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RUNNING HEAD: Final Project -ELA Performance Task WebQuest Training

Final Project -ELA Performance Task WebQuest Training Courtney Smith EDU 623 Designing Learning Environments Dr. Steven Moskowitz

Final Project Introduction 21st century learners are coming to school with more needs than students in the past, which also requires assessments that are designed to go beyond multiple choice and includes performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate research, writing, and analytical skills

(Smarter Balanced, 2012). Schools and districts are adopting more assessment instruments such as culminating tasks and online assessments to record student performance, which is a great shift for some teachers, students, and schools. It will take much more preparation to get students ready for the higher leveled thinking tasks ahead of them. One way to do this would be to use English Language Arts (ELA) related WebQuests in the classroom. This two day grade leveled group training involves teaching K-5 teachers how to use WebQuests to incorporate inquiry and student-based learning into the classroom, as well as create an extended literacy activity. This will be done through whole and small group instruction and computer implementation. The purpose of this training is to increase student participation, prepare for state assessments, and increase higher leveled thinking. A well-thought out training includes many elements such as a schedule, objectives and a structure to make learning more cohesive. The WebQuest ELA training will incorporate hands on training, concise course outcomes, an explanation of the intended learning theories and its relation to the curriculum, and the use of assessment. All of these elements are essential to a successful professional development. Elementary teachers that participate in this course will be more knowledgeable in WebQuests, inquiry-based learning, and how to create their own WebQuest with the use of their current curriculum and grade level.

Final Project Needs & Front End Analysis

The state of Connecticut, along with several other states, have begun to use the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in their schools to universally align all states to the same academic expectations. With this implementation, many schools in CT have begun to incorporate CCSS instruction, but are still transitioning from heavily enforced test taking skills to higher leveled reasoning. Students will be faced with summative assessments at the end of their ELA units and online district assessments such as Smarter Balanced to extensively analyze student performance and student growth. District end of unit assessments and online state assessments require an in class performance task as well as more contribution of academic skills on the computer. Currently, teachers do not have any formal technology tools, or was given a very generic training in altering their instruction to fit the needs of these upcoming assessments. With assessments and computers becoming more prevalent in the elementary education setting, students will need to be prepared to analyze text, especially online resources for online assessments. The Common Core State Standards (2014) states, . In K5, the Standards follow NAEPs lead in balancing the reading of literature with the reading of informational texts, including texts in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects (p. 5). With a 50%-50% focus on literacy and informational text on 4th grade compared to a 30%-70% focus on literacy and informational text in 12th grade, students will need to spend more time engaging with various types of literature to be prepared for higher education (Common Core State Standards, 2014, p. 5). Students will be challenged and asked questions that push them to refer back to what theyve read (English Language Arts Standards, 2014). This stresses critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that are required for success in college, career, and life (English Language

Final Project Arts Standards, 2014). WebQuests can be a readily made or customizable tool to fulfill these needs. With such a shift in instruction style and student expectations, this training would allow

teachers to integrate new technologies into the curriculum because students must be proficient in the new literacies of the 21st century technologies in order to become fully literate in todays world (Leung & Unal, 2013). Technology is a growing trend in the education field, especially in an elementary school. It is seen as a format that allows instruction to be explored by enhancing instructional value for teachers and students. This training would help to close the instructional gap because WebQuests can be an important bridge between content literacy and technology literacy (Leung & Unal, 2013). Teachers are facing the problem of students with lower synthesizing skills and academic computer skills which can be detrimental while being assessed in the near future. An online article entitled Using WebQuests to Fulfill Common Core Expectations supports WebQuest use by saying, A WebQuest is a relevant tool across the curriculum, helping teachers in content-driven courses share the responsibility for students literacy development. WebQuests work hand in hand with the Common Core to increase students inquiry and critical thinking skills and develop their ability to research and use evidence (Julie, 2012). This training will help to abandon test taking skills and reinforce research skills, social learning, and multidisciplinary content. Audience & Population Analysis The audience for this training will include new and experienced K-5 elementary teachers, support staff (paraprofessionals, ESL & SPED), and specials teachers (art, music, physical education, and a media specialist). They will come into the training with little to no knowledge or implementation of what WebQuests are. Their learning and teaching styles will vary,

