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Teacher Technology Training on Webquests by Patrice Rasmussen, M.Ed

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									WebQuests and SMARTboard®


Proposal to Study the Effect of Congruent Training of Teachers on WebQuests and SMARTboard® Patrice Rasmussen University of South Florida

WebQuests and SMARTboard® Introduction


“The transformation of teaching styles, preferences and behavior requires persuasion, learning by experience and the provision of highly personalized learning journeys” (McKenzie, 2001, p.4). Despite the financial commitment and training opportunities offered to teachers, as noted in Polk County’s Professional Development schedule, there still seems to be a lack of technology inclusion in classroom lessons. McKenzie also points out that the “MDR reported in 1999 that 60% of a national survey of teachers claimed five (5) hours or less of training annually […] We see too little time devoted in the wrong way to the wrong goal. We need more time and resources that are applied in the right way at the right time; to the right tasks.” (p. 3). Similarly, McKenzie contrasts “adult learning (often called “andragogy”) with pedagogy (instructor directed learning)” and points out that “adult learners need methods of instruction that involve their interests, relevance of context of learning and developmental readiness” (p.5). “The Learning Generation (LearnGen) project at the University of Kansas was developed to generate new ways of successfully teaching and learning technology use” (Smith & Robinson, 2003, p.155). The LearnGen project looks closely at this specific issue of the lack of significant technology implementation in K- 12 schools. This project “involved action research utilizing a pre-test, and a longitudinal study of two control groups where one used WebQuests and the other the more traditional method of face to face instruction” (p. 157). The authors showed what appears to be a positive correlation between WebQuests and comprehension assessments (p. 158). “WebQuests increased student learning of standards based curriculum.” Similarly, Smith & Robinson point out that “it was found that teachers are quickly frustrated in technology usage by their lack of technical skills.” (p. 159). It is outside the capability of most teachers, to be able to embed web pages or to write html code. This makes the adaption of new technologies

WebQuests and SMARTboard®


such as the SMARTboard® so exciting. SMARTboards® greatly reduce the demand for technical skill on the part of the teacher. This is accomplished through behind-the-scenes html coding through an intuitive drag and drop interface, to give one example. This study will reflect on ideas inherent with SMARTboard® usage, in conjunction with WebQuests that can be differentiated to meet specific teacher or student needs in various situations. Showing teachers how to use technology in the classroom is not as important as first showing teachers that they, themselves, can successfully use the technology. Technology is becoming more and more intuitive and less reliant on the technical expertise of the teacher. WebQuests WebQuests utilize a type of learner led inquiry which encourages the learner to be selfdirected and therefore more engaged. This is a similar philosophy to the work of John Dewey as discussed by Grant, (2002) “As far back as the early 1900s, John Dewey supported "learning by doing." (p.2) Similarly, Grant describes WebQuests: Rooted in constructivism, constructionism and cooperative/collaborative learning, projectbased learning has strong theoretical support for successful achievement. Examples of project-based learning from the literature, such as project-based science, disciplined inquiry and WebQuests, offer an opportunity to compare and contrast how project-based learning has been integrated into various classrooms and domains. (p.3) “There are many helpful websites to assist in assessment using WebQuests such as the WebQuest team's Web site ( which provides a template for developing a rubric to assess WebQuest tasks” (p. 12). Many studies show how problem-based learning seems to correlate well with WebQuests, since by definition you are on a quest to solve a problem. “WebQuests can be created for just about any discipline and are typically interdisciplinary.

WebQuests and SMARTboard® WebQuests are also inquiry-oriented” (p.3). A professional development class that teaches the


benefits of WebQuests, but does not also teach the technical skills required to make them, is indeed, to quote McKenzie again, “time devoted in the wrong way to the wrong goal”. Proposal for Research There is much in the literature about the value of WebQuests for students (Smith & Robinson, 2003; Barab, Thomas, Dodge, Carteaux, & Tuzun, 2005). There is evidence that teachers are less inclined to use technology in the classroom if they do not feel that they are technically savvy (Maeers, Browne, & Cooper, 2000). This proposal would look at the effect of using SMARTboard® technology in the design and implementation of WebQuests and whether providing teachers with congruent training in both SMARTboard® and WebQuests will result in increased WebQuest usage in the classroom. An initial survey (Appendix A) of current technological ability and usage would serve as the pre-test. Two classes of teachers would be studied. The first class would receive training on the benefits and design of WebQuests. The second class would receive the same training on WebQuests but would also be trained in how SMARTboard®s can simplify the creation and use of WebQuests in the classroom. A survey of each class would be conducted after six months to see if there was a significant difference in the number of WebQuests created and used in the classroom by the two different groups. If we are to promote lifelong learning as something that is appealing, then we must engage our teachers in activities and learning experiences that allow time for fun, experimentation, exploration and play via WebQuests. Will the utilization of WebQuests as a form of technology professional development demonstrate an ability to improve teacher technology implementation and sophistication in the classroom and improve teachers’ attitudes to technology and result in consistent implementation

