Sometimes you're so excited by a topic that you want to immediately gather links and get creative. Great! Sometimes you're so rushed for time that completing a full activity just won't happen in this lifetime. You could despair, but we suggest another tact: Ready, Fire! Aim. When "instruction" is viewed as a collaborative process between teacher and students, great things can happen. So rather than lament a lack of preparedness, take this opportunity to unfold your curriculum with an ongoing and flexible approach that responds to student needs, abilities, and interests.
- Grow What You Know
- Read about a strategy where you do as little as possible of the students' cognitive work to create a learning-centered experience with less fuss.
- The Activity Formats / Learning-Centered Scaffolds
- Review the refined ideas from the original Working the Web article. This provides more detailed explanations on the different activity formats like Hotlists, Samplers, and WebQuests.
In this tutorial, you will use Web-and-Flow Interactive to gather links and turn them quickly into a Topic Hotlist. Students are then invited to assess, explore, categorize, and analyze the links on the list. Their feedback becomes key ingredients to designing the activities you've learned could help them most. Web-and-Flow is then used to quickly post your Web-based instruction.
- Read the above article "Grow What you Know." Brush up on any of the activity formats you may be unfamiliar with.
- Review an overview of the Custom Design Phase.
- Use Web-and-Flow Interactive to Gather Links. These can be huge hotlist links or individual pages. Try to get about 10 - 15 links and challenge yourself to do it in less than 30 minutes. Using the Filamentality database makes this possible.
- Click through the Custom Design Phases for Topic Hotlist. Don't worry about categorizing links or finessing the wording of the introduction and conclusion. The students will do this for you!
- Go to the Publication phase to post the Topic Hotlist. Present this Topic Hotlist to students. Give them an uninterrupted 40 minutes to review and explore the links. A suggestion is to have students work in groups such as the following:
- Categorizing and Classification
- Students take the big picture and provide categories for grouping the domain into reasonable "semantic chunks." Question: "Which categories would you use to group what's important on this topic?"
- Issues and Perspectives
- Students read between the lines looking for the overt and hidden agendas. Question: "What are the different viewpoints and controversies within this topic?"
- Heartstrings and Human Interest
- Students explore links for images, stories, opinions, multimedia presentations, etc. that evoke an emotional response. Question: "What links really make you feel what this topic is about?"
- Facts, Stats, and Artifacts
- Students evaluate the content of Web pages looking for those that share hard knowledge on the topic. Question: "What links contain good information on the topic?"
- As students work, eavesdrop on the relative levels of interest. Be ready to ask the most excited group to share their findings first. Use this sharing as a point of discussion where you openly invite students to peg out the domain presented by the topic. Keep your educator's ears open for learning gaps. For example, students may be motivated by the topic, but fuzzy on the facts. Or they may not have seen what makes the topic compelling even though they've uncovered the facts. You will use this info to design the most appropriate learning follow-on activities.
- Collect the students' suggestions for categories, perspectives, emotive and informative links. Go back to Web-and-Flow to create what students need most: a Subject Sampler (increase motivation), Knowledge Hunt (acquire information), Concept Builder (refine conceptual understandings) or a WebQuest (think critically).
You've very quickly integrated the Web in a process that unfolds, rather than inflicts, the assignment. Students are a critical part of the process that has their successful learning as its goal. Do you feel guilty this was so easy? Web-and-Flow can't help you with that (;-), but perhaps our online community could benefit from hearing how it went and what you learned along the way. Exactly how to implement these activities is uncharted ground, but that goes directly to good teaching. Share what's helped you be successful! Post your experiences and insights at the Club Ed conference called Ready... Fire! Aim.