Tom March has been writing about the interaction between the Web and education since 1995. The collection below should provide some “big picture” vision as well as practical details for the day-to-day educator. Please contact us if you’d like to re-produce any of these writings for in-service workshops. You can get information specific to WebQuests or ask about Strategic Consulting to bring these articles to life.

4 Tips for Educators - Data Analytics4 Tips on Data Analytics for Educators – January 13, 2020
What are four essential milestones for schools and school systems determined to gain the best insights from learning data? After working with a large number and wide variety of schools, I found myself repeating these four steps as a mantra. When schools didn’t have these in place, ignored them or engaged with them “out of order,” things didn’t go so well (meaning, they didn’t benefit from the data and their efforts as much as they could have). Rather than rules I made up, the Four Tips emerged from problem-solving real school scenarios. Happy to discuss ;-). These milestones follow on from the backgrounder: 4 Types of Data Analytics for Educators
Brutal_Truths_cover Brutal Truths for Schools
This eBook for iPads and Mac encompasses “the bad news” for schools: why it’s “Game over” for the mass production model of schooling.  In this way, it’s a starting point for those who haven’t confronted the reality that, as the sub-title states, “Education Fails Students in our Digital Age.”
My thinking is that the main readers will come from three audiences.  First, anyone new to the profession or in a teacher ed course currently. These folks need to know that the schools of their near future do not need people who will prop-up a broken model, but who will grow into the next era of education where schools promote intrinsic motivation and personal learning.  The second audience is educational leaders who are already advocating and realizing the power of digital learning, not assembly line schooling.  You folks might find something useful in my 10 Truths.  Lastly, those teachers – whatever their age or years in teaching – who are yet to understand that the status quo just isn’t good enough.  For these folks, the Truths are indeed brutal. The second half of my work – the “good news” –  is encompassed in Next Era Ed, CEQ•ALL and The Edge-ucators Way.
I encourage you to download the eBook for FREE and view it on your iPad or Mac laptop.
Schools: Invent The Next Era Of Education – September 23, 2015 by Education Technology Solutions
next-era-ed-150As personal technologies shift the world from one-size-fits-all to a different reality where it is expected that everything is ‘fit-to-one’s-size’, how can a model of schooling based on mass production hope to accommodate the unique, idiosyncratic and ultimately more effective ways people learn best when given full access to digital resources? It cannot. So rather than debate issues that only play on the surface of how teaching and learning is structured and conceptualised in schools, educators must get on with inventing a solution suited to the facts of the present conditions…
Student success in the 21st century: envision it; achieve it (PDF Download) or here Education Today, Issue: 2015 Vol 15 (2)
A clear vision helps us keep our sights on the real reason we do what we do: are we ‘teaching to the test’ or ‘fostering lifelong learning?’ A vision, well-developed and integrated into daily practice, is the first step toward a positive cycle of continuous improvement and offers advantages too powerful not to pursue. This article elaborates on a process for developing a vision and the subsequent steps to achieve its realisation.
Starting An Education Revolution: The Role of Innovation – April 26, 2016 by Education Technology Solutionsets71-cover-final
For decades, educators have been alert, waiting for the game changer. While schools and classrooms have been touched by technology’s influence – networking and computer labs, software applications, the Internet, gaming, social networking – are these innovations or merely changes? Where is the educational equivalent to Google Maps, the iPhone, Wikipedia or Facebook?Such life-touching and altering technologies have created a high hurdle for those interested in education. While educators have championed many potential innovations that hit the ‘new’ mark, nothing has fundamentally altered schools or classrooms since the technology revolution really ramped up with the World Wide Web. Many things are different, but school-based learning has not been re-invented. Educators still operate within the old model, an innovation that did change things forever.

The WebQuest: A Parable – May 28, 2015 by Education Technology Solutions

This month marks an interesting personal anniversary for me. It was 20 years ago that I posted the first WebQuest ever published for mass consumption. My colleague and the originator of the idea, Bernie Dodge, had created two for students we team-taught at San Diego State University, but I had the honour of writing and posting the first publicly available WebQuest. Because I was on a three-year fellowship at the time with the single task of developing things that would help teachers, students and librarians use the Web, I had the opportunity to become something of a global expert in writing and evolving WebQuests.  Twenty years! Imagine how things have changed in that time…
Before We Pull The Big Lever: 3 Steps To Re-Imagine Before We Re-Invent – November 4, 2016 by Education Technology Solutions

True innovation has yet to transform schools. One way to help this happen is to ‘pull the big lever’ and change tests: the de facto reality of what matters in schools. However, instead of racing to what these tests could look like and how to get started today, this article will be used as an often-missing moment of pause, to engage readers in educational analysis to get at an understanding that must change if innovation (not the churn of new bandwagons and buzzwords) is to replace the status quo with an improved and irrevocable reality. In short, educators must confront the last great innovation – the mass production model of schooling and its codified curriculum – and dismantle the old technologies that underpin it: rigid management of time, entrenched and unquestioned routines and the disjointed and artificial dissection and delivery of learning.