WebQuests and SMARTboard® of sophisticated technology in classroom routines and lessons? Training about WebQuests, in conjunction with SMARTboard®s, would seem to provide a fertile environment for teachers to be able to transfer their own learning into their classroom curriculum.


WebQuests and SMARTboard®


Barab, S., Thomas, M., Dodge, T., Carteaux, R., & Tuzun, H. (2005). Quest Atlantis: A Game without guns. Educational Development Research and Development, 53(1). Retrieved June 26, 2008, from <>. Grant, M. M. (2002). Getting a grip on project-based learning: Theory, cases and recommendations. Meridian: A Middle school computer technologies journal, 5(1). Retrieved June 26, 2008, from <>. Maeers, M., Browne N., & Cooper, E. (2000). Pedagogically appropriate integration of informational technology in an elementary preservice teacher education program. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 8(3). Retrieved June 25, 2008, from ProQuest Research Library database.
McKenzie, J. (2001). How Teachers learn technology best. From Now On: The Education Technology Journal,10(6). Retrieved June 26, 2008, from <>. Smith, S. J., & Robinson, S. (2003). Technology integration through collaborative cohorts: Preparing future teachers to use technology. Remedial and special education, 24. Retrieved June 26, 2008, from WilsonWeb database.

WebQuests and SMARTboard®
Appendix A


How Are We Doing? Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey on your technology use in the classroom. USF school district welcomes your feedback and your answers will be kept confidential. Thank you for your participation. Article I. General Teacher Technology Implementation

In general, what is the level of your technology integration in the classroom?  Outstanding  Good  Basic/email access  Poor

How does our technology professional development program meet your needs?  Outstanding  Good  Adequate  Needs improvement  Poor  N/A

How often have you utilize PowerPoint or the internet as a vital part of your classroom lessons within the past year?  Never  2-5 Times  Once a week o Every day

Article II.

Power Point Lesson Planning/Excel Lesson Plans

Did you prepare your classroom lesson plans using PowerPoint or excel this year?  Created originals regularly  Used another teacher’s plans

If you planned lessons using PowerPoint, did you add in essential questions and answers, etc. during the lesson?  Yes  No

WebQuests and SMARTboard®
How easy was it for you to integrate PowerPoint or the internet into your classroom lesson?  Very easy       Very difficult


Have you used email for teacher student communications? Homework assignments?  Never  Once or twice  5 times or more  Often

Would you consider using blogs or classroom discussion boards?  Absolutely not!  Will try it once  Weekly  Once amonth  Often  Every week

If you were researching a topic on the internet with your class would you consider a WebQuest?  Yes  No

Article III.

Professional Technology Coaching Offer?

If you were given time out of your teaching schedule, would you consider technology coaching with a USF student?
 I would love that!  Yes  Perhaps  Not sure  I don’t think so  No, never in my classroom!

If you had all the support you needed would you consider technology in your classroom as something you would want to increase?  No, I don’t have an interest  No, I don’t have the time  If it was a scheduled staff meeting time.  Yes, I am interested in learning about ________.

WebQuests and SMARTboard®
Would you include Virtual reality gaming in your curriculum if given resources and ample training:  Never  I am offended  What is that?  Afterschool  Reward  Other _______________


If you were given training would you create Web quests and interactive Smart board lessons?  No, this is ridiculous!  I don’t think so.  I don’t have the time.  If someone else created the lessons and put them on my computer.  Yes, if I could download them.  That would make my teaching career so much more rewarding!

Article IV.

Additional Feedback

Please list any technology concerns here. _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Please share your any areas of technology training you would like to have this year. _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

Article V.

Personal Information

Providing the following information is optional. First Name: Grade Level: Asddress: Telephone: State: Gender: ZIP Code: Age: Last Name:

WebQuests and SMARTboard®
Would you like someone to contact you regarding your responses on this survey?  Yes  No


Thank you for taking the time to fill out our survey. We rely on your feedback to help us improve our services. Your input is greatly appreciated.

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