This webquest for 1st and 2nd graders is an example of what an in-service teacher can do to engage the young learner in both active reading, along with the integration of science, mathematics, research skills, and character education, into a reading lesson.
The reviewers identified the following learning outcomes: a. Active engagement of the learner in a reading lesson. b. Introduction of research skills. c. Development of cooperative learning behaviors. d. Use of higher order thinking skills.
Target Student Population:
This learning object was developed by it's author for 1st and 2nd graders, but the reviewers suggest that preservice teachers may utilize this object as an example of content integration, research skills, and the use of technology to accomplish the learning outcomes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Adequate reading skills on the part of the students are needed. Knowledge of vocabulary such as "respect" is also a must. The reviewers did not feel that students would be ready to use vocabulary words such as this by simply finding it in the dictionary and reading the definition. The teacher and the students must be familiar with the development of webquest and practiced the skills necessary to build a webquest. The teacher and students must be skillful at navigating a web based learning object. Charting of a sequence of events is also necessary.
Type of Material:
Webquest--an active learning object.
This learning object reinforces reading skills, teachers research skills and is an excellent example of integration of differing content areas into a single lesson.
Internet access. Color printer. Internet Explorer or Netscape is essential. This object also works well on the Apple OS system.
Evaluation and Observation
Content activities are engaging and challenging for the students. Novel approach to the reinforcement of reading skills and the teaching of research skills early in a student's educational career is commendable. The integration of content is well founded in the literature of teaching and learning. The implied use of higher order thinking skills is a real novelty for learning activities at this age, but is so necessary.
Readability of the WebQuest is in question. Using the readability function of Microsoft Word, the reading level was judged to be Fifth grade first month (5.1). This is more than three grade levels above the targeted audience. The authors of this learning object should consider rewriting the material and use more appropriate grade level working while still challenging the learner to grow in their reading skills.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
If the student could read the text, the directions were easy to follow. The activities are interesting and could be easily carried out by two students working together. The teacher could also modify the directions use this activity with one student at a time.
Students love to use technology because it is fun and not"work". Using webquest as a way of assessing the undeerstanding of the skills being taught is supported in the "authentic assessment" literature.
Not all pictures used in the quest are hyperlinked, thus may cause confusion on the part of the intended audience. The learner should not have to "jockey" back and forth to open worksheets, dictionaries, and other reading sources. The "final picture" where the learner can claim the reward for completing the assignment,
would not open for the reviewers. If this happens to the learner, just think how disappointed they will be and what effects this may have on future engagement for learning. The teacher must be very familiar with the development of webquests and how they will play with the students in their classroom. They must also be knowledgeable of their students when they select the vocabulary and concepts that will be taught by this type of activity. These need to be introduced to the students prior to utilizing the webquest. They must also make sure their students know how to navigate a webquest. Assuming that the students know what to do can lead to much difficulty on the part of the student.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Easy for the teacher to use. Easy for the student to use if they can read the directions. Vocabulary may be a real stretch for the students and cause much frustration. Many procedural questions will be generated by the students when they cannot read the webquest, and the origional intentt of the activity will be lost.
The authors should have remembered their audience was 1st and 2nd graders. Consistent placement of hyperlinks is essential to effective navigation. Students can easily get confused with where to go for worksheets, informations sheets, and the dictionary. Hyperlings should be created to resemble the picture of what they are trying to locate rather than scrolling backward to find their target. Reading level may be to difficult for the average and struggling learner. Students with visual challenges may find this learning object very difficult to use. The authors should consider adding an audio component to the text and pictures. Making sure that this site is ADA compliant is strongly recommended.
Other Issues and Comments:
There is no indication that this site has been evaluated for compliance for ADA.
Some of the hyperlinks did not work and should be revisited for repair.