Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not Quite a Webquest: Web Bundles

True "Webquests" follow a very specific format originally developed by Bernie Dodge.  I always felt that this format was too constricting, not to mention time consuming.   The basic premise behind the Webquest is to give students a structured lesson online (where the media is). 

Enter the Bundle.  The concept here is to quickly "bundle together" several websites in a logical format to create an online assignment or research vessel.  The difference here is the emphasis on speed and efficiency of creation. 

The wonderful world of Web 2.0 tools is going to be our partner in this endeavor.  Literally dozens of sites enable the user to "bundle" multiple sites into one tidy package.  I have mentioned Livebinders before, but sites like Fur.ly, symbaloo, and jobtheweb all can be used in a similar fashion.  Please note that it is the streamline concept of creation and publishing we are going for here today, and not a specific tool.

HERE is a small assignment that I have bundled together for a colleague of mine that teaches 6th grade science. We will use it as our bundle example. I have used three web 2.0 tools to create the lesson and will explain the process in detail below.


(Update 3-20-12 - The inability to edit a stich after publishing has been a drawback for some.  If this is a sticking point for you, may I suggest you try http://www.bundlenut.com/ instead.  The activity will look different, but the concept is still the same.)

Here is a ecology activity made my an amazing 6th grade teacher in my district.  She used bundlenut as the delivery device. 




A. The backbone of this assignment (which bundles the six pages of the activity together), is Stich.it. You paste a list of websites into a simple form on the website and it bundles them together.  You can add directions at the top of each page, which I find particularly useful when creating an assignment.  This tool is free and does not require a sign in.

Stich.it does have a few drawbacks.

1. PDF files do not display in the Stich and must be accessed using an outside link. I feel this takes away from the flow of the assignment, so to solve this issue I used another web 2.0 tool, Embed.it to change the pdf into a flash format.  It is WAY easier than it sounds.  The site did all the work and it took literally seconds.  Embed.it is also free.  

2. You can not edit the Stich once it is published.  They claim to be addressing this issue in a future update, but until then I found it useful to compile my links and descriptions in a Word document and then paste them in the Stich when it became time to publish.















B. The directions page is written with a very useful website, justpaste.it.  No sign in required.  This tool allows the user to basically create a static website using a WYSIWYG editor.  Html editing is also available.





















C. Finally, I used a Google form to craft the assessment activity on page six.

One last suggestion for creating Web Bundles.  I strongly suggest you use a modern tabbed brower like Google Chrome. You will be doing a large amount of copying and pasting from one resource to the other.  Additionally, at one point in this process I had over ten tabs opened and Chrome handled the workload without a hitch.




Happy Bundling...

1 comment:

Beth said...

Looking forward to using this lesson to teach the kids about Energy! Thanks Jason!!
Beth

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