Friday, November 24, 2006

Design of webquest lesson

Webquest ... … is it another one of those ICT assignments that we submitted for our ICT module? Well in a way, I would think they are similar especially for a non-IT savvy person like me.

The reading up of the topic of Rivers as well as coming up with the tasks that the students have to do is rather fun. I just realized that I have a sudden liking for physical geo topics now since most of my assignments re on physical geo topics. I didn’t use to like physical geo at all when I was in sec school.

We decided to do a case study on the Nile River and reading up on the Nile River was interesting. I learnt that the Nile is the world’s longest river. So basically the scenario was for the students to cruise down the Nile River and discover sights along the way. I then came chanced upon this video called the “Mystery of the Nile” and saw the trailer. The movie sure looked interesting but too bad I was not able to find the whole movie online. Think I’ll go check out the DVD shop when I’m done with all my assignments. Coming up the scenario and the whole flow of the webquest was relatively easy. The biggest hurdle of all was the doing up of the webquest. Due to unfamiliarity with the whole webquest thing, it took us a while before we got it done. Now tat it is done, it sure feels great as well as a sense of relief that it’s done.

Well, I feel that doing a webquest gave me the opportunity to learn some IT skills like how to host a website etc but seeing how time consuming it is, I foresee that I won’t be designing another one in future. If given a choice, I would rather do another fieldwork package. To me, I feel that going for a field trip is lots more fun and hands-on as compared to doing a webquest. It also allows for the opportunity to go out into the field instead of being an arm-chair geographer.

View webquest at the following link:

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Design of field-based lesson

One of the reasons why I like geo so much is because there are fieldtrips to go for. Always am real excited when there are fieldtrips. I always feel that it makes a great deal of difference when you go to the places on your own and when a teacher brings you for one. It is not only more fun to go with the whole class but also more educational as the teacher will point out interesting things that you will not have thought about or knew about. I really enjoyed all the fieldtrips that Mr Yee has taken us on. The very first one to Bt Timah Nature Reserve then the next few to Pasir Ris Park and Labrador Park were so insightful and I really benefited from them. It inspired me to want to be conceptually sound so that I can also impart my geo knowledge to my students in future. Thus I was looking forward to the designing of a fieldwork package as it meant the chance to go and recee out a location and plan some interesting activities.

At first we were all planning to do a fieldwork package out of Singapore. Some of the locations that we had in mind were Sarawak, Kota Tinggi, Desaru etc. However, due to many constraints, the idea was dropped and we settled for a local-based one. We decided to do a fieldwork package by coast and our two fieldwork sites were East Coast Park and Labrador Park.

We did some background research on the possible activities that we can carry out at both locations. Possible activities that can be carried out included wave studies, sediment studies as well as beach profile. I learnt many things when doing the research like how to go about calculating the wave length and wav energy mathematically. These cannot be found in the school textbooks and I’m sure students will benefit by going on a fieldtrip. It was also suggested that we can use an orange to determine the direction of the longshore drift. How interesting!

When we did our recee, we went down to see whether the activities that we have suggested can be carried out. Most of our activities worked and that was a relief. The only one that didn’t turn out so well was the use of the orange to determine the direction of the longshore drift. The results were not very obvious and hence we decided to modify the activity. Instead of using an orange, we decided to use pebbles that are found along the beach. This produced better results as compared to the orange. We were also aware that coast is a a physical geo topic and we did not want the fieldwork package to be skewed too much to the physical geo aspect. Hence we included a section on human activities at the beach. This was done so that students can also try their hands at doing surveys and realize that the physical cannot be detached from the human as a physical feature like the coast can be degraded as a result of human interventions.

The writing up of the report and the coming up with comprehensive worksheet was another major part of the package. Lots of administrative issues like transportation and how the activities should spread out throughout the day had to be considered. The class had to also be divided into groups of equal sizes and there are to be sufficient activities for them to do. The level of difficulty at each station should also be about the same and take up the same amount of time so that movement between stations can be facilitated.

The pre and post fieldtrip lesson will also have to be tailored with much thought. The pre fieldtrip should be designed in such a way that students are equipped with the content knowledge so that they will know what to do at the site. The teacher will also have to brief them about the activities and details of when and where the field trip will take place needs to be conveyed to the students; on the other hand, the post fieldtrip is also essential as it serves as a consolidation phrase to whatever has been done at the site. Results collected from the field will have to be consolidated in class and discussed and correlations can be drawn which will reflect students’ ability to make connections.

To sum up, the fieldwork package has allowed me to be aware of all the administrative issues that the teacher has to plan and think through before carrying out a field trip in the pre-fieldtrip phrase, facilitate the activities at the field site itself as well as wrapping up the whole field trip effectively so that students will have knowledge that they can bring home with them.