Choosing Apps by Design, by Jay McTighe and Tom March – Educational Leadership, May 2015 | Volume 72 | Number 8
In this article, we discuss how teachers and students can use a few high-leverage digital tools to enhance acquisition, meaning making, and transfer goals. Just like a master craftsperson might use a small collection of favorite tools to accomplish most tasks, teachers and students can use just a few digital tools to achieve many learning goals. We don’t mean to suggest that these are the only tools teachers and students will ever need, but we do believe that getting to know a few flexible and powerful tools is more helpful than getting caught up in looking for the hottest new app.
Intriguing ourselves to Death… – Published at ozline.com, January 22, 2008
As challenging as many in education would consider “engaging” students, this isn’t enough. The point is not to repeat the worn lament that kids use technology as a distraction. First off, we all do! Second, the challenge is not to avoid getting intrigued (which some see as the answer), but doing something with it. We need to change education from focusing on inconsequential tasks that push students to technologies as a means to find distraction, amusement and, yes, intrigue. We must help with the next step: to help students frame learning into experiences that “amount to something,” that “matter.” My thinking on how to do this involves CEQ·ALL, which begins with a foundation of intrinsic motivation and builds achievement through sincere effort to achieve “Quality,” ending with enthusiastic attitudes and creations that demonstrate the joy of learning.
Revisiting WebQuests in a Web 2 World – Published in Interactive Educational Multimedia, IEM, 2007, 15
The WebQuest was launched in 1995 to scaffold advanced cognition by integrating the “ill-structured” nature of the World Wide Web with a process that guides novices through decisions and experiences that characterize experts’ behaviors. Recently, the Web has morphed into Web 2.0 with its social networking sites, blogs, wikis and podcasts. Given this richness, revisiting WebQuests is in order. This paper reviews the critical attributes of true WebQuests and reviews recent research in thinking routines and intrinsic motivation to recommend new paths for WebQuests that could scaffold student use of Web 2.0 environments, enabling a shift toward authentic personal learning.
Why ClassPortals? – Published 2006
Students yearn for learning that is Real, Rich and Relevant. The artificial kinds of classroom activities that only ever happen in schools undermine a joy for learning which is always connected to the Real world of consequence. The limitation of time, space and consciousness create a pre-digested, segmented experience where “richness” serves as a distraction or nuisance. Finally, in a culture focused on demographically pegging each individual’s whims, a passive mass production approach guarantees irrelevance. A ClassPortal creates a purpose and shared mission that puts students and teachers together in a group endeavor that inherently promotes Real, Rich and Relevant learning.
The New WWW: Whatever, Whenever, Wherever – Published in ASCD’s Educational Leadership
A new world of personalized, device-delivered digital content and functionality hovers just over the broadband horizon. The New WWW – offering us whatever we want, whenever and wherever we want it – may seem like just an extension of our already-technology-enhanced contemporary life. In some ways, it is. But such a wireless stream of media gratification is actually a radical departure from typical human experience. And as tantalizing as this ready access to our hearts’ desires may be, it creates great challenges for our children. To counteract the New WWW’s potentially harmful impact on youth, educators must use technology to create learning experiences that are real, rich, and relevant.
The Learning Power of WebQuests – Published in ASCD’s Educational Leadership
A well-designed WebQuest combines research-supported theories with effective use of the Internet to promote dependable instructional practices.
What WebQuests Are (Really!)
This is an unabridged version of “The Learning Power” published in ASCD’s Educational Leadership. In other words, it’s the full definition of a WebQuest.
Class Act Portals published in EQ from the Curriculum Corporaton
2005 marks the 10th anniversary of many people’s first experience of the World Wide Web. In that decade “WWW dot” has transformed the way we live, work and play. Yet research reveals that less than half of teachers who have Internet access in their classrooms use it for instructional purposes. Avoiding the Web hurts both students and teachers because its most valuable attribute for education is that it can make learning more Real, Rich, and Relevant. The purpose of this article is to raise a call to action for all teachers in all states and all systems throughout the world to make 2005 the year that we infuse a New 3Rs for all students.
What’s on the Web for Educators? printed in the CUE Newsletter, 1995
Viewing the Web as a whole or Web sites by the million is sure to overwhelm any dedicated educator. Try these seven ways to view the content of the Web as it relates to common learning applications.
Working the Web for Education, printed in the CUE Newsletter 1997
The theory and practice of integrating the Web for learning. This is the original article that discusses Zen in the Art of teaching with the Web and five activity formats for achieving learning goals with the Web.
Ten Stages of Working the Web for Education
Find yourself or your school on this continuum. This article can help you plan professional development sessions.

