About the blog:

As a course participant of " University of Oregon-AEI's Building Teaching Skills Through The Interactive Web - Fall 2014" program, I take great pleasure in creating and updating this blog. In the Webskills Homepage, my reflections on what I learned each week and how I intend to implement my learning in my work as a teacher will be the main area of focus. In the India: My Homeland Page, I would like to share with you some anecdotes from my life, stories regarding my students, the schooling system in my country and a few snippets about India. Thank you for visiting. Please, do leave your valuable comments.

Friday, December 12, 2014

My Wonderful Webskills Journey – Week 10 - The last post!

A Journey to Remember:

It has been 10 amazing weeks! I will cherish this journey always as this has been the most wonderful learning experience!

When I started this journey I never imagined I’d learn such a lot in so short a time. I made so many new friends along the way. It is YOU, my friends who made this journey so enjoyable. Sharing ideas, suggestions, advice, and a lot more, made this journey worthy of remembrance. We all did a fantastic job, I believe! So……

New Learning, New Discoveries:

When I think back at what I learned and experienced through these 10 weeks, this is what comes to my mind-

Week 1 was full of new discoveries! Being introduced to so many new teachers from around the world, knowing about their teaching environment and most of all, getting to know about them, was a new experience altogether. It seemed our course was a melting pot of different cultures.

Then the ground rules were set and everybody agreed to collaborate. Using Nicenet as a discussion forum was something that I learned first-hand. Then, I had the most amazing experience creating my first Blog.   

Week 2 brought new ideas in Web Searching and how it could be effectively used to enhance the learning experience. I came to know about ABCD objectives and started to experiment with them. I got the hang of it and was soon using it all the time.

Week 3 introduced me to an amazing tool – Delicious – it made life easier by helping me organize all the new websites and webpages I was visiting. Now nothing will be lost or forgotten, Yipee!

How Oral/Aural skills can be built with the help of technology was discussed and this brought me to my next discovery – Vocaroo – a tool which I am a big fan of. We were also asked to Read a Project this week in preparation for our own projects that we had to submit by the end of the course.

Week 4 put forward new ways in which Reading, Writing and Vocabulary skills can be built. I got to know about Multi-Skill Websites which had a plethora of resources.  

Making my first Technology Enhanced Lesson Plan on Google Doc was an absolutely thrilling experience.

Week 5 was extremely enriching as we discussed two very important topics. The first was, getting to know about WebQuest as a way to apply Project – Based Learning. The second topic was Alternative Assessment and Rubrics. Both topics were means to promote Autonomous Learning, something that I as a teacher would like to achieve.

Creating my first Rubric with Rubistar and designing my first WebQuest with Zunal were highly satisfying experiences. This week with Courtney’s help I found the solution to my class issue.

Week 6 brought a topic which was very relevant to my class situation – Engaging students in large classes. The discussion helped me to find ways to make my classes more interactive.

I learnt about Interactive PPT and created one. I think I did a good job of it.

This was also the week that I started to implement the change, my Grade 9 started their WebQuest. My students were happy!

Week 7 was about finding ways to enhance learner autonomy by making the most of the one-computer classroom and using mobile devices. I planned an activity keeping the one-computer classroom reality of my teaching scenario in mind.

Discovering Padlet was another fun experience. This is such a handy tool. I am surely going to utilize it to the fullest.

Meanwhile, my students kept working on the WeQuest and the classes became so much more interesting and exciting! 

I had to find a partner this week, and I found two wonderful partners in Gordana and Zulyar. I was really lucky!

Week 8 discussion - Online Tools to Enhance Learning – broadened my perspective regarding using technology tools/exercises in the classroom. I created and shared a few online resources which I will be able to use regularly with my students.

Guest Moderator, Jeff Magoto, joined us and I got to know about ANVILL and MOOC. Playing the Trace Effects game was fun!

The Draft Report was submitted by me this week. Reviewing our partners Projects and providing feedback based on the checklist was the next task. I enjoyed the whole process very much.

