QuickQuest: Bushfires and Sci / Tech

Responding…

Few in Australia, or across the globe, were untouched by the bushfires that raged from November till February. So many communities were devastated by the catastrophic conditions. Our hearts and support went out to those who lost loved ones, homes and animals. Many prepared to evacuate and stayed up all night watching for ember storms. Week-after-week, month-after-month, the tragedy continued.

Now, with the beginning of the Royal Commission hearings into the “Black Summer Bushfires,” it’s a good time to offer an educational response.  Thanks go to a year 5/6 teacher in Victoria who suggested this topic as a way to explore “science as a human endeavour.”  (Note: if you would like to similarly suggest a topic, please use the form. I’m keen to respond to what people need.)

Overview of the Bushfire QuickQuest

Education is one good way for people to process and understand catastrophic and traumatic events.  This is especially true of children and young adults. Also, sometimes knowing information or solutions is a comfort and highlights strategies for the future that contribute to a sense of personal power. Moving towards these ends is the goal of this QuickQuest on Bushfires and Technology. Below is a short video introduction of the QuickQuest.

DIY or TpT

As I’ve come to do, because I want to support education, teachers and students (as I have since the first WebQuests in the 1990s), but I’m also developing curriculum as part of my consultancy, to further both of these goals, with each QuickQuest I provide a hotlist of the resources used in the activities. This way if you want to take the Do It Yourself” approach, explore the links below and create your own activities.  If you’re happy to save time, use my approaches focused on “real, rich and relevant” learning, then the QuickQuest is available through TeachersPayTeachers at minimal cost.

Wikimedia Commons – Gustavb / CC BY-SA

Hotlist of Resources

Credits: 

Thanks

I’m always interested in hearing back from people, whether that’s through comments on this post, via Twitter (@NextEraEd) or privately using the contact form.  Let’s not get overwhelmed with outcomes, standards and subject content to the point where we neglect helping students learn to learn and reflect on their cognitive development and joy in learning!

Dunning-Kruger Effect QuickQuest

DKE QuickQuest

Intro to the latest QuickQuest

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is that crazy finding that people who think they are the best at something (VERY confident) are often the least knowledgeable, skilled and competent. Yikes! Of course this makes sense: how can you know your deficiencies when you know little about what goes into a topic or task?

This perplexing “Huh?” kind of cognitive experience makes the Dunning-Kruger Effect a great tool to engage students and prompt them to reflect on their own cognitive biases and to promote the kind of intellectual humility that can lead to real growth and expertise.

How you can use this to Engage Your Students?

I’ve decided to try this approach. I want all teachers and their students to benefit from engaging in this topic and to benefit from the terrific resources people have put online. Also, I reckon it’s not a bad idea to get paid for a few days work 😉 . So here’s the approach. Below you will find a hotlist of all the resources used in the QuickQuest.  You can sift through the list, find things you like and then create the learning activities around them. Go creativity!

The other option is to use the slides and activities I’ve already created using all the links from the hotlist. You can find this on my TeachersPayTeachers Store.  Here’s a short overview video that highlights how you and students can get started immediately if you want to download my QuickQuest.

Here’s the Video Overview of the QuickQuest

Here’s the Hotlist of Links

Thanks

I’m always interested in hearing back from people, whether that’s through comments on this post, via Twitter (@NextEraEd) or privately using the contact form.  Let’s not get overwhelmed with outcomes, standards and subject content to the point where we neglect helping students learn to learn and reflect on their cognitive development and joy in learning!

 

Life Cycles QuickQuest (and Invitation!)

QuickQuest #1 – Life Cycles

QuickQuest Mini WebQuests on Life Cycles

As briefly described in an earlier post, QuickQuests are a slimmed down version of WebQuests. This makes the easier to make and use (whether in a classroom or remotely).

What Makes this a QuickQuest, not a WebQuest?

