When a WebQuest ISN'T a WebQuest!

by frances 15. December 2009 12:04
This is the email I sent to Sofia Khayech, Youth Campaign Project Officer, The Cancer Council NSW on Sunday. I had been involved with its development giving feedback about how to convert it into a WebQuest. Unfortunately only some of my recommendations were taken up:

"I have gone into this resource to review it – so the review is now available for our subscribers. [WebQuest Direct]  

It was very hard for me to give it a final rating of only 2.5/5 as the resource is SO good.
But it is still not a WebQuest as I stated earlier in my thoughts to you, and I need to be faithful to my rating device of only giving 2.5 if the resource is not a WQ despite it being created and constructed beautifully.  
Unfortunately, I have only given it a 2.5/5 as it does not have 2 of the required elements to be a WebQuest:
·         required Group work[ so the project cannot be completed individually] that allows students to solve the messy problem and,
·         roles or perspectives where students are to solve the messy problem together but with different viewpoints given.   
Here is my review [for WebQuest Direct]:  “This is a comprehensive and well constructed web-based project designed for students in Years 9 - 10 (Stage 5, NSW, Australia) by the Cancer Council of NSW and based on Al Bino’s music video "It's A Beautiful Day". It was developed for students studying Media.  Unfortunately, students are not given roles or perspectives to solve the problem presented - an essential element of a WebQuest. Students can also work individually so deleting another requirement of a WebQuest - to work in groups. Students, individually or in groups of four, are to create a powerful multimedia message [using either a music clip, a video, a website or a social networking site] about skin cancer and the important ways young people can protect themselves from the sun. After they have composed their multimedia response they are to write an individual critical reflection outlining their learning experience. In detail, they are to use Al Bino’s music video; review the key elements of Al Bino’s music video and analyse how he uses different techniques to get his message about skin cancer across. Students are to complete 7 steps: 1: MySpace is MyPlace where they are to examine the context, audience and purpose; 2: What you looking at? where they are to identify and understand Visual Literacy features; 3: Rip it apart where they are to deconstruct the Visual Literacy features of Al Bino’s music clip; 4: Same or different? where they are to compare & contrast mediums of visual literacy targeting youth audiences using The Offspring "Pretty Fly" music clip; 5: Your turn where students are to create their own response (can be completed in groups or individually); 6: Stop. Reflect. Present - here students are to write a critical reflection and present their work; and, 7: Publish it - this is where students are to publish their final response.
Resources: comprehensive.
Evaluation rubric is provided.
No Conclusion is given although the competition which closes in early 2010 is probably seen as the Conclusion.
Teacher's Guide includes Curriculum Standards for NSW Media; some Implementation Advice; Duration: 5 weeks [40 minute lessons x6/fortnight] - which is very tight considering the amount of work students are to accomplish - homework will be essential although most students will not have access to software required at home.  
Design and Layout: students will need access to MySpace, Facebook, Ning, and YouTube; and, the software: Audacity; Animoto, Toondoo, VoiceThread, to complete this project. Also they will need access to listening to music clips.
Created in 2009." 
Despite this review as a WebQuest, it is a very good web-based resource for students and teachers in NSW! I hope you get lots of students and teachers using it – although it is a pity that they will think of this as a WebQuest.  
What will happen to this resource once the competition is over? [In March 2010].
I certainly hope Teachers and Students in NSW alike will enjoy doing this web-based project - it has lots to commend it BUT unless it is pointed out to them - this is NOT a WebQuest.

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What is a WebQuest?

Head of Treasury's Speech to ANU graduates

by frances 13. December 2009 09:43

 

 

Dr. Ken Henry
Australian Head of Treasury

Dr. Ken Henry's Call to Arms was reported in Peter Martin's Blog yesterday. It is a wonderfully crafted speech with challenges to our new graduates that they make a difference in their lives and ultimately, our lives.

The end of his speech, Dr. Ken Henry stated: "Climate change adaptation and the response to mitigation strategies will also have profound implications for the pattern of human settlement on this continent.

Taken together, these forces could produce the largest structural adjustment in our economic history.

And the emergence of China and India, especially because of its implications for global commodities demand, has conferred on Australia a large boost to its real wealth; but, at the same time, has set up a set of structural adjustments that will challenge policy makers for decades.

Challenges of these dimensions confront countries all over the world today. In all countries there are immense challenges that will test the limits of sustainability; economic, social and environmental.

Of course, they also offer unprecedented opportunity. This really could be a golden age for much of the world's population.

But here's the thing: the way this plays out is up to you. It is not something you should be leaving to governments. The question for you is whether you want to be able to say to your children, and their children, that you did everything you could to ensure that their generation would also enjoy the freedom to choose lives they would have reason to value."

It is truly wonderful to have a person in charge of Australian Government's Treasury Department with such views.

Last year, July 2008, there was a report in the Daily Telegraph with the heading: "Treasury boss Ken Henry leaves post to look after wombats".

 

Dr. Ken Henry with a northern hairy-nosed wombat.
When creating an Economics WebQuest for students in Years 9 - 12 or beyond - at University, Teachers and Trainers might think to add a perspective based on Dr. Ken Henry!

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General

Kiva.org

by frances 8. December 2009 14:21

Kiva.org "We Let You Loan to Low Income Entrepreneurs".....Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on Kiva, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else."

Kiva.org will allow students to participate in micro-credit and carry on the work of Muhammad Yunus, the Noble Peace Prize winner. Or they can investigate Yunus' ideas on social business through his website.

