This artifact serves as the home page for my Final Project in my TE 887 – Developing Web-Based Educational Environments course. Throughout the semester, we were asked to design and create several web-based instructional instruments that were based around a specific subject or discipline. Based on my role as a Technology Instructional Coach in my school district, I decided to focus on the Google Apps for Education universe, as this is a subject that I am designing much professional development for with my own staff. The majority of this content directly relates to the services that I am providing professionally, and have provided excellent resources for training others.
This assignment served as a formal introduction to the WebQuest format developed by Bernie Dodge at San Diego State University. A WebQuest is a research-based instructional tool that allows the user to explore and research a given topic, while at the same time providing guidance and an overall objective. This WebQuest is designed to target current staff in my district in helping them to organize and assimilate the instruction they are receiving as part of the district professional development plan. It was created using a Google Site template.
As I have learned very quickly, web design is not an easy thing. It is an art that requires time, patience, and (depending on the platform) a certain level of knowledge regarding some degree of computer coding skills. Once again, however, Google has found away to simplify a tricky process. Google Sites provide an extremely useful tool for the 21st century educator to have at their disposal. They allow for simple website creation to be used with class projects and websites, WebQuests, and just about every other scholarly purpose you can think of. This assignment gave us the opportunity to explore the ins and outs of Google Sites, while at the same time establishing content to be used within our own classrooms and schools. This site is a variation of a work in progress that I have been working on with a colleague of mine this year.
Along the same lines of a WebQuest, a TrackStar is method of delivering purposeful, online-based instruction. Through a TrackStar, teachers are able to guide their students through a series of predetermined sites, adding additional annotations and directions that appear to the students as they progress through the ‘track’. TrackStars are an excellent tool designed to build support and structure as students are guided along a web-based activity. For my first TrackStar, I decided to focus on a general, overview tutorial covering Google Apps for Education. This is by no means a holistic approach to learning and understanding Google Apps, but a good entry point in what happens to be quite a vast and extensive topic.
For our last assignment, we were given the option of creating an additional web-based instructional tool of our choosing from the resources that we had learned about the past semester. Based on the fact that TrackStars were a new idea to me, I decided to go with that to learn all I could about this new tool. This time I focused on a training module based on Khan Academy. We are using Khan Academy as a method for math intervention and enrichment in our elementary technology labs, and I had previously established a Google Site used to guide teachers through this new instructional resource. I was able to take it one step further with TrackStar and now I have combined these two resources to provide a guided and supportive instructional environment.