Like WebQuests, the main idea behind a QuickQuest is using rich online resources to engage students in an activity that prompts them to acquire knowledge, think more deeply about the topic and then find personal meaning. The main differences are that a QuickQuest can be completed in 1-3 lessons and done by individual students.  All of these processes are achieved in what’s essentially an enhanced “worksheet”  using Google Docs (and Slides for the teacher). You can get the Life Cycles QuickQuest for free from my TeachersPayTeachers store.

Here’s a peek into the Life Cycles QuickQuest

I invite you to Suggest a Topic!

I’m really happy to create more QuickQuests so why don’t you send me your topic requests! Click this link or the graphic below to fill in a short form that shares your suggestion.

Or use the Form above, comments below, my contact page or Twitter (@NextEraEd) to suggest a topic.

 

 

 

New Slimmed Down WebQuest

Time for Re-invention?

As #RemoteLearning #DistanceLearning and #COVIDEdu dominate education these days, I’ve been posting videos on WebQuests as a way to help.  I will continue to do this. Happily, people have been getting in touch to share ideas and needs.  Two main responses come up:

  1. WebQuests? We did those years ago. How about something new?
  2. WebQuests were great. Why aren’t people using them today?

Both responses are understandable. As pedagogically sound as the WebQuest format is, like just about all new ideas, especially in education, what was seen as “paradigm shifts” often become mere “pendulum swings.” We thought we were changing the world from rote learning to deep understanding. But in the bustle of school life, routines can overwhelm any new way of doing things.

The Downsides of WebQuests

That said, I’ve created enough WebQuests and led that many more PL workshops to know that a few things make WebQuests pretty challenging:

  • They take time to create – mostly in two ways: finding rich online resources and designing the group process.
  • Understanding “understanding” – everybody “gets” knowledge. It’s the acquisition of new information. But folks aren’t typically so clear on how understanding requires the use of knowledge. And this “construction of new meaning” goes right to the heart of Piaget’s assimilation and accommodation. We all learned this in Teacher Ed, but it took me a pretty long time to really get it.
  • The class time they take – When you have students check their background knowledge, then divide in teams to take on specific roles, and in these roles, to develop particular mastery before bringing this expertise back to their groups, at which time a jigsaw synthesis must occur, then….  you get the idea. This is why I’ve always see WebQuests as a central, once / semester kind of experience, not daily fare.

But we are in a world where many students are learning remotely, accessing online information. We want them to enjoy Real, Rich and Relevant learning, not copy/paste their way to completion.  So I feel that something – call it whatever – that engages students in this way and prompts them to deeper thinking, while not taking too much time for either teacher prep or delivery – is a good thing.

Enter the … “QuickQuest?”

I really love that the Web is full of great learning resources.  I find them inspiring. People, non-profits, cultural groups, media companies, you name them, put out really amazing content.  We educators are so lucky to be teaching in this era of rich resources (and good bandwidth?). So here’s my approach:

    1. I start with a topic worthy of students (this can be from the gut or curriculum standards)
    2. I take about 30 minutes to search around the Web to see if any Real, Rich and Relevant resources exist for the topic.
    3. If so, I know I’m onto something good and I keep at it.  This usually means a little lateral searching to find things that might extend or deepen how students engage with the topic.
    4. If I’m not finding anything inspiring in 30 minutes, but feel like I’m close, I do more searching. If I feel like the topic’s a dead-end, I’ll call it quits and go with the usual fare.

So let’s see how this works in real life:

I was contacted by a teacher looking for a WebQuest on “Life Cycles” for Years 3-4 science students. I took a look through a database I have of “BestWebQuests,” but didn’t turn up anything. I’d been playing with this mini WebQuest / QuickQuest / PDQ Quest (yes, “pretty darn quick,” but also “pedagogically-driven query”) idea and took the “Life Cycles” request as a challenge.

The result is what I’m tentatively calling a QuickQuest. It’s supported by slides and a student activity page.  You can get the Life Cycles example for free from my TeachersPayTeachers store.

Let’s Hear from You!

Please use the poll, comments below, my contact page or Twitter (@NextEraEd) to

  1. Give feedback about the name
  2. Suggest topics and I’ll see about making “QuickQuests” on them!

 

 

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