Thursday, November 23, 2006

Webquest Reflection

Finally finished our webquest! Really feel a sense of accomplishment, the feel good factor after completing this task. Anyway, Yunbing and I choose the topic on Coast because we are poor in this topic so this’ll force us to read up more on coasts and top up our content knowledge. We have chosen to focus on coast management issues since Singapore is surrounded by water bodies. Thus we decided to choose a real case study to make our task more authentic.

Webquest helps students to learn and gather information outside their syllabus and promotes a thinking classroom in school as webquest promotes problem based learning. I feel that webquest meets the aim of Teach Less Learn More scheme where students actually learn more through solving authentic task. It is an interesting way to learn; students may not feel compelled as the task is not taken from textbook but from websites.

We find that Webquest is similar to problem based learning where we have to create a problem for students to solve. We manage to find this video “line of defence” which shows the rate of erosion in Suffolk in a year. Flags are planted along the coast line to investigate the rate of erosion. It is really an interesting video and students could see for themselves the power of coastal erosion. Our objective is to let students understand the plight of the residents in that area and come to a conclusive decision whether coastal protection strategies are essential and what types of coastal protection strategies could be used if it is essential. Having a more open ended task, the students would have to come up with their own arguments on whether to protect the coasts and what types of protection strategies (both man-made and natural) should be employed. To educate them that protection works are expensive we included in our webquest cost estimation for their suggested strategies. They have to come up with a ten year plan to protect their coast from erosion. This will let them think further that coastal erosion management cannot be a short term solution but involves long term planning. We did take into account that some may feel that coastal erosion cannot be stopped then why bother to waste so much money to protect the coast. Thus we have a 3rd group who is against coastal protection and they have to find another coastal location to convince the other residents to move out to a new coastal location. The purpose of doing this is to make the students think where to locate your home in coastal area, preferably not on erosional coast but perhaps on depositional coast or further away from the coasts. In this webquest, the different groups are required to convince their fellow residents that their protection plan is the best. In doing so, students will have to provide reasons and justify their plan.

It is good that students would be inspired to find information on their own and education is at a click of a mouse. This may also surfaced another issue, what about those students who do not have computer at home, I felt that this group of students may be disadvantaged in a way. Perhaps, we should not set this task as homework but give them time to complete in class or set it as a holiday assignments so that this group of students have more time to gain access to the internet. Hopefully webquest can help students think that learning geography doesn’t mean memorizing information but help them to answer questions with understanding.



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