This WebQuest has been created with the intended audience of a year ten group of modern history students. It falls into the ‘How did the nature of global conflict change during the twentieth century.’ By also using the ACARA ICT Capability Learning Continuum when researching and compiling the task, the task also has ties to safe, ethical use of ICT technologies in the classroom to complete the task.
The task involves the students first looking through notes taken in previous classes on work of modern histories dictators and using this information to decide who they think is the ‘evillest’ (most interesting). The students then need to compile a questionnaire on a Microsoft Word document answering questions such as: who the dictator is, their ideals, time period and affect on humanity. After this the students needs to research on two provided websites and find three new additional pieces of information that they feel is relevant to making this dictator evil. Some suggestions are given to guide the research, such as: what the dictator did in early life that could have shaped him/her or something during their time of power that made them stand out from the rest of the dictators for the student.
The purpose of the task is simply to show the teacher what information is resonating most with the students during this field of study. There are however, more underlying skills being honed throughout this task. The task involves the students remembering and analysing previously learnt information, analysing further to see what is relevant to the task and research methods to find new information that is relevant. The ICT purpose of the task is to help students easier navigate research websites, understand the use of PowerPoint and linking graphics into the system. The task, by taking the next lesson to look through the PowerPoints will be used to show students how they can create different PowerPoints and new ways of finding information. Whilst looking through the PowerPoints ICT tools such as gosoapbox can be implemented for students. The students can then create an anonymous forum asking questions or stating they do not understand certain things, without having to raise their hand in the middle of class.
There are many pedagogical advantages to this task. The first of this is that it encourages metacognition for the students, and will further develop learner skills and build learning power for the students. The task also encourages independence in students as this is an individual task. Each student can make the task creative in their own way, depending on how many graphics are included, the use of swipe effects or backgrounds on slides, it helps them be creative in an otherwise textbook task. This task will help the students with deeper learning in an un ideal way. This is not a straight lecture for the students, they will have had information provided through the use of ICT and then they are collating the information in their own way, through ICT. This task will help the teacher become more present for students needing help, as the work is basic for year ten students and the teacher can walk around the classroom helping students individually. This task is flexible for students, so they feel as though they are in control of the task. By using WebQuest and giving students the rubric, and steps to completing, the student can task this as they wish to create their own presentation. The last advantage to list is for the teacher and not the students. Asking the students to find relevant but useful information on the individual dictators helps the teacher with future lesson planning to include information that the students find captivating.
There are some possible problems that could arise from this task. The main of this is time, it is very possible for students to not stay on task and continue to talk to one another. The students could also purposefully prolong the PowerPoint creation process to take time away from the teacher. The main solution to this is to tell students ahead of time how much time will be spent on each aspect of the task. Another useful tool is setting up a timer for the class to see on the smart board, and asking everybody to move on at the same time. The teacher will need to constantly reiterate to the students that this is not an assessment piece, and will not be marked against them in any way.
This task uses teaching research and theories to help students understand a topic that may cause some students to switch off in the classroom. By harnessing the pedagogical advances, it used it an be a very useful task for teacher and student. By creating the task on WebQuest, the task is being brought into the 21st century and enabling more use of ICT tools and learning in the classroom. The task is beneficial in any ways to teacher and students as long as time does not become an issue throughout the lesson.