Final Project especially based on grade level. The need of this training will include knowledge of the current ELA grade level unit, basic computer contact, internet use, and word processing skills. The school itself is a lower-income and low Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) leveled school in an urban setting that houses more than 500 students with a high ESL and SPED population. With up to 60% of each classroom with below reading grade level students as well. The training is needed because it will help to increase comprehension skills, expose lower leveled student to rich, academic work, and expand their literature experience using technology. Learning Environment Analysis The learning environment will be held in the schools media center that utilizes a Smart Board, tables, and at least 30 internet capable computers. Training will be held here for the whole group instruction and part of the small group and computer portion. Learning will also take place in individual classrooms which also has a Smart Board. Teachers will be expected to work in groups by sharing ideas, using the current ELA curriculum, and helping reach the training goal of developing an original WebQuest. Each grade level has a computer cart that encloses up to 30 laptops that can be used individually by each teacher if needed in the

classroom. Part of the training will allow grade levels to retreat back to their classroom to design their own ELA related WebQuest. All technology tools should be internet accessible and the instructor will provide trainees with all given materials and WebQuest links. Task Analysis & Content Mastery The skills needed for this training are to define a WebQuest and understand its benefits for classroom instruction. The training will include a portion of time where teachers will collaborate as a grade level team to examine already existing WebQuests and the design elements that they could possibly use for their own. Teachers should be able to pinpoint skills,

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themes, and concepts from a current ELA fictional story to incorporate into the task of their own WebQuest. They also need to be able to technologically design a WebQuest on the computer that accommodates all of the WebQuest elements (introduction, task, process, evaluation, conclusion, credits, and teachers page). This will be done by using a Weebly website that will be instructed on how to sign up and use during the training. Training will also involve teachers creating their own rubric to evaluate the WebQuests project. Teachers will showcase their understanding of a WebQuest with the completion of their own. Situational Analysis The challenges that could arise during the training is time management of the instruction, examination of WebQuests, and creation of WebQuests. If time and instruction is not managed properly and effectively, time could be spent on portions of the training that should have been used for other areas, such as the WebQuest creation phase. Another challenge is ensuring all technology such as Smart Board and computers are working and useful at the time of the training. Another possible barrier would be to ensure that teachers are choosing tasks that evoke inquiry rather than simple comprehension questions. Not keeping track of time, faulty equipment, and teachers not creating effective tasks can make a training that does not meet the trainings goals. Media & Technology Analysis The media and technology that will be used for this training will be a Smart Board and individual computers or laptops. The Smart Board will showcase a PowerPoint presentation that will define and explain the use of a WebQuest in a classroom which will be made by the instructor. Computers or laptops will be used for teachers to explore WebQuests and allow them to design and develop their own ELA WebQuest as a grade level team. Teacher will create their

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WebQuest on the Weebly website by creating an account and be instructed on how to setup their page to resemble the WebQuest format. All technological equipment will be provided by the schools classrooms and media center. Schedule The following is a two day schedule that will be used to ensure all topics and learning experienced are implemented. Day 1 Day 2 Introduction and explanation of course outcomes & objectives (Course and Day 2) Review Day 1 topics Determine the arrangement of the course instruction and divide the group into grade leveled teams Trainers will facilitate the WebQuest creation process Conclusion and showcasing of finished products Introduction and explanation of course outcomes & objectives (Course and Day 1) Determine the learning theory related to a WebQuest and its use in the classroom Provide and explain the arrangement of learning activities Determine the use of media to complete the course activities Determine how the course will be assessed Trainer will implement course materials, instruction, and activities Conclude and evaluate course instruction and student learning Provide agenda for the next days course

