Webquests – How I can use them

 The Webquest I liked:

http://zunal.com/webquest.php?w=157042

Introducing Microsoft Excel and how it can be used in a specific trade is part of the course that I teach. The above is a good Webquest that introduces Excel to students. I like this Webquest also because the author uses a flipped classroom approach which I generally use in my classroom.

Based on the six parts that a typical Webquest contains, I would create my Webquest as follows. As an example, I’m going to use the automotive trade.

Introduction:

I would introduce the Webquest as an assignment to find out how work orders and maintenance reports are created using Microsoft Excel.
Task:

The task would be create a customized work order or vehicle maintenance report using Microsoft Excel using formatting that have been taught in class.
Information sources:

http://www.gcflearnfree.org/excel2013

This link provides tutorials to Excel formatting that students have already learnt in class.

http://www.spreadsheet123.com/ExcelTemplates/index.html

This link provides access to examples of various Excel work order templates that already exist.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cqpptVyyig

This link shows a Youtube video example of how a work order can be created.

I will provide these information sources in the process section of the Webquest.
Process:

I would list the following steps in the this section –

  1. Review all the formatting that we learnt in class. Use this link to refresh your memory.
  2. Use this link to look at examples of work order templates that already exist.
  3. Watch this video as an example of how work orders can be made on Excel.
  4. Create the Excel sheet with all the basic requirements that need to present on a work order.
  5. Be as creative as you can be.

Guidance / Evaluation:

The guidance part would be more of an evaluation step to make sure the work is done correctly.

  1. Make sure you have all the required fields on the work order.
  2. Make sure all the formulas work by trying out different numbers in all the fields.
  3. Make sure your work order prints on 1 page.

Conclusion:

In the conclusion part, I would congratulate the students on completing the assignment and provide instructions on when and where the assignment needs to be submitted.

A Webquest is a great tool that I would definitely be using in the future to make assignments more interesting.

Webquests – How I can use them

Flipping the classroom: How I use it

Like the articles Understanding the Flipped Classroom: Part 1 and Part 2 talk about, the concept of flipped classroom has been around for decades and with the addition of more technology into teaching methods, flipping the classroom has become easier and more effective. I feel flipped classrooms should be used more often, wherever possible, to improve the quality of the class time spent with the instructor.

In the course that I teach, I introduce the use of computers to students from various trades like Carpentry, Heavy duty mechanics, Electrical, Plumbing etc. Since I feel that it’s important to emphasize why students learn what they learn, I always use a flipped classroom method to help students understand how computers can be effectively used in their respective trades. I ask my students to find out for themselves, from a source of their choice, how computers can help them in their trades. When students actively research and come to class with their findings, it helps the whole class get various ideas. Also, since students have identified the use of computers themselves, they do not feel that they have to use them just because I tell them it’s important.

There are a few concerns that affect the flipping process even in a time when it seems like Technology is accessible to anyone, especially in developed countries. Since many of my students haven’t had the need to use computers in their fields or at their work places, they sometimes don’t have access to computers and internet. Students who lack the motivation, or, who genuinely feel computers are useless to them, come up with this inaccessibility as excuse to avoid homework. In such cases, I ask them to talk to core instructors in their respective trades about usefulness of computers.

The above is one example of how I flip my classroom. I try to keep looking for “Flippable” moments and have always found flipped learning to be very effective since it helps students get more involved in the learning process and also helps them find purpose in what they learn.

Flipping the classroom: How I use it

Article: “Student-Centered Learning: It starts with the Teacher” – My views

I’ve always supported and believed in student-centered learning and have time and again realized that this approach can never be successful without the teacher giving up the need to control. The article throws light on a very important topic – students needing a voice in whywhat, and how learning experiences take shape.

No learner will have the motivation if they don’t know why they’re learning what they’re learning. I feel it’s very important for the teacher to clarify the relevance of whatever is being taught right at the beginning. I try to incorporate a student-centered approach by asking the students to come up with reasons why my course would be useful or how they can use it at their workplace. Even if only half the class comes up with ideas, they motivate almost the whole class.

Luckily, the courses I teach have some contents that need to be covered and some that are optional. With the optional content, I try to get a general opinion from the class regarding what they feel would be more useful to them. Having a voice in what they learn definitely motivates them.

When it comes to how the course is taught I use different methods including presentations, hands-on training and very little lecture. I find that with short courses, sometimes only 25 hours, it’s really difficult, to determine what teaching method best fits a particular class, or to offer approaches they can pick from. Being able to offer preferred teaching methods would definitely make a huge difference. Another really interesting topic the article talks about is the “Genius hour” wherein a small percentage of class time can be allotted for innovation.

Although I believe student-centered approaches are the best for 21st century learning, I always have doubts about how much control students can have in a class room.

Article: “Student-Centered Learning: It starts with the Teacher” – My views