Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Synopsis of the WebQuest including its intended audience, its educational goals, and the curriculum standards addressed if stated. 

This WebQuest is intended for 6th grade students, but can be used for multiple grade levels.  The topic of bullying, harassing and tolerance is at the forefront of educational institutes nation wide.  The main goal throughout this WebQuest is to educate student, parents and teachers on the topic of bullying.  In the end, the students should be able to develop strategies to deal with acts of harassment. Bullying or harassment, like other forms of aggressive and violent behaviors, interferes with both a school’s ability to educate its students and a student’s ability to learn.  School districts across the state and nation have developed strong policies that deal direct with acts of bullying. 

What pedagogical strategies are employed in the WebQuest and are they effective? Is there use of metaphor? Are they using inductive or deductive strategies? Is there scaffolding? What other strategies do you see? 

The task is clear, the teacher has placed students in teams to research bullying.  They are to research different aspects of bullying from the perspective of a student, parent or teacher.   As a class they will come up with a “survival guide” for the school.   Scaffolding is evident as the students are building on their understanding through the resources provided.   Each team is provided with questions that they will research and provide support for their answers.  Then they will publish a final document to the school as a survival guide for 6th grade. 

In what ways is the WebQuest taking advantage of technology? In what ways is it 'change without difference'? Could this WebQuest be done just as well by photocopying pages and handing them out to students?

This WebQuest takes full advantage of the digital world of research.   Providing many resources for the students so that they can answer the questions provided.   I do not think this could be completed with photocopying based on the depth of the task provided.  There would be a large amount of copying that would be wasteful and unnecessary to the students.   Not to mention you could not actually duplicate all the information provided within each link.  

Technically, does it work? Does it have bugs or flaws such as broken links or images? Is the material out of date? Does it credit its sources?

This is a very simple site to maneuver through, however I did find that two links were not in working order.  Some of the data was dated, but still had value in the content relating to the subject.   The evaluation portion was clear and simple for the user to follow.  All sources were credited. 

How would you improve the WebQuest? 

Personally, I would have made it a little more appealing to the eye.  Also, I am a big proponent of using video clips to engage the learning.  Most likely I would have included some youtube clips that are age appropriate to deliver the message.   Adding some testimonials from the student experiences would also be included in the site.   Overall, for the intended audience I found this to be age appropriate and meaningful to the development of our students.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bullying - Stand-Alone Instructional Resource

Does the software present valid (correct) concepts, models, and skills?

This resource does a nice job presenting the real life issue of bullying within our schools.  The video, which kicks the resource off brings the issue of bullying to a reality within our schools. 

Does the software present educationally significant concepts, models, and skills for the discipline? 

This resource was very clear in its message regarding what bullying is and the different methods that bullying is happening.  It also followed up with an assessment that focused on the main principles of the content. 

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching –Learning Tool:

1.     What stage(s) in the learning process/cycle could the materials be used?
a.     Explanation or description
b.     Demonstration of the curriculum /exploration of the problem
c.      Practice using the curriculum / analysis of the outcomes to other problems. 
d.     Applying the curriculum to new problems / application of the outcomes to other problems.

Bullying – Stand-Alone Instructional Resource would be beneficial as an explanation or description of the learning process.  This resource does a nice job of explaining what bullying behavior looks like.  It also does provide many facts around bullying, which may also be valuable teaching moments that would grab a student’s attention.  It could be applied as a new problem that is a direct correlation to other problem areas that surround student behavior, depression or anxiety. 

2.     What is the learning objective? What should students be able to do after successfully learning the material. 

Any student should be able to understand how their actions / behaviors may be viewed as bullying.  Bullying isn’t just saying mean words or being physical.  This resource demonstrates how many different acts are considered bullying.  For example, some students may not view a group of kids laughing at another person an act of bullying.  But it is!

3.     What are the characteristics of the target learners?

The target learners would be sixth grade and above.  The video clips are of older students so this would be somewhat confusing to younger students.  However, with that said the content and facts could be applied to younger students.  The topic of bullying is discussed on a young age in schools, but it is my experience that the middle level age group needs a large dose of educating or re-educating on this topic. 

4.     Does the interactive/media rich presentation of material improve faculty and students abilities to teach and learn the material?

This resource is very rich in it’s presentation and involves many different components to the lesson.  The presentation begins with a powerful video showing a student being bullied in multiple ways.  Then provides a strong definition and many facts on bullying.  Then it wraps up with a short quiz on the content previously learned and ends with a video message from Justin Beiber. 

5.     Can the use of the software be readily integrated into current curriculum and pedagogy within the discipline?

Bullying – Stand-Alone Instructional Resource is a simple keynote presentation with two videos embedded into the presentation.  From an educators standpoint this resource would be applicable for any staff member to present to all middle and high school students. 

6.     Can the software be used in a variety of ways to achieve teaching and learning goals?

This resource provides for many different opportunities to deliver the content.  It can be lecture, group work with examples provided, whole group discussion, role-playing examples of what bullying is then presenting to the class. 

7.     Are the teaching-learning goals easy to identify?

I think the goals of the lesson are clear, however providing time for discussion and clarifying questions would best help.  If delivered in a way that the students understand the severity of the topic then the message can be attained.  If the person delivering the lesson is not sincere then the message could be lost and taken as a joke.  This is a topic that the person needs to have a strong connection with students. 

8.     Can good learning assignments for using the software application be written easily?

This is an area that you could develop a variety of lessons.  The presentation is very user friendly and you could develop rich assignments.  From paper and pen, group role-plays, creating their own multi-media lesson related to bullying. 

Ease of Use:

1.     Are the labels, buttons, menus, text, and general layout of the computer interface consistent and visually distinct?   YES
2.    Does the user get trapped in the material - YES
3.    Can the user get lost easily in the material? - NO
4.     Does the module provide feedback about the system status and the user’s responses?  YES
5.    Does the module provide appropriate flexibility in its use? YES
6.     Does the learning material require a lot of documentation, technical support, and/or instruction for the most students to successfully use the software?-NO
7.     Does the material present information in the ways that are familiar for students? YES
8.     Does the material present information in ways that would be attractive to students?  YES