Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Blog # 8

With the focus of education increasingly being turned to differentiated instruction, teachers are using WeQuests more frequently. Since students are so drawn to the internet, they will easily be motivated to perform an educational task on the internet. Thus, the idea of WebQuests was conceived. WebQuests are a great tool to help address the different learning styles of each students. In fact, the number of activities associated with a WebQuest can reach almost any student. As I read about webquests and looked over the internet for various examples, it quickly became apparent that many are created by educators. If I were to create a webquest, I think I would need additonal instructional time with a software program such as DreamWeaver or Microsoft Frontpage. I am not comfortable enough to do that just yet, but I am always eager to learn a new technology skill to bring into the classroom. I teach science, and there are some topics that are really tough for students to comprehend. For example, genetics is challenging for middle school students to learn. When I teach on DNA replication and all that it entails, I have to scale it back compared to high school or college level because I don't believe their cognitive skills are as developed to handle the comprehension of such difficult concepts. I believe that Webquests would be very beneficial in helping to teach such a difficult topic because it would allow students to work at their own pace if I give them a specific webquest to visit. If I can become saavy enough to understand how to create a webquest, then I could easily create a cooperative group project for my students. I already do cooperative learning projects in my class whereby I place students in groups of four and have each person responsible for researching a specific topic and then bring it back and share with their group members what they learned. I could extend this activity by having the group create a webquest, which would be a great way to demonstrate student learning.

I just finished teaching the students about plant and animal cells and I actually used a cell webquest to assist in teaching about the different cellular organelles, where they are located, and, of course, their functions. I used The Great Cell Web Quest site at This was created by an educator who did a phenomenal job of packing all kinds of interesting videos and tasks within the web quest. It starts out with an introduction and then it takes the student step by step into the various tasks that will help teach them about the specific topic. It not only provided great information about cells, but it was comical and entertaining. The kids loved doing the various tasks within the computer lab and really looked forward to class during that week. So, I know that this is something I shall definitely put in my educator toolbox for future use!!!

The new things that I have learned during this particular week was creating a crossword puzzle, which I never did before, and also using excel to create formulas for calculating. I know that using excel formulas will definitely be more useful to me than the crossword puzzle. It's not that I didn't enjoy the crossword puzzle, it's just that they are demand so much time to create that I can use free online programs that can generate crossword puzzles instantly, and all I have to do is type in the word and the definition is the specific spots. As for the excel formulas, I have used and will continue to use this skill frequently in my teaching career. I had to use it to calculate the number of students who have paid for the fieldtrip and also how many boys were attending versus girls in order to calculate the number of hotel rooms, and busses to reserve. So, this is something that I will use frequently. I wouldn't use it very much to calculate grades because we already use a grading software program to do all of that for me.

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