About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5131-5140
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

CHALLENGING THE DIGITAL NATIVES WITH WEB QUESTS IN TEACHING AREA AND CULTURE STUDIES

M. Ilyakhov

Lomonosov Moscow State University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
Digital natives hold a considerable advantage against traditional educators. With information competence formed as early as high school, these audiences are good at shortcutting the traditional learning curve, leaving a massive learning potential untapped. We believe this potential can be used at an advantage to the student expertise without radical shifts in the curriculum.

The paper describes an experiment held at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Area Studies (Russia), aimed at maximizing the use of student potential in the course of Area Studies, USA. The aim of the experiment is to test whether a series of web quests could be used to develop broad cross-disciplinary expertise in geography, cultures, economics and politics. Experiment subjects were 23 students, aged 17–20, majoring in foreign languages and area studies (2nd year of the 4-year Bachelorate). The course was based on a textbook-and-lecture seminar course.

Four weeks into the course, a checkpoint test was held to test minimal knowledge as offered by the curriculum. The test required the knowledge of facts and names. With the digital tools secretly at hand, the students passed the test with an average score of 80.2 %, the lowest and highest scores being 70 and 94 %% respectively. The result proved that the traditional fact-based tasks were insufficiently challenging to the students.

Post-quiz performance revealed that the students remained oblivious of the facts and figures that they produced earlier. This proved that the traditional fact-based quiz set a simple and unchallenging task, bypassing memory or understanding. We realized that a different kind of task was required to develop wider and more sustainable expertise.

We designed the second quiz to be taken with the help of the Internet, essentially creating a web quest, requiring a thorough analysis of the material. The tasks of the web quests included an analysis of the US electoral situation ahead of the 2012 presidential elections, a research into the events surrounding the 9/11 attacks in New York City and many more. We designed the tasks so that no direct Google search gave a simple answer to the question and required further research across several sources. Formal requirements restricted students to base their answers on at least 2 resources.

The results were diverse. With no upper limit to the score, and bonuses added for outstanding research efforts, 8 out of 17 students went the extra mile to accumulate more sources and opinions than required by the task description. The highest score was 150 % for a completely original and thorough research work. The remaining 9 students treated the task formally and delivered to the minimal requirements, scoring between 75 and 100 %%.

The follow-up class performance revealed that the test left the students with a clear understanding of tested issues, a wide knowledge base and expertise beyond minimal requirements. The downside of the approach was that the students were still underperforming in terms of recalling of key facts and figures. Their expertise was based on understanding of concepts and processes and their ability to retrieve information.

At the current stage of the experiment we are designing an integrated web quest that will require both the profound expertise and understanding of ideas, concepts and trends, and knowledge of facts, dates and names. The results will be available by late December, 2011.
@InProceedings{ILYAKHOV2012CHA,
author = {Ilyakhov, M.},
title = {CHALLENGING THE DIGITAL NATIVES WITH WEB QUESTS IN TEACHING AREA AND CULTURE STUDIES},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {5131-5140}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Ilyakhov
TI - CHALLENGING THE DIGITAL NATIVES WITH WEB QUESTS IN TEACHING AREA AND CULTURE STUDIES
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 5131
EP - 5140
ER -
M. Ilyakhov (2012) CHALLENGING THE DIGITAL NATIVES WITH WEB QUESTS IN TEACHING AREA AND CULTURE STUDIES, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 5131-5140.
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