UTILIZING WEBQUEST AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING IN TEACHER PREPARATION: A SINGAPORE STUDY
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (SINGAPORE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This research study aims to use WebQuest to promote higher order thinking and Information and Communication technology (ICT) integration in teacher preparation in Singapore. Developed by Dodge (1995), WebQuest is an inquiry-based teaching tool, in which students of all ages and levels participate in an authentic task that uses pre-designed, pre-defined internet resources, though other print resources can also be used. Research has documented that WebQuest has effectiveness in promoting student engagement, motivation, connecting to authentic contexts, critical thinking, higher order thinking, literacy skills, and Information and Communication technology (ICT) integration (Abbitt & Ophus, 2008; Ikpeze & Boyd, 2007; Kanuka, Rourke, & Laflamme, 2007; Reparaz, 2005). WebQuest was chosen as the focus of this research project due to its relevance to Universal Design for Learning, a crucial curricular content and objective in inclusive education (or inclusion) for early childhood teachers and special education teachers, as well as the needs and merits in the unique Singapore context.
Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) has launched important initiatives to anticipate the needs of the future and to prepare our young generation to meet those needs. Examples of these initiatives include: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) mater plans, the FutureSchools@Singapore programme, Thinking Schools Learning Nation (TSLN), and Students’ Effective Engagement and Development (SEED). These initiatives prompted teachers to move away from the traditional teacher-directed paper-pencil teaching methods. Rather, inquiry-based learning, higher order thinking, hands-on learning are set as the future direction of education and strongly encouraged. In spite of Ministry of Education’s efforts in promoting higher order thinking and inquiry-based learning, Singapore has not met the goal of transiting into an inquiry-based learning country (Tan & Ng, 2005). Several studies suggested that teachers faced the dilemma of preparing children to perform well on traditional paper-pencil examinations, plus meeting the demands of MOE initiatives in promoting higher order thinking, problem-solving, and hands-on learning (Dixon et al., 2008; Wright & Gan, 2006). In Singapore context, many local teachers still haven’t heard of WebQuest and learned about using WebQuest in their teaching. Further, few research studies have focused on establishing WebQuest as an evidence-based practice in enhancing teaching and learning.
This research study aims to investigate the effect of WebQuest training in teacher preparation in promoting ICT integration in education and exposing teachers to WebQuest, a teaching tool for Universal Design for Learning. Collaborative learning approach will be integrated with WebQuest training in this study. The following research questions were posed: (1) Does the use of WebQuest in collaborative groups enhance teacher’s higher order thinking, engagement, and collaborative learning skills? (2) Does the use of WebQuest in teacher preparation foster stronger beliefs and desires to integrate ICT in their classrooms at K-12 levels? The research instruments include pre and post questionnaires as well as teachers' reflective journals. In this presentation, the research findings will be shared and recommendations for future research will be discussed.
Keywords: webquest, research projects, teacher preparation.