Oct 16 2010

Vygotsky’s theory and the webquest

Published by at 4:31 pm under Uncategorized

The webquest is too text intensive. It would require that the teacher read much of it to the student. Does this bring the student closer to Vygotsky’s ZPD? It would depend on what the teacher is trying to teach with this activity. It doesn’t seem to be reading. The focus of the webquest activities, according to the teacher page, seems to be more about categorizing information. The method of finding the information is mostly printing and copying data. How does that get the student closer to the ZPD? If it doesn’t, then wouldn’t this part of the webquest just be busy work?

The categorizing and sorting activities take place once the product of the quest has been completed. Would the students be as engaged in the sorting had they not printed and coloured the dinosaurs themselves? Would the colouring be sufficient for them to be engaged and for real learning to take place? I think it might. What I am suggesting is that the recopying exercise by removed in favour of time spent researching and discussing the findings amongst themselves.

I think the activity might have been structured differently so that the student would research the dinosaurs facts from a small database (provided by the teacher) – more like a match up activity than a recopying activity. This could be done in teams and discussion could take place among the team members – learning in a peer mentoring situation (Vygotsky’s social partners). The rest of the webquest activities seem relevant, however the teacher might replace the copying exercise with a dinosaur word search or some other activity that provides practice for writing. Perhaps each student could write a short fictitious story about their dinosaur once the presentations have been made to consolidate learning. This would be assessed as part of the rubric.

The rubric is not very well designed, but it is only an outline of what might be assessed. Again, I think the teacher needs to really think about what the students need to learn with this webquest so that learning can be assessed, not just the final product.

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