Week 9 brought the topic – Learning Styles and Technology Connections – to the forefront. How to effectively address multiple intelligences and various learning styles with different technology tools was discussed in detail. Guest Moderator, Russell Moon, enriched the discussion with his suggestions and advice. Getting to discover my own learning style was exciting!

The big task of the week was submitting our Final Project Reports. My partners, Gordana and Zulyar’s, fantastic suggestions and encouraging feedback helped me in getting the work done. A big thanks to them!

Week 10 was here. Unbelievable! How time flies!

Sharing a few suggestions with the future participants of this course was how I started the week. I passed on ideas that had helped me and realizations that would have helped me had I known them prior to this course.

Evaluating the use of technology in my class helped me ascertain the level of Technology Integration. Determining the level of technology integration gave a clearer picture of how my classes had changed for the better, through these 10 weeks. Now I know where I stand, and where I want to be next.

My heartfelt thanks to all my colleagues. Your encouragement and kind words kept me going.

The course designers deserve my gratitude. You all have done a great job! Hats off to you!

Courtney, THANK YOU, so much! You were the perfect teacher! Your brilliant feedback and constant support were the biggest motivators. Every time I was confused or lost, you showed the right way. As Gordana said, you have been the ideal role model!

Courtney, do thank Deborah Healey on my behalf. I will keep on using so many of her created resources.

My BEST WISHES to everyone I got to know through this course! I hope we all keep in touch and share our experiences in implementing whatever we learnt. Bye!

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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Learning Styles and Final Project Report - Week 9

Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences:

This week I as I was going through Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences, I realized that although I had read it and answered questions on it during my college years, its full implication has only now come to me. This realization has helped me understand that each of us learn in our individual styles and this varies according to the subject as well as the medium.

The article Learning Styles and Strategies by Richard M. Felder
and Barbara A. Soloman (URL: http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/ILSdir/styles.htm) discusses in detail how a person can be active or reflective, sensing or intuitive, visual or verbal and sequential or global as a learner. The fact that each of us can sometimes be any of these and more at a time is also highlighted throughout the article. This is so true! We all are sometimes active learners and sometimes reflective and so on.

How Russell Moon helped me identify my learning styles:

This brings me to the insightful discussions we had this week with our Guest Moderator, Russell Moon, on this very important issue of differing learning styles of our students and how to address it with technology connections. All of us had different ideas on the matter and all of this put together gave us a wide array of methods we can successfully apply in our classes to address the different learning styles and multiple intelligences of our students. Gordana, Lorena, Zulyar, Virginia and the others came up with some wonderful ways to making technology work in our classroom scenarios. Russell commented on the different ideas and gave some of his own. This enriching experience will further help me in putting into practice all that I have learned through this course.

What I enjoyed most was finding out my own learning style. We were challenged to this task by Russell and the results were so surprising. I found that I am more reflective than active as a learner by nature, sensing but also intuitive, definitely more visual, strongly sequential and mildly global.

Diversity in Learning Styles:

A new dimension to the topic being discussed was added by the article Student Learning Styles and Their Implications for Teaching by S.M. Montgomery and L.N. Groat, CRLT Occasional Papers (URL: http://www.crlt.umich.edu/sites/default/files/resource_files/CRLT_no10.pdf). It delved on the importance of understanding the diversity in our student body. Age, nationality, culture, ethnicity as well as gender were the major factors which brought in diversity in our classrooms. These contribute in making the learning styles of individual students even more diverse. Having experienced this firsthand, I fully appreciate the value of this thought.

Thus, my conclusion is that, just like learning and knowledge, individual learning styles are dynamic in nature. This is true for all of us and it is naïve to expect that they can be any different for our students. It is therefore imperative for teachers to find the right balance in class and adapt their teaching styles with the dominant learning styles of the students. Finding this balance is where technology can most help us.