 

If you are creating a WebQuest around Poverty, Economics, or Commerce consider using this Resource!

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In the Classroom

Our Graphic Designer is so clever!

by frances 7. December 2009 09:20

Fuzz [Louise] of Fuzz Illustrations, Cambridge UK, is our notable graphic designer for "Your SWAT" [Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool].

Fuzz has just produced 3 iPhone Ebooks!!! They are fabulous!!! To have a look  iTunes: http://itunes.com/FuzzIllustration or if you want to see The Night Before Christmas in action go to: YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y6Fk0hHVCI

Fuzz has a great blog: http://fuzzillo.livejournal.com/ where you can see some of her creative work.

Earlier in the year, Fuzz was the feature illustrator on the British Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) site!

We are grateful that Louise is so passionate about her illustrations. To see what she has done for us, go to Your SWAT http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/swat

Here are some of the templates Louise has put together for us:

Ancient Persia                                              Diet and Exercise

Antarctica                                                   Under the sea

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News & Events

Prezi - a new presentation tool

by frances 25. November 2009 15:22

I just came across this presentation tool http://prezi.com/ the other day! It is fabulous!!!

If you want to give any sort of presentation a lift - then I highly recommend this tool. It was placed 28th best of 2009 e-Learning Tools at Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies

This would be a wonderful tool to give to students to create their presentations at the end of their WebQuests.

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Web Tools to improve a WebQuest

Our WebQuest Competition

by frances 25. November 2009 05:39

At the moment, we are awaiting the final submissions for WebQuests for this year 2009!

 

If you have created an excellent WebQuest this year, please submit it to our competition!

All you need do is register and submit a short summary of your WebQuest!

 

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General

Southern Bluefin Tuna

by frances 27. October 2009 10:29

This issue is a "Hot" topic within the news at the moment and provides teachers with an outstanding start to a WebQuest.

The Commission for the Conservation of the Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) 2008 Advice as cited by Dr. Campbell Davies CSIRO (ABC Oct 16 Fishing puts southern bluefin tuna on the brink)  "The 2008 advice from the CCSBT Scientific Committee (Commission of Conservation for Southern Bluefin Tuna) is that spawning biomass of SBT is likely to be less than 10 per cent of the unfished level. This level is below the level of many nationally and internationally recognised limit reference points for fisheries management." Commission is made up of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other Asian countries with an interest in the fish. About 90 per cent of Australia's SBT comes from Port Lincoln in South Australia.

News Stories about the SBT:  
Crean backs Japan to police tuna industry (27th Oct 2009)

Industry anger at bluefin tuna cut (27th October 2009)
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26264637-2702,00.html
Voice of America: 26th October
Quotas Cut as Scientists Warn that Southern Bluefin Tuna stocks close to collapse.
http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-10-26-voa18.cfm
Pacific tuna industry says reduced quota raises illegal fishing
http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/200910/s2724654.htm

Australian Government: Australian Fisheries Management Authority: SBT Fishery (Map)
http://www.afma.gov.au/information/maps/sbt.htm
Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Perspectives that could be taken:
Port Lincoln Mayer Peter Davis
Fisheries Minister Tony Burke
Commissioner at CCSBT representing Australia
SBT Fisherman
CSIRO Scientist
This WebQuest could be covered in Science, Biology, Ecology, Geography, or even Economics! Students from Years 5 - 12 could explore this issue.
If you would like to create a WebQuest around this topic, consider using our free Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool (SWAT).  

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Ideas on how to use News topics as WebQuests

Article about WQ Creation

by frances 22. October 2009 12:11

At Teacher/Trainer Professional Learning or TPL [http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/pd] we have gone back to basics about the development of a WebQuest. Reason? Well we were getting too many "WebQuests" submitted or created with SWAT that were just Research Assignments or Worksheets! It is so frustrating to find that teachers and trainers are using an old definition of WebQuests - "using anything on the Internet" instead of knowing that WebQuests are a sub-set of Problem-Based Learning (PBL).

For that reason, all our online courses have the following lesson plans:

Lesson 1: Overview and What is a WebQuest?

Lesson 2: Problem Based Learning [PBL]. What is a 'messy' problem? What is a Big Question - Essential Question or Focus Question?

Lesson 3: Roles or Perspectives: How is Collaboration involved?

Lesson 4: Tips for using Higher Order Thinking Skill Activities within the WebQuest

Lesson 5 & 6: How to use our Web 2.0 Tool (including using video clips, avatars)

Lesson 7: Scaffolding a WebQuest: Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation, Conclusion, Teacher's/Trainer's Guide - each section's purpose is explained

Lesson 8: Assessment: Show off your WebQuest!

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Tips on how to improve a WebQuest | What is a WebQuest?

Voiceless

by frances 21. August 2009 17:05
On the way back to Cairns from Yungaburra (in the Atherton Tablelands), I was listening to the Founder of Voiceless - the animal protection institute and recognised that this would be a great resource for anyone creating a WebQuest! Don't forget that one of the perspectives could be an animal. Students would need to use their emotional intelligence and you would have to carefully select the student who would take on the role of an animal - but it could also mean that the student could be very passionate about this role!

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Ideas on how to use News topics as WebQuests

James Cook University and WebQuests

by frances 10. August 2009 18:03

On Friday, I gave a lecture to 3rd and 4th Year Student Teachers at James Cook University Cairns studying under Professor Neil Anderson.

It was a wonderful experience with enthusiastic students all ready to make a substantial WebQuest as part of their assignments in their course. It will be great to mentor them and have another lot of Australian WebQuests for other teachers to use.

 

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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