The two main web-based resources I tend to like to use are Phet Interactive Simulations and Science Fair Central. Phet Interactive Simulations presents students with an opportunity to have a fun experience with a range of different interactive science simulations. Science Fair Central is a web-based resource from Discovery Education that offers interactives, presentations, projects and experiment ideas. These resources can be freely integrated into a classroom.
The main ideas that have to be considered are the curriculum related purpose of the activity, whether the internet enhances the learning activity, how will the students use online resources, whether they have the skills to effectively use online resources to complete the activity and whether teachers have the time and support to integrate such resources (Coulter, Feldman & Konold, 2000). When planning lessons, most teachers would have thought about the learning activities which they want students to experience and how it relates to the curriculum and the purpose of it. When considering a web based resource, we need to be remind that the objective of the activity should be for students to do sometime with what they locate on the internet. Once they locate information, students should be asked to complete a task to ensure their depth of understanding. Students also need to have the skills to complete such tasks or teachers can provide guidance through instructions. Another important thought is whether teachers have the time to implement and plan such activities and whether there is support from staff and students for these activities. Finally, the inclusion of internet has to enhance the learning activity.
Web-based learning encourages students to learn outside the classroom. Such resources offers students an opportunity to use technology as a means of collaboration, therefore they can address problems or issues and communicate with others about it (Roblyer & Doering, 2014). According to Ak (2011), an approach of teaching and learning that requires students to apply higher-order thinking is what problem-based learning (PBL) is. PBL is an authentic way of learning. It offers students real-life experiences by using real-life scenarios to stimulate students’ prior knowledge and to provide meaningful context which is extremely important in the subject of science which involves understanding concepts and processes (Casla & Zubiaga, 2010). PBL is a problem in itself, therefore it defines learning (Pepper, 2009). The ideas that needed to be considered when integrating a web based resource support different skills. The three main problem solving skills that I like and are supported by the two resources above are collaborative problem solving, parallel and simulated activities (Roblyer & Doering, 2014). Collaborative problem solving usually involves group work in response to scenarios and students have to solve or complete a project together. Parallel problem solving is a strategy used for students to complete similar problems but in different locations ranging from different classrooms to different countries. This encourages students to solve problems independently yet they can compare methods and results or build databases during the activity (Roblyer & Doering, 2014). Finally, simulated activities allows students to put their knowledge to use with a visual and audio aid and consolidate it.
Casla, A., & Zubiaga, I. (2010). Paternity testing in a PBL environment. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 38(1), 37-42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bmb.20367
Coulter, B., Feldman, A., & Konold, C. (2000). Rethinking online adventures. Learning and Leading With Technology, 28(1), 42-47
Pepper, C. (2009). Problem based learning in science. Issues In Educational Research, 19(2), 60-72.
Robyler, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (pp. 260-285). Harlow: Pearson.