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Evaluation of an existing WebQuest CEP 810 Synopsis The WebQuest I have decided to evaluate is titled Morse CodeQuest and can be found at www.geocities.com/blasko_swrhs/index.html. It’s intended for Grade 9-12 students. It aims at giving students some insight into the different means of communication, such as non-verbal ones, namely the Morse Code. It helps students understand the need for communication, which can be achieved other than with speech. The curriculum standards addressed are not stated, but I can safely assume that they align with the integrated approach strategy which requires teachers of different subject matters to liaise and work toward ensuring that student learning is meaningful and simulates real life situations.

Pedagogical Strategies To start their quest, students log on to Wikipedia's Definition of Morse Code and Morse Code Table and Translators to learn more about the Morse Code. In Wikipedia they read a definition about it, and in the other they understand how it is decoded and then decode a couple of Morse-coded words. So far, the Deductive strategy has been used. However, in the remaining websites, students read examples of how and when the Morse Code can be useful. This calls for the Inquiry-based strategy since students research when and how the Morse Code is used and then have to adapt this information to suit their own needs, i.e. when and how they would use it. Finally, students get hands-on experience by creating a real Morse apparatus. The web quest includes all 6 points:  An eye-catching Introduction that provides a genuine need for students to build a Morse Code Buzzer. (The need to communicate on days when they aren’t allowed to talk)  A well-defined task listing what the students will be doing (building the buzzer to send and receive coded messages) and researching (pros and cons of such a means of communication).  A Process that is described step by step and that is highly engaging since students are creating a real model of the Morse apparatus.  Evaluation criteria that are well defined and cover a whole range of student ability.  A Conclusion which contains a follow-up activity that requires students to think of situations when they would use the Morse Code with a flashlight. This entails students having to analyze situations when light would be more effective than sound. Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: January 2009

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Evaluation of an existing WebQuest CEP 810  A comprehensive Teacher Page which draws attention to possible glitches and remedial actions. It also offers alternatives in case students don’t have access to the tools and equipment listed in the task list.

Morse CodeQuest and Technology The Morse CodeQuest engages students in many different ways. “Active, authentic use of information is at the core of the WebQuest philosophy WebQuests require students to use a variety of authentic reading skills and strategies including skimming, scanning, and interpreting data.” Lamb, Annette (Oct.2004: Key Words In Instruction: Webquests) That’s exactly what the Morse CodeQuest does. However, the use of technology is not 100% indispensable. Photocopied material from the net would do an equally good job. There’s nothing on any of these websites that can’t be as informative and instructive on paper. The Morse CodeQuest works all right, but that doesn’t call for the vital integration of technology for information retrieval.

Ways to Improve Morse CodeQuest Here’s how I would improve the Morse WebQuest:  First of all, instead of just showing students a Morse apparatus, I would make it into a gizmo and have them explore the apparatus rather than simply read information about it. Also, I would have them list its main parts and what each of them does.  I wouldn’t give the students the Morse conversion table. Instead, I would use the Inductive strategy: I would give them enough Morse-coded words with their equivalent in English and have them reconstruct the table. It would make the task more challenging.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: January 2009

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Evaluation of an existing WebQuest CEP 810

 To make more efficient use of the Internet, I would redirect students to sites where there are podcasts and videocasts of experts in the field of telecommunication. I would expose them to authentic material delivered by experts on many different aspects of the webquest:   

Students would watch a videocast on how to create a Morse apparatus. Students would listen to experts’ opinions on the practicality of the Morse Code. Students would watch real people in life-threatening situations where only the Morse Code would save their lives. In the Morse CodeQuest, students only read about such people. Seeing a real life situation, or even a simulation of a real life situation, would have a much bigger impact on students. In the conclusion, the author Linda Blasko asks students to use the Morse Code with a flashlight. She could have asked them to create a simple device that would convert strokes (key touches) into luminous output. That is, a touch of the A key would emit a quick flash followed by a long one, a touch of the B key would emit a long flash followed by three quick ones, and so on. I know it’s hard, but some students just love challenge.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: January 2009

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Evaluation of an existing webquest  

This documents looks into a specific WebQuest (The Morse Code) and ways of improving it.

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