how to use News topics as WebQuests

Southern Ocean Sentinel & Climate Change

by frances 30. April 2010 17:32

Last night I watched the ABC's Catalyst programme  and the segment "Southern Ocean Sentinel" I was fascinated - firstly as a Science Teacher but also because of the evidence given for Climate Change.

"As well as a thermostat regulating our planet's current climate, scientists believe the Southern Ocean can be a sentinel, an early warning system, of climate tipping points to come. The entire ocean is changing, from the surface to the depths. When seawater freezes it leaves the salt behind. The resulting brine is super-cold, denser, saltier, and sinks to the bottom. That's why it's known as Antarctic Bottom Water. It drives a global current system called the Overturning Circulation." (Source: website)...."At the University of Tasmania, Donna Roberts and her team are searching for signs of ocean acidification. This is what she's looking for — tiny planktonic snails called pteropods. With shells the size of sand grains, they float using their foot like a wing, and catch plankton in nets made of mucus. Dr Donna Roberts "There are millions and billions of tonnes of pteropods in the Southern Ocean and in some regions, particularly the Ross Sea area, there is more pteropods per cubic metre than krill." Pteropods have a really, really fragile shell. All shells are made out of calcium carbonate but not all calcium carbonate is created equal. There's two types and the scientific names are calcite and aragonite.

NARRATION
When CO2 dissolves, it reacts with water to form carbonic acid and carbonate ions, which decreases the pH. Aragonite is more soluble, so any change in pH will affect the growth of aragonite shells first.

Dr Donna Roberts
Now, aragonite is actually in the shells of pteropods and in corals. So corals and pteropods are going to be at risk first if the ocean health and the ocean chemistry changes and it's changing because we're putting carbon dioxide into the water. We weigh the shells individually. Each shell will be about fifteen micrograms.

Mark Horstman
Fifteen millionths of a gram?

Dr Donna Roberts
Yes. I've probably weighed about a couple of hundred thousand shells. We're actually comparing shells from ten years ago to shells from today and what we find is that the shells of today are thirty five percent smaller and more fragile than they were ten years ago.

NARRATION
That means the pteropods of the Southern Ocean, and the food chains they underpin, may be living on borrowed time. Donna can calculate the CO2 levels when they'll basically run out of shell.

Dr Donna Roberts
The tipping point for pteropods in the southern ocean is four hundred and fifty parts per million and we are currently at three hundred and eighty eight so we're heading there rapidly and we, we think from models that we're going to get there in about the winter of 2030." (Source: website)

This would be a terrific report for students in Years 8 - 12 studying Ecology and Climate Change to view and would be a great resource for a scientist role within Climate Change WebQuest.

 

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Project Atlantica - What a WebQuest that would be!

by frances 8. April 2010 17:58

Have you heard of the Atlantica Expeditions?

What a great WebQuest this project would be!!!

The Atlantica Expedition is hoping to have an underwater human colony by 2015 - yes least than 5 years away! There are even members who are only 10 years old registered!!!

Future Tense (ABC Radio National - 29th April - "The League of New Worlds and the Atlantica Expedition") explored the topic with one of the crew for the first mission of the group - to live underwater for 90 days.

This information could be used for a WebQuest based on the environments of the planets and exploration.

The big questions could be: "Should the Atlantica Expedition go ahead?" Or "New Utopia underwater - is this possible?"  

 

 

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Diigo and WebQuests

by frances 5. April 2010 17:48

Recently, one of my students evaluated this tool - Diigo. It was listed 22nd out of the top 100 Web 2.0 Tools for 2009 by Jane Hart.

This free tool would make an excellent addition to a WebQuest as you can have an Educator's package which allows teachers to have their class isolated and sharing content with each other. The point of this social networking tool is sharing of information. Students can come into a site and use the highlight or sticky note about the information on this website. Other students researching the same issue/website can then read what another student has thought.

A great way to learn collaboratively!

 

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Web Tools to improve a WebQuest

Animoto & WebQuests

by frances 4. April 2010 17:45

When you are creating a WebQuest, you need to incorporate ICT (Information Communication Technologies) into it to enhance student learning and to introduce them to new ways of communicating.

This Web 2.0 Tool, Animoto [Education], encourages the creative aspect of students by allowing them to create a video about the issue they are exploring - a great way to present in a WebQuest!

This tool is free but limited to only a certain amount of time - 30 secs of video - but that is enough for the students (and great for those studying media and advertising). You can buy the premium level with unlimited time and other added features.

Just be careful of the music you use behind the videos and make sure it is NOT copyrighted - get the students to create their own music!

 

 

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Web Tools to improve a WebQuest

Mind Meister, Mind42 and WebQuests

by frances 2. April 2010 17:40

Yesterday I brought to you a listing of 100 different Web 2.0 Tools that could be used in the classroom for all learning styles - AVK.

Mind Meister is a powerful mind mapping tool that allows students to put all their ideas and thoughts down while they are researching or when they are coming to a conclusion about an issue in WebQuesting.

The 100 Tools for VAK learners suggested that another program - Mind42 "For Two" would be a great tool to allow students to collaborate on their mind mapping. This would be an excellent tool for students undertaking a WebQuest. In their roles, students could map out their ideas and see the thoughts of their partner. This tool would also be useful in summarising for debates or presentations.

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Learning Styles and ICT Tools

by frances 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 frances 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?

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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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Created WebQuests

Champions of Justice
Federator
Gold Force
Community Shopping Centre Planner
Can you get the party started?
Reminders of our moral conscience
The Petrov Affair
Careers
My Business Rules
Pluto's planetary status