Tag Archives: bernie dodge

Learning one step at a time

Last week I posted that I would be making contact with Bernie Dodge, creator of the webquest model.  Well, Interwebz, I managed to find the nerve and to send him an email.  I think that as part of my learning project, I have been very hesitant to share any of the product because I haven’t had any feedback, except the comparisons that I have made to other webquests on the ‘net and informal feedback from a couple of teachers who I have been working with to share with their classes.  Feedback is what motivates me.  I want to know where I can improve and what I can do better.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d also like to hear what I’m doing well!  I am sure that Mr. Dodge is a very busy man, but I hope that he will be able to take a peek at my webquest and provide some feedback for me.

And I hope it’s not too bad, for my first attempt!

Here is a copy of my email, in search of feedback and opinions:

Hi, Mr. Dodge!

I am a student of Dean Shareski’s at the University of Regina, taking an ECMP355 class.  He had mentioned to you via Twitter a while back that I had decided for my learning project for this term to develop and implement a Webquest.  I was very intrigued by this learning method and have looked at many, many examples on the web, have watched YouTube videos of information and have, of course, read a great deal of the information on your webquest.org site.

I am going to preface this by saying that all of my ‘learning’ for this and the research for setting up this webquest has been completely self-directed and self-researched.  I have let only two other people peek at the project that I am working on because I know that I am very ‘green’ to this type of project, and coupled with the fact that after 10 years of teaching I have been away from the profession for 10 years, I am a bit out of practice on my application of levels of thinking and I have never developed a rubric, so I know that this project lacks ‘polish.’  Our learning project was to be transparent in our learning and I have tried to journal my process on my blog, www.tolearnandconnect.wordpress.com under the category, “Project Webquest.”  The intent was not to necessarily come up with a product, but to become aware and to dissect the way we learn and our process along the way.

That being said, I want a product.  I want to be able to use this webquest in a classroom and I have already arranged with a teacher to allow me to introduce it to her class, soon.  I am interested in your opinion on my first attempt at a webquest.  I would love for you to read this blog post that I made, first, before you see my website, to give you an idea of how nervous I am about sending this email:  www.tolearnandconnect.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/playing-the-homecoming/

Many of the things that I have tried to incorporate (Zooburst, Google Docs, Google Sites) are things that I have learned and have been experimenting with in my ECMP355 class.  I am interested in hearing how you feel those things contribute to or detract from the effectiveness of this webquest.

I appreciate your time and hope that you will have a few minutes to look over what I have done so far and to give me some constructive criticism.  The webquest URL is www.sites.google.com/site/letsgoowlingkids/

Thanks, again, most appreciatively!

Trina Crawford

I hope that he will be able to respond to me and until then I won’t be editing my webquest.

Upon further reflection of my learning, I have determined that I am quite happy learning independently.  I like being able to self-direct my discoveries and search through sources, finding ones that I enjoy using and being able to skip over ones that aren’t as appealing to me.   I am a bit of a perfectionist.  I change things and manipulate and rewrite things until I am very happy with them, and I hope that the process that I am learning so much about will result in a product that will be useful for others and will have some ‘wow-factor’ for them as well.

I think that webquests leave so much room for creativity and implementation of different mediums.   I have a short attention span.  I am enjoying this project because within the large framework of the webquest I have been challenged to learn and experiment with such things as Zooburst and Google Docs and Sites.  I have enjoyed each small (not always so small and sometimes very frustrating!) step on this journey.   My next step in the learning process will be to attempt the development of an effective rubric for assessment.  This is something I have never done, so I am off to do some research, one small step at a time!

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Always have a Plan B.

I sent the draft of my webquest to the teacher who I was going to be working with.  As I had suspected, it’s too challenging for a Grade Two classroom.  I was really excited with the prospect of working with my daughter’s class but as I have learned from Bernie Dodge’s material, webquests are generally most appropriate for the over Grade Three groups.  At this time, I am not going to change my project, but I am going to try to change my audience.  I will approach a Grade Four or Five teacher to see if they have kids who would benefit from this type of project.

I think when you are learning something new that it is important to seek feedback as you go along.  I’m glad I did because it reinforced my gut-feeling that I would have been presenting something that was not grade-appropriate.

I will wait to see if I have a new group of volunteers!

Here’s a clip that I am using for the introduction portion of my Webquest.  I was inspired to try Zooburst after our session with Alan Levine a few weeks ago.  It is best viewed in “Fullscreen mode.”

Playing “The Homecoming”

When my friend Katie was quite young and had started learning to play the piano, she was attempting to master a very well-known piece of music by a well known Canadian musician.  Since I can’t remember exactly what piece it was, I am going to take some artistic license here and pretend that it was The Homecoming by Hagood Hardy.  (Yes, Katie, I know.  It’s incorrect.  But it serves the story well, even if it is a semi-fictional account.)

As luck would have it, Katie ended up at an occasion in the company of Mr. Hardy, a piano, and her parents.  Her parents INSISTED that she play the Homecoming for Mr. Hardy.  Katie still talks about how nervous she was, having to perform such a beautiful piece of music for the man who had written and recorded it.

When I initially told Mr. Shareski, our instructor for ECMP355, that I was planning on learning how to build and implement a Webquest, he put me in touch with Bernie Dodge, who is the creator of the Webquest model and a Professor of Educational Technology at San Diego State University, using Twitter. I think I know how Katie felt, a little bit.  I am nervous that I won’t do this justice.  I know that I must contact Mr. Dodge because this is an amazing opportunity to network with someone who is a visionary and who could provide valuable feedback.

I am making good progress, I think, starting to really think about the Webquest Taxonomy and what elements I will try to incorporate into the quest.  I have been using Google Sites for my Webquest and have found a template that has a general outline of each of the sections of the Webquest, so I’m trying to stick pretty closely to those while also referring to Mr. Dodge’s website as well.

It’s time for me to play The Homecoming.  I pledge that by this time next week I will have gotten up the nerve to contact Mr. Dodge.  You can hold me to that.

Some great resources

I’ve found some great resources on Youtube to help me with my Webquest development:

What is a Webquest?

How to Make a Webquest

Questgarden

There are additional ones, but for now these have the information I need.