Final Project Evaluation of student learning, course content, and trainer delivery Course Outcomes & Objectives The following are the course outcomes and course objectives to drive instruction: Course Outcomes 1. Teachers will increase their knowledge of the use and implementation of an ELA WebQuest in a classroom setting. 2. Teachers will be able to design and develop an ELA WebQuest using the grade level ELA curriculum in a grade level group. Course Objectives 1. Given a Smart Board presentation and handouts, elementary teachers should be able to define a WebQuest and identify its effect on instruction, student performance, and assessment through a discussion and presentation. 2. Given an internet capable computer, grade level elementary teachers should be able to collectively explore a grade leveled ELA WebQuest by completing a 20 question WebQuest Effectiveness Survey. 3. Given the course handout, elementary teachers should be able to interpret the collected survey data as a team and whole class to prepare for WebQuest building. 4. Given an internet capable computer and a website building site, grade level elementary teachers should be able to collectively develop an English Language Arts (ELA) related WebQuest by including all 7 elements of the page.

Final Project Having clear objectives that focus on the learner are important to the design phase of the ADDIE model because objectives are written at the level of the individual learner because learners are the reason of the course (Hodell, 2011, p. 58). Objectives also guarantee that the

designer will evaluate whether course participants have mastered each skill or concept for which there is instruction (Hodell, 2011, p. 58). The first three objectives in this training help the learner develop a higher understanding of a WebQuests purpose, explore completed WebQuest elements, and discuss how they relate to the current change of educational content and assessment. These are called enabling objectives because they support terminal objectives which are the final behavioral outcomes of a specific instructional event (Hodell, 2011, p. 64). The fourth objective culminates the first three objectives by the teachers using the skills and knowledge theyve learned and creating a WebQuest of their own. Objectives also connect to broader domains of cognitive (knowing or mental skills), psychomotor (manual or physical skills), or affective (growth in feelings or emotional areas) (Writing Learning Objectives, n.d.). Hodell (2011) also mentions the interpersonal domain that relates to the interaction of two or more individuals (p. 66). The first and third objectives relates to the cognitive domain due to its nature in defining a WebQuest and it relation to education. The second and fourth objective connect to the psychomotor domain because teachers are physically manipulating a computer to examine and build a WebQuest. The second, third, and fourth objective can relate to the interpersonal domain because teachers are academically interacting with each other to discuss, discover, and design a WebQuest. Learning Theory The learning theory that the WebQuest training is based on is the inquiry-based learning theory, also known as the discovery learning theory first made known by Psychologist and

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cognitive learning theorist Jerome Bruner in 1967. His views border the constructivist learning theory where learning encourages students to become active participants in the learning process by exploring concepts and answering questions through experience (Coffey, 2009). Teachers will learn to use WebQuests to get students to discover learning in an authentic way that uses realistic situations and online resources. It enhances problem-solving strategies by using activities that are hands-on, encourage participation, and emphasize critical thinking rather than the transfer of knowledge (Coffey, 2009). Before creating a WebQuest, teachers will observe the features of a WebQuest through discussion and exploration. Inquiry-based learning motivates the learners to learn independently, while the trainers acts as a facilitator. Another important aspect of inquiry-based learning is the idea of process vs. product. WebQuests give learners the motivation to acquire new knowledge, a perspective for incorporating new knowledge into their existing knowledge, and an opportunity to apply their knowledge (Leung & Unal, 2013, p. 32). Tuan (2011) states that learners have to activate the mental processing which results in understanding and the creation of meaning from their own experiences (p. 666). Students and trainees can take what they already know and what theyve learned to create a new learning experience through their interactions with the online activities. It is through their experiences to reach the final task that allows them to obtain a deeper understanding of the content. Lastly, the inquiry-based learning theory changes the focus from the teacher to the student. Student-centered instruction promotes Vygotskys social learning theory as trainees and students increase their interpersonal skills as they work in small groups. Project-based learning, which is a student-centered educational approach created by Kilpatrick in 1918, can be seen in this training as students work in teams to explore real-world problems and create presentations

