Standard- Understand many theories and models, choose from among them appropriately, and apply them effectively.
In EDTEC 570, Advanced Teaching With Technology, taught by Wendy Parcel, we were required to understand many theories and models and to choose from them appropriately and apply them affectively in order to increase student learning. My WebQuest entitled,” To Game or Not To Game” demonstrates the appropriate use of several principles theories and models.
Outcomes for this project include designing an inquiry-based unit that will engage students in learning, designing and developing an activity that will guide students in exploring and using information on the Internet, and using technology assessment tools to gather and report on the performance students.
Demonstrating principles, theories, and models
While there are many ways to engage students in learning and also gain information from the Internet the web quest model was most appropriate in this situation for several reasons. First the WebQuest model uses a constructivist approach to education where the user of the WebQuest takes an active role in their learning chooses their own path through content and activities and then constructs knowledge based on those experiences.
Second, by choosing a topic that was of high interest to students, in this case gaming, this WebQuest also relies on John Keller’s ARCS model for motivation by providing content that is engaging and hopefully relevant to the students.
Finally, by developing critical thinking skills WebQuest’s also employ aspects of Marzano’s Dimensions of Thinking model by asking students to make sense of a significant amount of information which is new to them and engages them at a deep level. WebQuest’s also ask students to expand and refine this knowledge by creating something others can respond to. Finally WebQuest’s rely on Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design model which asks students to participate in relevant, real world, inquiry-based learning experiences.
When implementing a successful inquiry-based lesson one important thing to remember is limiting the scope of the content. In my initial drafts, the content became too large and complicated to maintain the students attention and motivation.
Second in terms of Keller’s ARCS model it’s important to understand who your intended audience is. In this case my intended audience was middle school students however after user testing the content with a focus group of eighth-grade students it became obvious that the content and reading level was of the sites selected was too difficult. As a result students confidence with the material was low and therefore their motivation seemed low for what should otherwise be an engaging task.
Finally, designing this inquiry-based unit allowed me to see how many different principles theories and models that I had studied in isolation can complement each other and create very high quality learning experiences for students.