Designing the Perfect Web-Based Instruction Lesson
The Perfect WBI Lesson will include ALL these Cognitive Considerations − more....
The process is the SAME for ANY concept to be learned − in ANY subject area! Most lesson plans supporting the learning process will have a very similar look. Some lessons will be short (one or two days), those involving "projects" will take longer (three days to a few weeks), but the basic parts of the lesson are almost always the same.
The goal is to involve students in Active Learning − which is anything other than taking notes while listening to a lecture and memorizing facts to regurgitate on a multiple choice test!
The 7 Steps of the Perfect WBI Lesson PLAN:
When using a Lesson Plan you have used before, give it a critical review. How can it be improved? Has technology changed since it was last used? This may require an update of the product. In some subjects facts may even have changed. Be sure the Lesson Plan is current!
1. The Essential Question
This is the learning "objective" − what is to be Learned/Done/Answered/Solved − as a result of the lesson and the "task" to be accomplished during the learning experience.
Make the essential question Google-Proof.
- The effectiveness of any lesson, and therefore any learning experience, depends on the QUALITY of the essential question posed to students.
- Teachers must pose a question or problem that will engage students and make them WANT to find the solution! more....
- If the essential question does not support at least ONE of your main teaching goals − don't use it!
Google, and other search engines, can find the answer to any question......well, maybe not! It's all about the level of abstraction! In other words,
Computers cannot think! But they can be programmed to respond to verbs − such as define, list, and find − at the lowest level of Bloom's scale (knowledge or remembering).
Make the essential question almost Plagiarism-Proof.
Google remembers quite well.
All one has to do to DEFEAT Google is move up the scale of abstraction to verbs − such as design, infer, and construct − at the highest level of Bloom's scale (evaluation or creating).
Even using the questioning words "Why" or "How" − instead of "Who, What, When, or Where" − makes a difference.
Google is unable to create or infer!
This is more difficult, but Bloom's taxonomy can help again. The higher the order of abstraction, the harder it is to find things on the Internet to "copy and paste".
The essential question DIRECTS the course of student learning. As such, essential questions are powerful, committing students to the process of critical thought.
Make the essential question specific to your curriculum material. Avoid assignments like, "Write a five paragraph essay about ___." Any single word, or general phrase, in the blank will make it easy to find information on the Internet that can be used − instead of the student having to give their OWN thoughts.
Ultimately, the answer to the essential question SHOULD require a student response that involves their own knowledge construction. This knowledge building occurs through the combination of pieces of information obtained during the lesson. As a result, answers to essential questions can be considered a direct measure of student understanding.
Get the students' ATTENTION and help them see their connection to the essential question. Students must see the assignment as relevant to their lives. This could be a teacher demonstration, multimedia resource, or even a small group activity.
Students remember what they think about − get them thinking about what they already know (recall) about the essential question! more....
Use ten to twenty minutes to "teach" information specific to the concept. This adds to the students' background knowledge − helping them understand the context of the essential question.
Don't rush through this teaching exercise. Take the time to use Socratic Questioning to help students answer their own questions. more....
If the concept involves skills that require "practice", this is where they are introduced and demonstrated − which will increase the time needed for this part of the lesson.
The teacher will use most of the rest of the lesson time supporting the critical thinking process.
Allow students to "discover" concept information in your class Online Curriculum. The curriculum should include ALL the information needed to successfully accomplish the assigned task. Links are provided to quality resources for additional information (if needed).
- Unless the specific intent of the lesson involves students in extensive Internet research (as in a Senior research paper), provide links in the online curriculum to the top two to five Internet resources related to the question − and don't let students waste time searching for other Web resources.
- If extensive Internet research is involved, cover evaluating Web resources − and make sure students do it. external link....
- If the concept involves skills to be "practiced", your Online Curriculum should provide that practice.
- Student skills "practice" must be supported by the teacher − during regular class time!
- If your Online Curriculum provides practice problems, it should also include problem solutions − not just problem answers!
- Now is the time for Formative Assessment! external link....
The form of the assignment product will determine exactly what occurs here. The product may be a typed and printed "paper", an essay constructed entirely in a virtual workspace like Moodle, a physical model, a mathematical proof, a multimedia presentation, or any number of other things.
Written products should be a regular part of the pedagogy in ALL core classes! more....
No matter what the product is, the following things must happen in this part of the lesson:
- Students understand the product parameters (directions) set by the teacher. Teacher expectations are best communicated to students with a self-evaluation rubric. more....
- Students organize the knowledge they have "built" through critical thinking so it can be used for the product. more....
- Students prepare a draft of the product. more....
- The draft is critically examined for weakness, with teacher support − formative assessment. external link....
- Weaknesses are improved and AT LEAST one more draft is prepared − leading to the final product.
A teacher-prepared self-evaluation rubric is given to students when the assignment is introduced. The rubric is to be completed by the student and turned in with the final product. If the student's evaluation is honest, they know their grade when the product is turned in. more....
This gives students OWNERSHIP of their grade. They are in control. They make the decisions about what they WANT their grade to be! The teacher's responsibility is to encourage students to make good decisions.
The teacher uses the student's completed self-evaluation rubric to evaluate the product and assign the formal grade − Summative Assessment.
- Return the graded product.
- Discuss strengths and weaknesses of student products.
- Ask each student to share one thing they learned about the concept.
This could be done in the Virtual Learning Environment.
- Ask students how the experience could be improved.
This could be done in the Virtual Learning Environment.
Students may show suprising insight! Even if the lesson will not be used again until next year, make the suggested changes NOW!
Example: The Perfect WBI Biology Lesson Plan