MultiMedia Schools

Discovering Your Topic
The Importance of Keeping Things in Context. Textbooks, encyclopedia, and other traditional sources are great for getting to the content of the courses you teach. Use the Web for that trickier bit of re-contextualizing the topic in the complex mesh that is the World (Wide Web).
Grow What You Know
Smart software should help you grow what you know, not get in your way. Try a Ready.. Fire! Aim… approach to curriculum design.
Wouldn’t You Rather Gather?
Skip Search Engines and Find Sites Faster. Because it’s a challenge, we often think we need to learn sophisticated, arcane, search strategies. Happily, the Web has matured enough that if you know where to go, you can frequently skip the search and harvest links others have already found for you.
Thinking Through Linking
Finding Education’s Name for the Web. Al Gore got us thinking about the Web and “The Information Super Highway.” This was helpful in mobilizing interest and resources, but the expression is more detour than road map for those involved in promoting the Web’s use in education.
Link Like You Mean It!
Selecting Web Sites to Support Intentional Learning Outcomes. Depending on the learning goal you have for a Web-based activity, you probably want to look for sites that support that approach. Learn about Info Rich, Emotive and Perturbing sites among others.
The 3 R’s of WebQuests
To write WebQuests that engender a spirit of true learning and avoid “playing school,” apply a filter of “The New 3 R’s.” If a WebQuest-in-the-making isn’t Real, Rich, and Relevant, work hard to make sure that it is. This column offers a reflection on several WebQuests to see how they could be improved by accenting the 3 R’s.
Are We There Yet?
Isn’t it silly to think driving a car would ensure a great family vacation? Isn’t it just as silly to think using a computer guarantees learning achievement? This parable compares technology integration to a family auto vacation.
WebQuests 101
By sifting through a stack of WebQuests you should have a clear idea of not only what defines this particular type of Web-based learning activity, but also what aspects contribute to making a great WebQuest. Using an evaluation rubric can help highlight exemplary WebQuests.
“You Are Here”
It’s natural to feel a little lost amidst the maze of variables involved in using technology with students. All we can do is start where we are. This checklist for implementing Web-based activities might serve as a roadside kiosk to let you know “You are Here!”
Retooling Schooling
In an earlier age, it may have made sense to model schools after the productions lines transforming the business world. Reduced costs and greater efficiency seemed beneficial. But then again, is learning really a matter of bolting on new bits?

WebQuests for Learning

Why WebQuests?
Some background on the pedagogical reasons to try WebQuests. WebQuests have become the most popular approach for integrating the Web with classroom learning activities. Read about some educational theories that suggest this is a good idea.
The WebQuest Design Process
An elaboration of the process Tom March uses / teaches for creating WebQuests. Move through three main phases of inherent in developing a WebQuest. Each of the phases have been integrated into Web-and-Flow Interactive.

Previous Publications

“Reflections on a Drive-By Caning,” article submitted for the “My Turn” column, Newsweek Magazine, New York, NY.

“Using R.E.A.L. World technologies,” created and led this in-service to train teachers on Microsoft Word, PageMaker, and Persuasion, Poway High School, 1994

“The R.E.A.L. World Community Outreach Project,” presentation at the Computer Using Educators Conference, Palm Springs, CA, 1994

Computer-Guided Writing,” Master’s thesis, 1993, SDSU

“The Writer’s Guide,” a guided-writing software program designed with Bernie J. Dodge, San Diego State University, 1992 – 93

“Computer-Guided Writing,” presentation at the Computer Using Educators Conference, Palm Springs, CA, 1993

“Teaching in the R.E.A.L. World” presentation at the Computer Using Educators Conference, Palm Springs, CA, 1993

“The Art of Teaching,” a multimedia-enhanced keynote speech presented at the Poway Unified School District’s “Mentor Dinner,” Rancho Bernardo Inn, 1993

“Class Acts with Simple Stacks,” presentation at the California League of Middle Schools, Monterey, CA, 1992

“Teaching in a Multimedia World,” presentation at the Computer Using Educators Conference, Palm Springs, CA, 1992

“Going Hyper,” designed and led this in-service training, Poway Unified School District, 1992

“Comp 2: A Rad Plan,” wrote a grant and chaired the committee that created a semester-long curriculum for 10th grade students, 1992

“The New American School,” presentation to the Poway Unified School Board, 1991

“Technically Speaking,” a monthly column in the Poway High School Principal’s Newsletter, 1990 – 91

“American Studies,” wrote a grant and chaired the committee that created an interdisciplinary handbook of primary source documents bridging U.S. History and American Literature for 11th grade students, 1989/90

“Teachers’ Pets,” poem published in the No Street Poet’s Voice, San Diego, CA, 1988

“His Boy Elroy,” a full-length motion picture screenplay, 1985

“Hey, Hey, We’re the Busboys,” concert preview, Phoenix New Times, 1983

“Donald Fagan: The Night Fly,” record review, Phoenix New Times, 1983

“Problematic Plasmatics,” reflection & record review, Madcity Music Guide, Madison, WI, 1981

“Sax Solo,” poem published in The Madison Review, Fall, 1980


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