Or, “Why I am glad my project isn’t turning out to be linear.”
I continue to work on my webquest and have chosen to compile my information onto Google Docs instead of Word. This has resulted in me having to learn more about Google Docs. I’ve been using sites like this one and doing a lot of reading and watching of tutorials, and playing around with trial and error.
I’m finding that recording and reporting my progress is a bit difficult for me because so much of my learning happens incidentally and, to me, feels more like just average “problem solving.” For example, I have never used Google Docs. For me to do that I had to do some research and some trial and error things to use it efficiently. I learned how to use it, although not at any kind of professional level, but haven’t really considered that that would be playing a part in my Project, or nothing important enough to document. But in the interested of keeping my learning completely transparent, it occurs to me that this is something I should mention. Also, I am the kind of person who loves change, never teaches the same concept the same way twice, and am prone to changing my mind about lessons if a better idea happens to pop into my head. This means that I love that my learning isn’t linear. It is an ever-developing web of things that I need to discover and become proficient at.
I learn things every day. I obsess about things and when my head can’t handle any more questions, I am a very self-directed learner. I will search out the answer to the questions I have and since I have always been this way, I forget about sharing my learning. It’s just so natural to me that it doesn’t seem like a ‘big deal.’
I will be tackling Google Sites later this week. This gives me a whole new ‘thing’ to learn as a part of my Project. I’ve also learned how to use Dropbox and have been enjoying the freedom to share documents and photos on one computer or my smartphone and being able to access them with another. The fact that it is also available as an Android app makes it especially handy for me.
I am looking forward to seeing my project start to take a real “shape.” I will report back soon.
Something to think about:
While researching information about owls to include in my webquest, I realized that I kept clicking on the same links and wasn’t finding what I was looking for, even though I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I just knew that I’d know what I needed when I found it.
While volunteering at my kids’ school’s Book Fair this week I had a good chance to chat with the librarian, Margaret. I love libraries. I love the smell of books and the feeling of holding them while I read them. I love the roughness of the pages of old books and the thin, smooth feeling of new ones. And I realized that I was standing in a place that, while being focused on my learning online, I had completely overlooked. She pointed me to the section where I’d find the books about owls and I happily borrowed 3 books to get information from. I have started to compile facts about owls onto a Word document and am starting to think about how I will ask the children to apply their learning. I am leaning towards a booklet that they will use to record their learning but am not completely sure about that, yet. I met with the teacher who I will be working with and we will chat again next week to talk about the progress that I am making and to start to formulate a timeline for me to implement this project with her students.
And while my project started with me learning how to build a webquest, it turns out that I am also learning a ton of things about owls that I didn’t know. I’ve always liked owls. My Grandparents had a Great Horned Owl in a huge pen in their yard when I was growing up. “Oscar” was found by my dad, having fallen out of a nest and after a long time with no parent showing up. Right or wrong, Dad “saved” the owl and brought it to his in-laws’ tree nursery where they built a huge wood and chicken-wire enclosure for him. I remember visiting Oscar daily and feeding him raw liver. No one ever got too close to Oscar, but we loved the idea of having a “zoo” in my Grandparents yard.
I am looking forward to learning more about owls as well as the process of developing the webquest. My project seems to have evolved into a more diverse one!
So working on my project has lead to many hours online, watching YouTube videos of Bernie Dodge, the creator of Webquests, looking at sample webquests and learning more than I ever knew about owls.
But sometimes, research has to go old school. No Evernotes. No Diigo (although admittedly, I am filling my library with stuff for this project). No MS Word. Sometimes, it’s a paper and pen world for me.
I spoke with one of the Grade Two teachers at W.F. Ready School yesterday to see if she would be open to me sharing my project with her class and she was very enthusiastic about it!
She has used Webquests but has never developed one, but did share some good hints for some online searching I can look for.
I told her that ideally I’d like to present the task to the class at the end of October and asked her for a theme or book that she’d like me to build it around and she suggested “owls” so I will now be moving into giving more thought into that! That said, and I warned her, I could be completely delusional about how long this might take, never having done this before! I will adjust my timeline as my learning goes along!
Finally feels like I’m moving ahead but with that comes the virtual tsunami of ideas that my brain will develop. Wednesday’s class and the guest speaker, Google Master Michael Wacker , has me already trying to figure out how to use Google Forms and Sites to help!! I am already feeling a little bit overwhelmed with everything, even though I’m not even sure what I’m doing, yet. Which is probably the problem. Time to get researching!
As part of our ECMP355 class we need to complete a major project where the only theme, as far as I can tell is, “Learn something new.” Pretty big parameters. The other thing we need to do is to document our learning process and be transparent about how we’ve gone about this.
I spent a long time trying to decide what I’d like to learn. I have been toying with the idea of learning how to play the piano for years but the absence of a piano in my home makes that a bit problematic, so I chose to do a project based on my current life-initiative, which is to re-enter the field of education as an educator. I wanted a project that I could hopefully implement with a classroom of children and actually try out.
Through my seemingly random skimming of educational sites and blogs and such, somewhere I ran across the term “WebQuest” and had a very vague idea about what that was. My understanding from my first introduction was that it was kind of like a virtual scavenger hunt that you set up for students on the internet. I have found out through further research that that was not really the case, but that I was close. Ish.
I began my search with a basic Google search:
After a basic Wikipedia introduction, I started clicking links and adding information to my Diigo Library to refer back to later. I spent several hours looking at sample Webquests and gathering information about the requirements for a successful Webquest.
At this point, I realized that I might be getting ahead of myself if I wanted to actually implement and assess this project with an actual classroom, so I contacted the principal of W.F. Ready School to see if she would be open to me coming in to do this project with a group of students at her school. She was supportive but suggested that I contact the Superintendent to get permission to do so. After an email to him and a few days wait for a response, I was ready to continue. I had received permission. I will now be continuing my own “quest” to learn about the development, sharing and assessment of a Webquest.