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to share what theyve learned (Tuan, 2011, p. 666). Teachers in this training will gain a greater understanding of the benefits of a WebQuest in their instruction by collaborating with their grade level partners. Groups will also get an opportunity to explore completed WebQuests to pinpoint effective design elements. Through discourse and group work, trainees can develop their learning as a team by moving beyond surface learning, learn beyond short-term memory, and implant important information rather than just test-taking skills (Tuan, 2011, p. 667). The incorporation of these theories brings out the true motives of the training by allowing the trainees to be active learners in order to realize how WebQuests enhances teacher instruction and student engagement. Lesson Structure To begin defining a WebQuest and its use in the classroom, the presentation will be held in the schools media center where all of the elementary teachers, support staff, and special teachers will be instructed by a trainer in front of a Smart Board as a whole group. The trainer will provide information about a WebQuests origin, its relation to the learning theories, and the 7 components its takes to make a WebQuest. During this time, teachers will sit with their grade level to take notes and ask any concerning questions. This was decided to ensure all teachers obtain the rationale of the trainings purpose. It also promotes social learning by provoking discussion and connections to teaching and learning. Next, teachers will work in their grade leveled groups to actively examine a completed WebQuest. As teachers analyze a grade appropriate ELA WebQuest, they will complete a 20 question WebQuest Effectiveness survey. The survey will entail questions that will get teachers thinking about their own WebQuest design. For example, What aspects of the introduction was inviting, was the procedure page clear and student-friendly, and did the task page include a

Final Project culminating task that is appropriate for your learners? By doing this, teachers can include


features that will entice young learners through visuals, teamwork, and a task that relates to their skills and lives. Teachers will discuss the results to categorize effective and detrimental WebQuest design elements to include or avoid for later use. The trainer will then instruct teachers on how to successfully set up the WebQuest building site by using the Smart Board while teachers are on individual computers. Lastly, teachers will use the information gathered from the survey to collaboratively design a grade leveled ELA WebQuest as a grade leveled team. Teachers will retreat to their classrooms to develop the WebQuest. Teachers will engage with each other through research, discussion, and WebQuest building. By being able to build a WebQuest, teachers will demonstrate the knowledge theyve acquired in the training. Teachers will come back as a whole group to present their WebQuests to the trainees, conclude the course, and evaluate the training. Reviewing as a whole group will give other grades an opportunity to view above and lower grade leveled WebQuests. Assessment This training includes several assessment types to evaluate the level of learning from the trainees. Trainers will assess understanding through oral discussion and a question and answer session during the Smart Board presentation. The WebQuest Effectiveness survey will be discussed as a whole group while the trainer writes down good and bad points on poster paper. Trainees will get to hear the perspective from various grade levels that may help with the design for their diverse learners. The making of the WebQuest demonstrates how performance tasks support designing instruction and assessments that integrate multiple standards so that tasks do not become overly limited and decontextualized (Lanning, 2013, p. 91). When teachers

Final Project physically participate by building a WebQuest, they can include various subject areas and Common Core standards. Media Specifications


This training involves the use of a visual presentation that includes a Smart Board. The slideshow will be used on Power Point using visuals and text to explain WebQuests. Computers and/or laptops will be used to view and construct WebQuests using a WebQuest building site such as Weebly. Leung & Unal (2013) reports that webquests scaffold students experiences negotiating various websites as they develop a problem-solving mindset to Internet research (p. 32). By using the computer to develop a WebQuest, teachers can prepare their students to the new demands of the ELA curriculum which includes online research, performance tasks, and scaffolded learning. Implementation The two-day WebQuest Training will be administered in the middle of the first marking period of the school year to allow Kindergarten- 5th grade teachers time to become acquainted with the ELA curriculum beforehand. The training will take place in the schools media center. The person delivering the training would be a teacher that has experience using and building WebQuests. Another teacher should be trained to have another experienced person on site in the building for help and questions. The experienced teacher will train the second teacher at least two weeks before the WebQuest training takes pace. This training will be done in a classroom setting with the appropriate technology tools. It will be done through discussion of its importance, modeling and collaborating to create a webquest using the same WebQuest building site. The additional trainer should be able to create a WebQuest independently and readily discuss its elements before actual live training begins. The learners environment should be