Final Project Report:

This week we were asked to submit our Final Project Report or Final Plan Report on the technology we had applied or would apply to solve a particular class issue. What I liked very much was that we had already been initiated into the process since last week and hence it was not a daunting task any more. As I had prepared the Draft report last week, I could finish the task on time. Gordana and Zulyar’s feedback and comments were of immense help. I could identify the problems easily and made the necessary changes. This whole process of reviewing others drafts and getting their suggestions was an enriching experience for me.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Online Tools to Enhance Learning – Week 8, Post 2

More Resources = More Learning!

We were given access to so many online resources this week, some of which we had experienced in this course itself. The only difference was that we got the first-hand experience of creating course sites or exercises for our students utilizing the potential of these resources.

Creating a Nicenet class, a class blog on blogger, or a class website/ wiki on Google sites/ wikispaces was detailed in easy to understand handouts. As we had been working on all three platforms right from the beginning of this course, it was easy to understand how useful each can be. Using these very tools in our classes can now become a reality. Not only do these tools provide a common platform for class discussions but also allow individuals to work in their own pace. Knowledge transfer over a wide geographical space is possible. A learner is allowed full freedom to explore more on his own. Thus learner autonomy is achieved.

Introduction to ANVILL:

We had a guest faculty, Jeff Magoto, joining us this week. He introduced us to ANVILL, A National Virtual Language Lab. This is a speech based virtual tool that language teachers can use to teach their students. There were supporting articles and screencasts that detailed the functions and applications of ANVILL. 

I played the trace effects game and was hooked. I am sure learners will find the experience engaging and exciting.

Creating Online Course Sites or Exercises:

I created a class Survey using Google Drive (URL: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1lQrLCqdeijTexH5RqEYHiZZrqBLCrtDDmEACdh97lRI/viewform). This I created as a follow up activity to the WebQuest I had done in class. I intend to use the student feedback and opinions I collect from this survey to fine tune my next WebQuest.

A class Padlet wall was created using the site www. padlet. com (URL: http://padlet.com/sengupta_sharmi/WebQ_Homework), created  will be utilized to post homework and scores. Not only will this make homework more exciting but it will, I believe, allow students to be more creative.

I have also created a fun Word Search activity (URL: http://www.toolsforeducators.ckom/wordsearch/wordsearchq.php?hint=text) for my junior students who have no access to technology. They have to find English adjectives using the Bengali (native language) hints. Hence, they learn both translation and adjectives in two languages in the process. I created this activity using the Tools for Educators site.

Image Courtesy:

Project Report and Peer Review – Week 8, Post – 1

Making the Draft Report:

This week we were to submit the first draft of our final Project Report to our partners by Wednesday, 26th Nov, 2014. I must say, this was a difficult task to accomplish. I was sure that I will never make the deadline. I started working on the first draft on Monday, 24th Nov, 2014. Soon, I realized that through the weeks we had actually done the ground work for the Project Report by providing the answers to several questions as part of the Project Step thread on Nicenet. Wow! This is great!

Soon I had in place the first few sections of the Report Template provided to us by Courtney. Then there was no looking back. This initial boost kept me going till the end. I completed my first draft by Wednesday and uploaded it on the class wiki page created for my group.

Collaborating with my Wonderful Partners:

We had been asked to find partners for Peer Review of our Draft Projects. Gordana and Zulyar graciously agreed to be my partners. I loved the whole process of signing up on a wiki page for the partnership. It, at once, increased the level of commitment and responsibility towards our partners. Taking a learning from this activity, I am surely going to employ this method with my students whenever I create groups for some collaborative work.

Advantages of Peer Review:

I had the great privilege of reviewing Gordana’s and Zulyar’s draft
projects. By Sunday 30th Nov, 2014 we were supposed to upload our feedback and comments based on the checklist provided to us. I realized while reviewing their work that each one of us has a different take on the same topic. This helped me to see things in a new perspective. I am sure this knowledge will help me when I am making the final Project report. What I had missed out on and where I can make improvements came to light. How wonderful! These realizations were only possible as I had the opportunity to review others work.

