Weeks 1 - 4

 Whiteboard Demonstration

This is a pretty good video describing some of the possible tasks or activities you could do with a whiteboard. This is a homemade whiteboard, as I understand this video, but the same can be done by the more commercial version. 



Week 4, WebQuest Written Evaluation,“Natural Disasters Webquest for 2nd Graders”

The WebQuest I decided to evaluate is called, “Natural Disasters Webquest for 2nd Graders” and can be found at “questgarden.com/54/33/6/070809112450/”. One of the major reasons I selected this webquest was because it has a relatively low reading level (grade 5.2) and could easily be adapted to my adult education students. 

I found some of the links reading levels to be extremely higher than the second grade reading level of the students this webquest was supposedly designed for. 

With quite a bit of work I could adapt this webquest to my adult education esl students. This webquest would provide me with a good base to start from for the different level students I teach. 



Week 4 Activity, would WebQuests be a suitable addition to Chapter 12?

The two sections that discuss virtual learning and collaboration that I chose to make a case for well designed WebQuests to be included in Chapter 12 are, CSCL Factors That Make a Difference, Table 12.2, pages 266-267, and, CSCL: The Bottom Line, pages 283-284.

To clarify, collaborative learning is defined as a structured instructional interaction among two or more learners to achieve a learning goal or complete an assignment. (Clark, p. 429) 

According to WebQuest.org, WebQuests are “An inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web.” (http://webquest.org/index.php)

The versatility of a well designed WebQuest allows for them to contain any number of characteristics of computer supported collaborative learning discussed in Chapter 12. This is one of the principal reasons I make a case to include WebQuests in this chapter. I will first briefly discuss factors from CSCL Factors That Make a Difference, Table 12.2, pages 266-267; and then, CSCL: The Bottom Line, pages 283-284, to make my case.

Because of the limits of space I will discuss only some of the Factors that I believe to be most influential to include WebQuests in this chapter although I believe the case could be made for WebQuest inclusion in Chapter 12 for nearly all if not all of the Factors listed.

The guidelines laid out for CSCL group composition, 2-5 preferably heterogeneous matched students, match very well the common group composition for WebQuests.

Regarding the Technology CSCL Factor of Table 12.2, I would argue it offers a good example of why WebQuests should be included in the chapter, the importance of the tool features the teacher selects is crucial. As does good CSCL, good WebQuests need to have the tool features included in the students’ research match the outcome goals, “Asynchronous [tools] better for reflection and longer time periods; synchronous better for higher social presence. Many common tools lack capability to capture and display group thinking.” (Clark, p. 266) CSCL tools such as email, chat, blogs, discussion boards, etc. are easily incorporated into a WebQuest. Including WebQuests in the chapter would encourage use of those tools and the processes needed to use them.

CSCL is best suited for far-transfer ill -structured problem solving with groups of three to five and has mixed results with near and well-structured transfer assignments (Clark, p. 266) that often dominate the public school classroom. Including WebQuests in the chapter would encourage the use of the higher order thinking skills inherent in well designed WebQuests and thereby promote cognitive processes necessary as stepping-stones for desired far transfer ill-structured problem solving.

CSCL: The Bottom Line (Clark, pp. 283-284) is a strong argument for the inclusion of well designed WebQuests that can easily be adapted to include all or nearly all of the enablers mentioned that may promote better individual or group outcomes from collaborative environments: 

  1. A. Well constructed WebQuests can provide group process structures that foster the accountability and participation of each member of the team.

  1. B. In WebQuests you can relatively easily assign far-transfer problems to small heterogeneous groups composed of three to five members.

  1. C. WebQuests can allow you to use asynchronous facilities for outcomes that benefit from reflection and independent research while using representational mechanisms such as text or diagrams to maintain a record of the communications, allow for parallel input, encode group agreements, and support greater anonymity of discussions.

  1. D. To include team-skill training for groups that have not had previous teamwork experience would improve both the WebQuest and the collaboration skills of the students. 

  1. E. The teacher can, with the ability to relatively easily adapt the WebQuest, include group assignments and participant roles that promote deeper processing as necessary.

  1. F. A good WebQuest is going to, by default, provide clear guidance and objectives for team processes to avoid extraneous mental processing (Clark, p. 283)

As briefly stated here, the collaborative learning that is the principle characteristic of well designed Web Quests is most definitely complementary to the CSCL environment and therefore should be included in chapter 12 of the text.


EDT 598, Week 4, b. Review of Research, “Evaluate whether or not the authors correctly used the article as referenced in their research report.”

The research study I chose that was referenced in the Abbit, J., & Ophus, J. (2008) article, What we know about the Impacts of WebQuests: A review of research, was Maddux, C., & Cummings, R. (2004), Fad, Fashion, And The Weak Role Of Theory And Research In Information Technology In Education (p. 455), Journal of Technology and Teacher Education.

I believe the Abbit study correctly used the Maddux article as referenced in Abbit’s research report. Abbit and his colleague referenced page 525 of Maddux, C., & Cummings, R. (2004), when they discuss the debate, “Concerning the value and longevity of this [WebQuest activity] strategy.” (Abbit, p. 442) Maddux and Cummings did, as Abbit referenced, describe WebQuests as, “an innovation at risk of suffering the fate of all educational fads”. Abbit goes on to reference how Maddux and Cummings provide credibility to some WebQuest connections to sound educational theories of how children learn by paraphrasing ideas as stated by Maddux and Cummings, “WebQuests do have some logical connections to theories of how children learn, and thus some potential for useful, and lasting implementation in education.” (Maddux, 2004, p. 524) but that, as stated by Maddux, “A major problem with many of the thousands of WebQuests that have been posted on the World Wide Web is that they do not take into consideration what is known about cognitive development, the fundamental component of Piaget’s theory. The majority of WebQuests we have seen are written in exactly the same way and make use of exactly the same format, activities, and strategies regardless of whether they are intended for use with first graders or with seniors in high school.” And this is an apt description of how Abbit paraphrases Maddux, “They questioned the implementation of the WebQuest strategy without regard to the discipline and/or age level of the students with which the activity is used.” (Abbit, p. 442)

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