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NECC Blogging Session 2

Overcoming Obstacles to Quicker WebQuest Creation

Bernie Dodge

Bernie Dodge is the creator and living guru for using WebQuests in the classroom. He’s not that exciting of a speaker, but this session is supposed to kind of unveil a new, easy tool for creating WebQuests. WebQuests take too long to create and the technical issues that pop up make them frustrating to teachers.

Time spent on WQs:

  • 4+ hrs finding good web sites
  • 3+ hrs designing the steps in the process
  • 3+ hrs designing to engage higher level thinking
  • 3 hrs maing the page look attractive
  • Plus other tasks that took a total of 10+ hours

What was hard…

  • Uploading from home
  • Not losing pieces
  • Higher-order thinking

Wishlist

  • Templates in various forms
  • Compatibility with Dreamweaver
  • Library of images
  • Flexibility in appearance
  • WYSIWYG test input
  • Easy image inclusion
  • Guidance on content for each section
  • Easy uploading
  • Access to standards
  • Cool navigation

To creat a WQ you have to have a certain amount of technical knowledge as well as pedagogical knowledge. All this together this is creating a huge obstacle

Technical Knowledge

  • Web Editing
  • FTP
  • Aesthetics
  • Searching

Pedagogical Knowledge

  • Constructivism
  • Scaffolding
  • Higher Level Thinking
  • Cooperative Learning

How can we change the environment? Well we have to fix the FTP issues…a separate application confuses people. Web Editing is also a barrier to creating WQs…who knows how to create web pages? And what about aesthetics? How can we encourage people to create good-looking pages?

What are some of the authoring tools available…because all that other stuff can’t be done by teachers…it simply takes too much time. There’s not really much available that isn’t lacking with some help or scaffolding.

Authoring Environments, not just Tools are needed to effectively create WQs.

QuestGarden is the new tool that Bernie Dodge has created for teachers to use. It is a web-based, php driven environment in which you can create WQs. One of the features is that you can choose the type of WQ…like comparing/contrasting, taking a position, etc. Once you make the decision, then the prompts change to reflect the type of information authors need to create a “good” WQ.

Llisted Features:

  • Step-by-step prompted guidance
  • Ability for webquest workshop leaders to monitor progress
  • Emphases on sharing resources and advice
  • Browser-based
  • Ability to upload pictures and supplementary files
  • Extras built in…like a glossary
  • Basedon design patterns
  • Ability to download someone else’s WQ into your space and tweak it
  • Can be exported to any other site
  • Style sheet control over fonts, colors

What is the status of QuestGarden?

If has been beta tested and will be available on September 1, but then he’s going to charge for it in a year…$20 for a 2 year subscription after that.

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