Prior to the beginning stages of the WebQuest activity for class I did not know much about WebQuests at all. Reading articles about WebQuests as learning tools in the classroom and finding examples of them was informative, but I don’t think I was able to get a full understanding of this particular teaching method until we had the opportunity to discuss the activities in class. I thought that making this activity a group effort was definitely beneficial. I had a great time brainstorming and coming up with a WebQuest with Kyle Wilkinson. We agreed on coming up with a WebQuest for sophomores in high school learning about WWII. We wanted to come up with something that would be interesting, informative and not too complicated or time consuming for our colleagues who would have to complete the activity. We decided to have our “students” complete a flyer for a tour of a significant WWII monument, memorial, location or museum. I thought this might be an interesting activity because I love traveling, and have had the opportunity to see a few significant WWII sites. In my opinion, seeing the monuments and real places where things happened really puts things into perspective and allows one to feel the history and relate to it on a deeper level. Kyle and I had a good time coming up with the WebQuest and trying to imagine the steps it would take for our future students would take in completing the activity. I was actually surprised that I enjoyed coming up with the WebQuest, because when I was first reading and researching WebQuests I did not think I would use that method in a future classroom ever. However, after creating and completing the WebQuests I found that they can be an interesting, and creative ways to help students better understand important topics. I participated in three WebQuests. One was for astronomy, one was about cells for a science class and the last one was for a PE class. From participating in those three WebQuests I learned I would probably not use a quiz as the main part of the assignment because students might just look up the answers online rather than answering the questions from the WebQuest resources. I really thought that all the WebQuests I participated in were very well thought out and informative. I was very impressed by Lisa and Arthur’s Surf Experience WebQuest because coming up with a WebQuest for a class like that was probably a little more difficult than the typical core subjects. They were able to incorporate budget planning, research and surfing into the WebQuest, and it was fun to complete. I think it was important for us to have the experience of creating, completing and evaluating WebQuests to really see how it could be a good tool in classrooms of all subjects and age groups. By going through those motions first hand, I feel that I developed a much greater understanding of what we learned and made meaning out of the point of doing a WebQuest that way rather than just assigning an activity on a piece of paper.
This assignment definitely related the ISTE standards for teachers. I thought it was directly connected to “Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity” and “Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments”. In the WebQuest I made, and two of the three that I completed, student creativity was an essential part of the activity. I wanted student to use creative license to come up with the design for their flyer and come up with creative marketing strategies to make a flyer. For the Astronomy WebQuest that I completed, Rob and Courtney had the students create their own planet and explain why it met the criteria to be any planet, and more specifically why would be classified as the type of planet one decided. They encouraged students to create detailed descriptions of the planet life and aliens, or anything they might feel necessary. I think that Students could really get creative with their activity and have a lot of fun creating their own planet. The Surf Experience WebQuest also allowed for a lot of practical creativity that one would need when traveling in real life. By working with a Budget the students were able to get creative about where to stay and what airlines to use. They also had the students write a poem about the surf spot they chose. The WebQuest activities are a great way for teachers to expand on material and facilitate and inspire learning and creativity. When I was in middle school and high school a lot of our activities were just reading a chapter and answering discussion questions. Doing WebQuests rather than assignments like that really has the potential to deepen their understanding and allow them to get creative. Personally, I feel that I tend to retain information much better when I have gotten to critically think and be creative about it. As for designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments this assignment did exactly that. We developed a digital assignment from start to finish, found resources for our students, and were able to assess these completed WebQuests after our colleagues participated in them.