Date: Jan. 31, 2012
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, firstname.lastname@example.org
PNC Students Develop WebQuests for Elementary Students
Westville – Purdue University North Central Elementary Education students who were enrolled in the fall semester online section of the course, “Integrating Technology into the Classroom” have created a variety of inquiry-based web resources for use by the teachers and students of Lake Hills STEM Magnet Elementary School in Michigan City.
During the fall 2011 semester, Erin White, PNC coordinator of Learning and Technology and continuing lecturer in Education, who taught the “Integrating Technology into the Classroom” online course, initiated the WebQuests project. It was decided that the class would create WebQuests to highlight the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines in response to the statewide emphasis placed on the STEM curriculum in the elementary grades.
Subsequently White and Shelley Deutscher, Lake Hills STEM coordinator, agreed to have the technologically-savvy PNC students apply their newly acquired skills to produce 18 different Indiana Standards-based WebQuests.
Creating the WebQuests as part of their classwork helped the PNC students develop professional skills that they will use as educators, while at the same time their work benefitted the Lake Hills teachers and students.
"It is always great when students can give back to the community and see how their newly-acquired skill set can make a positive and powerful impact on the world around them," said White.
Students in the “Integrating Technology into the Classroom” online course collaborated with the Lake Hills teachers who provided a list of STEM topics that they believed were most in need of educational resources for their students second through fifth grades.
The PNC students then got to work to address those classroom needs. The WebQuest resources they developed are inquiry-oriented activities in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners' time to focus on using information rather than simply searching for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
To make the new resources easily accessible, they have been linked into Lake Hills School website. A brief video "commercial" that celebrated the culmination of the semester-long efforts was shared with the teachers.
PNC and Lake Hills plan to continue this successful new project again this spring semester.
PNC Elementary Education major Stephanie Sierzputowski, from North Judson, was one of the students taking part in the project.
“The WebQuest project is a great way for future teachers to better understand how to create lesson plans and to better understand the state standards that they will one day have to meet,” explained Sierzputowski.
“The lesson plan that I used for my WebQuest, I created on my own and put together all of the pieces to make it interesting and interactive for the students using it.”
She looks forward to using WebQuests when she becomes a teacher, and noted, “I think that service learning experiences will help us as students better perform when we reach our professional careers.”