So today's discussion was really about how much the kids enjoyed and engaged in curriculum through this webquest. In total, students put in about 12 weeks worth of work on their journals, blogs, questions/answers, Voki's, Xtranormals, etc. I have to admit by the end I was growing a bit bored with the Webquest, but students were still engaged. Both Garth and I agree that the amount of writing and reflecting students did far exceeded anything up to this point this year. Students enjoyed the independence and creative freedom of the WebQuest.
Some of the things we are looking at editing for next year are the quizzes, some of the Quests themselves and the format of the entire WebQuest. This year the entire WebQuest was hosted on a single web page. We think that this got a bit confusing and clustered. Next year each Quest will have its own page. This will also allow us to put the essential questions, Computer-side chats and any videos we may have at the top of the Quest. Students will be required to listen to the Computer-side chats and answer a few reflection questions before moving on to complete the Quest.
We are also planning on consolidating some of the Quests; combining similar elements and revising our quizzes. As Garth and I were grading quizzes we noticed that the students whom were struggling (remember they had to re-take the quizzes for mastery before they could move on) had some great short answer responses and their journal/blogs showed great insight. The reason, as we see it, is that we have them doing this great WebQuest where they are using higher-level thinking skills to master information and then show how that information would effect the life of their fictional feudal person; while the quizzes were multiple choice. The assessment did not fit the project. The quizzes were really just their to "prove" through data that students were learning. Next year few, if any, multiple choice and a few short-answer questions.
As we have moved onto the Renaissance and the Reformation, some of Garth's students commented that they would have loved to follow their feudal person into these new time periods. We are thinking about giving each student a "past-self" to follow throughout the entire course. Garth and I want students to really gain an empathetic understanding of the story of history. We want the students to create their past-self's history and thus explain the journey of us. Big goals, but totally attainable and this new focus have Garth and myself determined to implement some ground-breaking projects for next year.
As always, any comments or ideas please do not hesitate to leave us a comment.