Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bernie Dodge – QuestGarden – WOW!

Being a WebQuest and Bernie Dodge fan, I couldn’t pass up his session today (Tuesday) at 11:00 am. Not only was the session better than expected, Bernie blew the doors off the creation of WebQuests with the introduction of his new tool, QuestGarden. QuestGarden is where WebQuests can be grown and nurished.

Bernie’s new tool will be available September 1st and will be free for the first year. After that the cost will be $20 for a two year subscription to help him with the cost of the servers, etc.

The tool seems to combine the advantages of a blog (ease of use, template driven), a wiki (collaborative development) and development tools (templates, themes and design patterns) built in. A number of different authors can work on the same WebQuest, and it is hosted on his server so that FTP software is not needed. He is also planning on having a graphics library so teachers can easily add graphics to their WebQuests.

Afterwards I was fortunate enough to have lunch with Bernie and Jennifer Kraft (Minot, ND) at the Reading Market (site of the old Reading Railroad). We discussed the possible implications of his new tool to create resources for our required North Dakota Studies course in grades 4 and 8. The possbile use of Flickr to house pictures based on themes (North Dakota) made sense to us.

BTW, North Dakota is the only state to have a Broderbund created version of Carmen Sandiego for their state – “Where in North Dakota is Carmen Sandiego?” – and we are always looking for electronic resources for use in our ND studies courses.

Here are my notes from his presentation.
Overcoming Obstacles to Quicker WebQuest Creation
Bernie Dodge, PhD
San Diego State University

In past introduced templates and design patterns to make creation easier. Still takes too long.

What’s the problem?
What are some partial solutions?
What’s the Grand Perfect Solution?

Blogging provides early warning radar for us. Allows us to find out what is on the mind of students and student teachers.

Brought up a blog entry on Webquest Frustrations.

Scared to publish to the Internet in case there were errors.

I’d like to take one but … takes too much time.

Survey of WebQuest Authors (WebQuest list)

N=70 and rising

Most have 10 or more years of teaching experience, not the youngest teachers.

Most time (over 4 hours) was spent of finding good web sites to link to. Overall close to 24 hours needed to create a WebQuest.

What was hard/tedious
Finding good web sites
Mechanics of making the pages
Creating navigation buttons (didn’t use the templates)
Some teachers (college level) do them in html
Making it pretty
Process steps
Aligning the evalutuation with task, standards
Uploading from home
Not losing pieces
higher-order thinking (some just don’t do it, becomes a worksheet instead of a WebQuest)

Templates in various forms
Compatibility with Dreamweaver
Library of Images
Flexibility in appearance
WYSIWYG text input
Access to appropriate links
Ability to customize existing WebQuests
Easy image inclusion
Guidance on content for each section
Easy uploading
Access to standards
Cool navigation

WebQuest Creation
Technical Knowledge
Web Editing
Tedagogical Knowledge
Higher Level Thinking
Cooperative Learning

Change the environment
Use web-based FTP (now people use Fetch or secureFTP (both platforms))
make it broswer based using PHP on the server
Upload for them
Don’t put them online at all
Change the learner
repeated practice on FTP programs
Web Editing
Change the environment
Use browser-based editor
if you don’t know about nView you should (nvu.com – what composer has become)
Use Word or Powerpoint (has potential)

Change the learner
Provided links to appropriate resources
Farm it out to the experts (librarians)

eThemes (900 of them so far)

Provide templates preselected to be purty
change the learner
ignore it &* pay a price

Pedagogical Knowledge
Change the environment
Provide templates preselected to engage higher level thinking
Design Patterns on his web site (only 5 of 70 had used a template)
Can cut in half the time needed to create a WebQuest

Authoring Tools
Instant WebQuest
sounds like “Instant Successful Marriage” :-)
TeacherWeb (www.teacherweb.com)
A little bit of scaffolding

Beyond Authoring Tools: Authoring Environments

Now uses PHP and mySQL since Hypercard disappeared.

Metcalfe’s Law displayed from WikiPedia

A place in which great WebQuests will be grown
Place that is scaffolded
Sharing knowledge and guidance is part of the game

Get a work space

All the steps are in a menu bar down the right hand side.
One is a link to design patterns
Showed an example on UFOs with the goal to evaluation credability of sources

Can have more than one author, so there can be collaboration

Step-by-step prompted guidance on creating a

WYSIWYG text fomratting
Ability to upload pictures and supplementeary files
Scaffolding extras built in
Based on Design Patterns
Ability to download someone else’s WebQeust into your space and tweak it
Can be soted on site or exported to any other site
Style sheets control the fonts

Now beta tested by over 300 participants
Available for all on September 1 (1st day of school in Russia)
Free for a full year – until September 1, 2006
$20 for a 2 year subscription after that

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