Bright Ideas for Education - Tom March

November 2009

New Millennium Learners, and WebQuests 2.0

New Millennium Learners De-Brief


Earlier this year I received an email asking whether I wanted to join a panel discussing something called the New Millennium Learner. Sometimes these invites don't eventuate, but this time became one of those rare, career-informing experiences. Organised jointly by the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) and the Flemish Ministry of Education in Belgium, the New Millennium Learner Conference was fantastic.

In fact, I got a little carried away and wrote an extensive de-brief of the main presentations along with a running commentary from my decidely biased perspective. Much of what I learned confirmed understandings I have come to regarding issues in the US and Australia, but hearing them voiced in an international context - and with data-backed evidence - prompts me to post highlights from the sessions. Here is a press release for the conference that provides a good overview.

You can also listen to an interview I did with Tony and Darrel at the Ed Tech Crew:

WebQuests in a Web 2 World

WebQuests in a Web 2 World Web site

The main point of this site is that WebQuests are a process, not a Webpage or a curricular “event.” WebQuests provide a scaffold for moving from being a novice in a subject to developing some expertise.

They are not a “silver bullet”, but a “steady stream” upon which to take a learning journey. Almost 15 years of WebQuest development and minor guru status has taught me two things:

  1. Without doubt, technology will soon complete its inevitable transformation of assembly line mass production to digital mass customization, shifting the model from “one-size-fits-all” to “all-sized-to-fit-one.”
  2. I doubt that education will join in this inevitable shift until we embrace student-managed learning.

My best recommendations are to embed intrinsic motivation and a culture of inquiry and to achieve this through the WebQuest Process and CEQ-ALL.

To get started, you will need to “gear-up.” Web 2 tools seem to come and disappear daily, but here is a pdf that provides links and descriptions to those that have earned my “favored” status. They are the most powerful, dependable and well-supported of their kind.

Once you have the tools, here's an updated WebQuest Process that shows how motivation and critical thinking can flow naturally in a classroom environment. If you are involved with teaching others how to build and implement WebQuests, then you might want to use this article on Designing a WebQuest 2.0 (pdf).

Upcoming Keynotes and Presentations
Barossa Regional Office

I will be at the Barossa Regional Office in November working with Maths teachers who want to integrate ICT into rich tasks.

For those of you teaching at independent schools in Victoria, I will be working with the Association of Independent Schools again in 2010. There will be three 5-day sessions focused on integrating Web 2 tools for authgentic achievement as well as shorter workshops for Early Years teachers and IWBs. You can download a pdf of these sessions and register through the AISV.

Tom March


Please send me an email about any of the above.
It's always great to hear from you.


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