Here, I must say that the draft reports prepared by my partners were brilliant! Both of them have done justice to the whole idea. They have also provided me with their valuable feedback and suggestions in their checklists for me, which is definitely going to help me in making my Final Report better.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Implementing the Change: The WebQuest Journey! – Week 7, Post 3

The WebQuest Journey Continues:

Finally, Monday came. The moment I entered my Grade 9 class,
Photograph of Victoria Memorial
taken by Group 1
I was greeted with big smiles on each face. The students were super excited and brimming with joy. They were all eager to tell me about their trip on Sunday. I admit it took me a while to calm them down and then we listened to each groups little adventure. They all had such a lot to share. How fantastic!

On Tuesday, we went to the computer lab and I showed the students how to make a PPT. They first watched the Youtube video (URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_4R6U1fDwE) and then tried their hand at making slides for their final presentation. The students also visited the website on Kolkata’s tourist attractions (URL: http://www.kolkata.org.uk/tourist-attractions/) to gather more information.

Photograph of Mother Teresa's
Resting Place taken by Group 2
Next day, Wednesday, we stayed in class as the computer room was being used by another class. I showed the students the printout of the two Rubrics, one for oral presentation and the other for the written questionnaire work. As they had never seen a rubric before, I explained what its function was and how they needed to refer to these to perform better. The students were pleased to know that they now had the criteria on which they would be evaluated. When I asked them if they felt the rubrics would help them, they unanimously agreed.

Group 3 visited the Kolkata Zoo
Thursday and Friday was spent by each group in preparing the slides and rehearsing the final presentation. There was a lot of excitement in the air. Other teachers got to know about this and they asked me if they could be present in class while the students presented their findings. It was agreed that the final presentations will be on Saturday and all the teachers interested were invited.

Group 4 visited Science City 
As the presentations would take some time, I changed my routine on Saturday and asked for three consecutive periods with Grade 9. The students were prepared and raring to go. We arrived at the computer lab at the designated time and the first group came up with their slides. I must say that the students still need to improve their work, but I feel they did a wonderful job at their first try. I am so proud of them! All the groups tried to speak in English as much as possible. Not all were good in their presentation skills, but it was amazing that each one tried their best. The other teachers were amazed to see the overall outcome and congratulated me on my efforts. What really made me happy was that this project saw the involvement of each and every student and they all gave it their best shot.

The students participated wholeheartedly and came up with
Group 5 visited St. Paul's Cathedral
questions and ideas when the other groups were presenting. There was such a lot of positive interaction and communication. Next, I asked them to submit the written questionnaire for evaluation. They are all eagerly awaiting my scores and feedback, which I have promised to share with them on Monday.

What a wonderful experience we all had!

Finding a Peer Review Partner:

This week we were asked to find a partner for peer review of our final project. Gordana, Zulyar and I have agreed to be partners. I am sure we will be able to help each other in reaching our final goal.

Three cheers to our partnership!

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Learner Autonomy in the One-Computer Classroom and through Mobile Devices-Week 7, Post 2

Utilizing the One-Computer Classroom to achieve Learner Autonomy:

Mine is a no computer classroom. However, from the initiation of this course, I have felt the need to introduce my students to the amazing world of learning through technology. To this effect, I have got the authorities in my school to allow me to conduct my English classes in the computer laboratory when other classes are not using it. Hence, it is now possible to take the advantage of one computer with internet connectivity and five other computers without internet.

To derive maximum advantage from the facilities available, I regularly divide my students into groups and ask one group to research something while the others get to use the other computers. This has helped my students to become faster as they know that they have an allotted time in front of the computer. It has also made them more responsible and respectful of others’ needs.

I found the following two articles very informative. They were both related to the various ways in which the one-computer classroom can become more effective. Glori Chaika’s article “How to Thrive-Not Just Survive-in a One-Computer Classroom” (URL: http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech092.shtml) suggested various to utilize the single computer available in a classroom. The article from Teacher Tap-"The One Computer Classroom" (URL:  http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic84.htm) also put forward many ideas related to the topic.

I planned a lesson which would help in making my students more autonomous learners utilizing the concept of the one-computer classroom. The lesson plan, which is about writing a movie review, is available at (URL: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oGrEZjBRnup3Y8gMXg62kWIG6vW7-gg9CMtdMai2ecg/edit).  

Using Mobile Devices to achieve 

Learner Autonomy:

Integrating technology into learning makes it interesting for the students. If technology that students are already familiar with are used to impart education, then learning becomes enjoyable.

Mobile Devices can be used to bring about autonomous learning. Simple features like SMS, emailing, web chatting or moblogging (mobile blogging) can assist the students to learn and explore more on their own. The article by George M. Chinnery, “Emerging Technologies: Going to the MALL: Mobile Assisted Language Learning” (URL: http://llt.msu.edu/vol10num1/emerging/default.html) lists many ways to use mobile devices in promoting autonomous learning. Similarly, in Larry Ferlazzo’s edublog (URL: http://edvista.com/claire/pres/iphoneapps/) one can find listed the mobile apps which assist language learning together with their URLs.

The Power of Padlet:

We were introduced to a wonderful tool this week. It’s called Padlet. It works as a virtual display/ bulletin board. It is so simple to use. One just has to create a Padlet wall where the users can post articles, links, images, videos and almost anything they wish to. It can be used by the teacher to post assignments, notices, homework, articles, videos, etc. for the class to see. The students can use the platform to post their project work, submit assignments, upload their homework, personal findings or anecdotes that they would like to share with the class. It is a tool which promotes autonomous learning.

I uploaded a video and two articles about learner autonomy on our class Padlet wall. Courtney challenged us to come up with an activity where we use Padlet in a one-computer classroom and it also promotes learner autonomy. The activity I planned for my students was related to finding about famous authors and their writing from other countries, reading their books and then sharing the stories with the class. I feel, such an activity encourages students to be autonomous learners.

Thanks for Padlet, Courtney!

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Promoting Learner Autonomy – Week 7, Post 1

Autonomous Learning:

I am a great believer in the concept of autonomous learning. A learner learns to analyze, seek, question, inquire, think, search and find only when he/she is allowed to grow as an autonomous learner. This makes the learner responsible about the whole process of learning.

The teacher’s role is that of a facilitator here. Guiding the student towards the path of autonomous learning is the biggest responsibility of the teacher. He alone can provide the necessary impetus and inspire the student to succeed.

Towards Learner Autonomy

In my classes I have always encouraged autonomous learning. Now, after going through many articles, presentations and videos related to learner autonomy, as part of the readings for this week, I have gained a clear understanding regarding the concept. The discussions we had on Nicenet and the many ideas presented by my colleagues have helped me to think about new ways to promote learner autonomy among my students.

Motivation is definitely required to achieve the goal of learner autonomy. Without motivation a learner can never reach his/her desired destination. This can be in the form of encouraging words provided as feedback to a student or through grades related to an examination of the student’s achievement. Whatever be the form, motivation does play a crucial role in developing student’s desire to learn autonomously. 

Image Courtesy: http://www.learningpaths.org/Images/Homepage/img3.gif

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Implementing the Change: Introducing my students to WebQuest - Week 6, Post 2

Implementing the technological change in my classroom:

In the last few weeks I had started taking my Grade 9 students to the computer laboratory for their English classes. Familiarizing them with the computer was my first task. What helped immensely was that the students who are already familiar with computers, helped out the ones who are not. While I had to go to take my other classes, I involved this class in peer learning. As the students are eager to learn, they have picked up from their friends quickly. I have also started to familiarize them with the Internet. This is turning out to be a bit difficult as the internet connectivity in my school is very poor.