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inviting to new learners with folders with reading materials, pencils, and notepads. Teachers will sit with their grade level partners at round tables to keep conversations going. The media center will include individual internet capable computers for teachers to use as well as an internet capable smart board for the Power Point presentation. A chart paper called the parking lot will be posted for additional questions that can be answered at a later time. The environment will be friendly, yet structured, and collaborative to ensure all learners feel comfortable with the material and its implementation. Evaluation The first two levels of Kirkpatricks level of evaluation allow the instructor to get an initial sense of the students experience of the WebQuest training. The first level focuses on the training as a whole experience by understanding the students reaction. According to Hodell (2011), the aim of each of these level one evaluations is to discover learners reactions to the process. More than anything, level one evaluations provide instant quality control data (p. 104). The level one evaluation I will use is a written feedback survey given immediately after the training that will include specific questions pertaining to the students feelings about the quality of the training. Questions will include: What did you like best about the training? What could have been improved? Would you recommend this training to another educator? Why or why not?

This would give me direct information based on the structure of the training which can be easily rearranged to have a higher satisfaction rate and possibly more engagement.

Final Project Kirkpatricks second level of evaluation assesses the students initial level of learning.


This level focuses on how well the student was able to absorb information from the training. For instructional designers, evaluations at the learning level are tied directly to objectives (Hodell, 2011, p. 105). This training will include level 2 evaluation by asking additional open ended questions on the feedback survey that provide this type of information. Questions will include: Why/How would you use a WebQuest in your classroom? How does it help a student with new assessments and curriculum changes? How is creating a WebQuest beneficial for instruction?

Certain questions will include a scale to answer. How prepared are you to build your own WebQuest? (1-not prepared to 5-very prepared) How prepared are you to utilize WebQuests in your classroom? (1-not prepared to 5-very prepared) How likely are you to use WebQuests in your instruction? (1-not likely to 5-very likely). Do you need additional training for WebQuest instructional use? (1-strongly disagree to 5-strongly agree). These questions differ from the level one questions because this allows the student to reflect on the main purposes (objectives) of the training which is to heighten instructional methods to prepare for the higher demands of the upcoming assessments and curriculum and collaboratively create a grade leveled WebQuest. The scaled questions give the instructor an idea of their learning experiences and their future use of the skills theyve learned from the training. After the training is complete and Level one and two evaluations have been recorded and analyzed, the instructor will follow up after about a month with a teacher self-assessment. This

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self-assessment can be considered level three of Kirkpatricks evaluation system. It will provide teachers an outlet of their current use of WebQuests and their impact on their teaching and student learning. Teachers will answer an online survey with scaled and open ended questions to provide the instructor with information, such as: How often do you use WebQuests? How many times have you used a WebQuest since the training? How many WebQuests have you built since the training? How many WebQuests have you used from online since the training? Has your instruction changed since the WebQuest training? How? What additional retraining do you need to improve your usage of WebQuests?

The instructor can then gather information on how well the training impacted teaching and learning. Retraining information can be compiled (more technology/website training, ELA incorporation needed, differentiation, etc.) in order to get more teachers using WebQuests effectively. The second trained teacher can act as a facilitator to handle simple instructional questions/situations or provide additional retraining to specific teachers with specific problems. Once the school has reached a certain satisfaction and usage percentage that could be calculated by surveys and additional training over time, the instructor can encourage and promote WebQuest use by creating a school WebQuest collection site for all teachers to use teacher created WebQuests.

Final Project References Coffey, H. (2009). Discovery learning. Retrieved from:


Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects. (2014). Retrieved from: English Language Arts Standards. (2014). Retrieved from: Hodell, C. (2011). Isd from the ground up: A no-nonsense approach to instructional design (3rd ed.). United States of America: American Society for Training & Development. Julie. Using webQuests to fulfill common core expectations. (2012). Critical Thinking Works. Retrieved from: Lanning, L. (2013) Designing a concept-based curriculum for English language arts. Sage Publications. Leung, C., & Unal, Z. (2013). Advantages and disadvantages of classroom instruction with webquests: connecting literacy and technology. Journal of Reading Education, 38(2), 3138. Smarter balanced assessment consortium. (2012). Retrieved from: Tuan, L. (2011). Teaching reading through webquests. Journal of Language Teaching & Research, 2(3), 664-673. doi:10.4304/jltr.2.3.664-673 Writing learning objectives: beginning with the end in mind. (n.d.) Retrieved from: