WebQuest News

News and views about the WebQuest model, a constructivist lesson format used widely around the world.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Discourse Analysis and Baseball at NECC

Around 400 attended my session unveiling the new portal. It was webcast live and the archive will be viewable after July 15. If you're reading this then you already know about the portal.

I was excited to attend a roundtable session about some new research conducted around a WebQuest. The Nature of Discourse as Students Collaborate on a Mathematics WebQuest was discussed by Eula Ewing Monroe from BYU. She and Michelle Orme recorded the conversations kids had as they worked their way through A Creative Encounter of the Numerical Kind, a WebQuest in which kids have to create a new number system in base 4.

The exciting thing to me about the study was the methodology for coding the discussions. They used a scheme called SLANT (Spoken Language and New Technology) which categorized student talk as Exploratory, Cumulative, Disputational and Tutorial. I think this might be a useful tool for other researchers to look at as they study what really goes on during a WebQuest.

Another interesting session was Covering All the Bases: WebQuests Across the Curriculum in which a team from Danville, Illinois described a two week long constellation of activities all built around the theme of baseball. This is something I hadn't seen before; it wasn't a single WebQuest but rather a whole system of lessons... some of which might individually be considered WebQuests and others not. It was heartening to listen to them describe how some of their most disengaged kids got completely hooked. This is the kind of outcome that keeps educators going even in the hardest of places.


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