My Grade 9 students in the Computer Lab!

This week, I introduced them to the WebQuest, “Best Places to Visit in Kolkata” (URL: http://zunal.com/webquest.php?w=263128). On Monday, I showed them the WebQuest and explained how it works. Then I showed them the Zunal site (URL: http://zunal.com/index.php). After showing the students a few examples of WebQuests (Courtney’s Adventure Trip and Going to Movies) on Tuesday, things became clearer for them.

I divided the class into five groups of five students each on Wednesday and asked them to select a place of interest that they would like to visit with their group. The students were excited and were jumping with joy on hearing that they can go for a trip. It was fun to watch their joy! I helped them to navigate the webpage related to Kolkata from the Government website (URL: http://westbengaltourism.gov.in/web/guest/kolkata). Next, I asked them to get written consent from their parents regarding the trip. Then, I asked them to decide where each group would like to go. As the students were planning to go to places situated far off in their excitement, I intervened and narrowed down the options. Soon we reached a consensus and the places were finalized. The students came up with the idea of giving a name to their group and I agreed. The whole process was a lot of fun!

On Thursday, I gave them the printout of the Questionnaire I had prepared and explained that they had to collect information about the place they are going to visit. Later, they would have to submit the handouts as part of written work. We went over the questions in the questionnaire and discussed how information could be gathered.

On Friday, the students submitted the parents’ written consent and it was decided that they would visit the place they had chosen on Sunday. As the internet connectivity was down on Friday, we could not go to the Computer Lab. Instead, there was a class discussion about the places the groups were to visit and plans regarding what to take along, camera arrangements, bus routes and what to eat was finalized. I just put down one condition, all discussions should be in English. This was taken very well by the students and even the shy ones spoke a lot.

Next day, Saturday, we could visit the Wikipedia site (URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Places_of_interest_in_Kolkata) and students jotted down some important facts about the places they had chosen to visit.

Now, I am waiting to hear all about their trip on Monday!

Live Presentations by past participants of UO E -Teacher Program:

Thanks a lot to Courtney for inviting us all to see the live presentations by the past participants who are currently attending UO’s continuing E-Teacher Professional Development Program. Three days were designated this week for their live presentations. I could not connect on the first day, 12th November, 2014. However, I could enjoy the presentations on 13th and 14th. Gordana and Leourn joined the live presentations too.

The arrangements made by the UO team was fantastic and I was really surprised to see that they were constantly updating what was being done in the classroom for our clear understanding. Brilliant job, guys! Thanks for the experience!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Increasing Students’ Engagement and Interactive PowerPoint – Week 6, Post 1

Active Learning in Large Classes:

I have very large classes, mainly in the senior section. Usually, there are about 70-80 students in such classes. It is quite a challenge teaching these classes.

This scenario fits perfectly with the active discussion thread this week – Engaging students in large classes. The reading material provided for this week will be of help to all teachers who have large classes. Even those having smaller ones can benefit immensely from the readings.

One of my large classes!

The articles from UO and SERC portal spoke of changing the classroom to a learner-centered environment where there is interaction with and between the students. Many techniques and methods that may help teachers make their lectures interactive are discussed. Think-pair-share, concep tests, concept maps, quick think, question of the day, minute write, experiments, demonstrations, interactive visual aids, using iclickers to instantly assess the class opinion and role play are but some of them. 

Of the above, I have used a few in my classes earlier, like think-pair-share and role play. Some of these engagement triggers may not be useful in my classes (eg. Iclickers, as they are an expensive option, Gordana pointed this out) but the rest are definitely of great value in making my classes interactive in nature. I hope to be able to use these triggers effectively in my classroom soon. Just like Zulyar, I liked the idea of using color index cards to make everyone participate.

Classroom projection does increase the student attention dramatically. Whenever I have used it, I got better participation and hence, better student performance. Using experiments or demonstrations to illustrate a point is also very effective.

