What are webquests and virtual field trips?
-Webquests are online educational experiences where students go to one or more websites to obtain academic information or engage in other inquiry-based learning activities. Virtual field trips are online learning adventures where students are able to visit far-away places using their classroom computers.
Photo credit to Ed Web
Chapter six starts out by focusing on managing information electronically. Digital content is becoming widely used by teachers. Digital content is an easily accessible source of academic information and new knowledge. Teachers can use this web-based information to teach the school curriculum. As well as teaching school curriculum, the internet is useful for meeting local, state, and national curriculum frameworks. Since using the internet has become such an important tool for teachers, tasks mangers have created bookmarks to make locating and organizing web information easier. Bookmarks remember the website addresses that are frequently visited. In addition to book marking there is social bookmarking. Social bookmarking is an information management process where groups of interested people share their web links electronically in an open public web space. The difference between the two is that one is a private library of resources seen by one person as the other one is a public list that can be viewed by many readers. Information alerts and RSS feeds also can greatly impact an active online teacher. Information alerts can assist busy teachers with a system of announcements about new information online. Google is one provider to these alerts. Google can generate five types of alerts: news, web, blog, group, and comprehensive. This can be a real time saver for teachers! RSS feeds are another way for teachers to access the information they need for curriculum and instruction. The New York Times, Yahoo! News: Technology, BBC News, and the Washington post are widely accessed RSS feeds.
As teachers are becoming more efficient online, webquests and virtual field trips are becoming more frequently incorporated into the classrooms. As a teacher it is important to involve the students in the classroom and make them become interested in the topics. Webquests are online educational experiences where students go to one or more websites to obtain academic information or engage in other inquiry-based learning activities. Virtual field trips on the other hand take students to places all over the world without ever leaving their school’s classroom or computer lab. Although virtual field trips are still relatively new, they are looking promising in helping raise students test scores. There was a small student study done that involved 400 students in two middle schools, and studies show that the middle school students had higher reading comprehension scores after participating in online field trips. Interactive videoconferencing is very similar to virtual field trips. Videoconferencing is a distance learning technology that offers real-time access to people and places that students are unable to visit. I have personally seen video conferences used in my former high school. Chapter six finishes off by talking about different kinds of educational websites. There are thousands of these different types of educational websites but they all have the common ground of being interactive and engaging to students. A few examples the book gives are: Lesson plan websites, student-to-expert communication websites, real-time and recorded data websites, archival and primary source websites, and skills/practice websites.
The video below is a demonstration of a virtual field trip that Fall River Elementary School took. In the video you are able to see just how active and engaged the students are.
The tech tool link I checked out was “Goodreads”. Goodreads is a very professional and organized webpage. After creating a quick account you are able to organize all your favorite books online. This webpage is virtually keeping you organized, which is very important for all future educators. The great thing about this website is that you can log into any computer and your library can be accessed. I personally love to read, and this would be a great site I would consider using!