Video transcript – Kindergarten WebQuest at Bega Valley Public School

Beverley Keltie:
So the activities for this web quest came from Primary Connections “What's the Weather” and rather than just putting the activities onto, into a website, we wanted to create a whole narrative around this unit of work. So the narrative for this was based around a character called Larry, who's from planet Zooland. Now for this to be really engaging for the children, we had to make it so that the children were really keen to let this character, this alien, know all about the weather here on earth. So at the very start Larry introduced himself, and told the children that he was coming here for a holiday and he wasn't sure what to pack because he wasn't sure what the weather was going to be like. So the children knew that their part in this whole activity was to find out about the weather at the different times of the year and then report back to Larry and let him know what he should pack and what he should bring with him and what he can expect when he's here. I believe that technology is very important for children, for as young as early Stage One. So if the children are around five, six years old. The only difference with working with technology with children so young is the support and scaffolding provided by the teacher and the aide. So with these children, it was really important that their experience of working on the web quest at such a young age was a positive one, and one that develops a lot of those skills that they will take then into Year One with them. The narrative surrounding the web quest was a very engaging one for children of that age. They were completely absorbed in the fact that they had to provide the alien, Larry, with information about the weather for his trip to planet Earth. So they were extremely excited about the whole prospect of following these steps and building their knowledge, and then being able to report back to Larry through the class blog. As the children embarked on this journey, they knew that the purpose of this was to collect information. So for the children, they knew that at the end their job was to film themselves telling Larry about planet Earth. The weather, what he should pack, when he should come, and what he can expect to see and feel when he's down here.

Student 1:
We are sending Larry a message.

Student 2:
To the alien from planet Zooland about the weather so he knows what to pack.

Beverley Keltie:
So the site is broken up into seven short steps that the children had to follow with their group. They worked at their own pace, and the teacher acted more as a facilitator moving around the classroom and helping children at the different stages they were at. The teacher was there to guide the children as and when needed, but not to take over and give them all the information, but to take that step back and let the children explore the possibilities and try and problem-solve some of the things that occurred along the way by themselves or in their group, rather than a teacher stepping in to provide all the answers. One of the other important things that the students learned through using the blog was the protocols associated with using a blog online. So a lot of them had heard of a blog, or some of them had heard of a blog, and I thought many of them didn't realise the fact that their information would stay up on the internet. So we talked about blog etiquette, we talked about protocols and things that they should think about when they're writing and things they should think about when they're sending information online. So they took this quite seriously, even at their young age. They were able to sit down and formulate their sentence, and think about what they wanted to say. By acting as a facilitator rather than leading this lesson, I was able to observe each group and how they were organising themselves. It soon became apparent as the weeks went on that children were organising themselves just naturally into who would be doing the typing, who would be doing the talking, who would be collecting, and just the leader of the group emerged, and who would be organising the other children, and kind of guiding them through the process. So that was also very interesting. What did you like about working with the web quest online?

Student 3:
I liked that Larry was blue and blue's my favourite colour.

Student 4:
I like watching the movies.

Student 5:
The funny things that Larry said.

Student 6:
I liked working in groups.

Student 7:
I liked when we typed stuff to Larry.

Student 8:
Liked the movies because they taught me about the weather.

Student 9:
I liked working on the web quest, watching all the steps and completing them and I liked watching all the videos.

Beverley Keltie:
So I guess the whole purpose of this web quest, apart from making it exciting fun for the children, was to develop their skills in IT, but also to develop their 21st century learning skills. At least set them on the right path as they go into Year One and move through the school. So for those children that embarked on this activity, they were able to develop those skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication, working cooperatively together. Being able to listen to their partners and take turns, being able to assist and help, and solve the problems that cropped up along the way.

End of transcript

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