Using Interactive PowerPoint as an Engagement Aid:

There are perhaps no cons/disadvantages in using a PowerPoint presentation to brighten up your class. What we learned this week was how to make them interactive in nature. If the student can participate in the presentation, learning can be both effective and interesting.

The importance of using appropriate fonts, text size, proper transitions, and using animation effectively were points highlighted in the UO articles on making PPTs. Emphasis on practice and preparation before a class are points to be remembered. I liked how it was stressed that checking the lighting in the classroom before a presentation is of primary importance. Often, in large classes this fact being neglected leads to an ineffective presentation.

The videos and articles on making interactive PPTs really came in handy while I was making my first interactive PPT. I have already shared these with some of my friends who are teachers.

As usual, the sample PPTs provided by Courtney guided me well. I made my PPT for my Grade 9 students. We are currently doing a lesson on prepositions, so I planned my PPT as a follow up lesson. I have included think-pair-share, quick write, concep test, and a video to make the students participate in the presentation. I have used fun characters in my PPT to make it both entertaining and to help the shy ones connect with the PPT. Most of my students are familiar with these characters, and seeing them on the slides would surely increase participation and interest levels. I am yet to get the hang of making a jeopardy style game to include in my PPT. I hope my students enjoy the lesson as much as I did while making it.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Project Based Learning and WebQuests - Week 5, Post 3

Learning is fun!

A student-oriented learning method which brings wonderful results is Project Based Learning. Students have greater freedom and can make choices of their own. They work together in groups and collaborate to come to conclusions. 

The teacher is more of a guide here who helps the learners in finding the right resources and puts forward the process or framework within which the students work. Hence, the teacher takes a backseat here. 

Students can determine among themselves how they want to go about the project. There is scope for peer-learning and developing communication skills. As the students have to present their work at the end of the project, speaking and presentation skills are honed. The students feel more confident as they have all researched the topic and become well versed with all its finer details.

This is a win-win situation for the learner and the teacher!


Project-Based Learning using the wealth of resources available on the internet is what our students need. WebQuests are online projects created to encourage the learner to research real-world problems and come up with appropriate solutions. This activity promotes co-operation and the quality of the end product depends on how well the students have collaborated within the group. Skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and decision making are built through WebQuests.

After seeing a few WebQuests and reading the articles related to them, I visited Zunal and QuestGarden’s sites. I liked the form and structure of WebQuests at Zunal and decided to give it a try. Zunal is free and registering in it is very easy. The steps to create your own WebQuests are few and simple.

The topic that I have chosen for my WebQuest is “Best Places to Visit in Kolkata”. It is something to which my students can easily relate. I am still in the process of creating/updating my WebQuest. Here is the link to it: 

Do let me know what you all think of it?

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Friday, November 07, 2014

Rendezvous with Rubrics - Week 5, Post 2

This was the first time I created a rubric. I know, however, I am hooked!

I will definitely be using this great tool. Rubrics makes the life of a teacher easier. Once created, keeping in mind the needs of the topic in question, assessment becomes easy. Sharing the rubric with the students before the actual assessment would allow the students to prepare themselves according to the criteria given in the rubric. This helps the students perform better, I believe.

I made my rubric using Rubistar. That part was easy. I made the rubric for an oral presentation by the students related to the topic given as homework “Having a Conversation”. I made a Google docs copy of my rubric with the details of the class and students. The difficult part was loading the prepared rubric into the class wiki. I had to figure out the process to do it properly. It took me some time, but finally I did it. Yeah!

Technology solution for my class issue:

Here, I was at a loss. I have already learned about so many new tools. I wanted to apply all of them. However, as my students would be completely overwhelmed by all the technology inputs, I started thinking about what would be the best possible technology solution to my primary class issue.

Courtney’s suggestions showed me the right way. My students work well in groups and, I feel, Project Based Learning with WebQuest would be the best solution for my class issue.

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