jill's room

...a place to explore the use of technology in education...

25 October 2005

WEBQUESTS AND INTERNET SAFETY

WEBQUEST
An effective WebQuest in an interactive, inquiry-based process, that engages students in information gathering, and the processing of that information. A WebQuest consists of a title, an introduction, a task to be completed, a process section – including internet resources and directions for how to organize information, an evaluation component (possibly a rubric), and a conclusion stating what the student should have completed by the end of the task.


The beauty of the a WebQuest is that students are the focus of what is going on, and that it provides for technology integration without losing class time to inefficient Internet searching. Teachers can even link to their own web pages. Role-playing can be included as extra motivation and they are useful group activities, because the teacher can establish as part of the challenge specific roles to be filled (balancing out the work load). They can be long-term assignments or short-term ones, be for one subject or multidisciplinary, and there is no limit on the creativity that can be used to develop a WebQuest!

I found the concept of a WebQuest fantastic! I will definitely use them in my (imagine all of the frogs we can save), and/or have them investigate different chemicals – say a set of everyday chemicals (food additives; cleaning agents; plastics). The set of thinking skills that this type of activity develops are integral to observing and understanding the world around us.
classroom, because they offer a great way to teach the scientific method to students! I will have them be ‘scientists’, and investigate suspicious substances, possibly do an online dissection

While searching, I found the following WebQuest for high school Chemistry: (http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/chemfifi/Chem%2011%20WebQuest%20Stuff%20for%20the%20Web/index.htm)

Any tool that I can use to help my students learn about ‘how to learn about Chemistry’ is useful because I believe that one of the biggest roadblocks for students in Science is not being able to understand how to learn this type of information.

INTERNET SAFETY IN THE CLASSROOM
Wow.
When I first read over the assignment, I brainstormed my own ideas of why the Web can be a dangerous place and about the need for internet safety. My list was pretty simple. Predators, pornography, misinformation. After going through the WEBQUEST: Risky Business, my list expanded exponentially! There are not only the big issues, such as predators, pornography, misinformation, privacy risks, Spam, violence, hate sites, online gambling, and cyber bullying, but each of these issues are complex and have many sub-issues/dangers.


The concept of ensuring Internet safety in the classroom needs to be approached by having a teacher (and all school staff) educated about the myriad of ways in which these dangers can surface. Many of the major issues can be dealt with by having proper monitoring of online use and by teaching students how to be critical of the websites they are visiting. Others involve training (starting at an early age) students to taper what they share over the Internet, limiting the amount of information they give out that can be used to trap them into inappropriate and negative situations. Further, it is important to discuss these safety issues with your students because some of the things they may get involved in are actually criminal by law. Examples of such activities include plagiarism, copyrighting, and cyber bullying. Ensuring students know the rules of Internet safety can be done by having the students engage in online activities that test their Internet ‘savvy’. Continual monitoring of usage is also important.

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