Creating the Student Pages
- Complete the "Getting Started on Your Project" Lesson.
- Your facilitator has approved your project idea.
- Your facilitator has approved your scenario and/or your presentation page.
- To review sample student task pages
- To write a list of project goals and objectives
- To write a draft of a student task scenario
Now that you have narrowed your project ideas down and have received approval from your facilitator, you are ready to begin writing.
Keep in mind that the word task refers to an authentic problem or issue that is challenging, open-ended and multifaceted. These problems are rich and meaty, giving the students many options for pursuing the problem or issue.
The student task scenario (this is different than the project scenario) is an extremely important piece of the project you design. The student task is the student's introduction to the project. It establishes the parameters that students work within to accomplish the project. In some cases it asks students to assume a part in a role play. In other projects the student task scenario sets forth the big question or problem and gives students guidelines on how the problem needs to be solved. In problem-based learning this problem is often referred to as the ill-structured problem. An ill-structured problem is loosely structured and students may select a variety of ways to approach and solve it. There is not one solution.
The student task scenario page is the starting point for students. This is the first page the students see when they begin the unit of study or project. Although the student task scenario might be one of the first student pages you create, it is not the first thing you do. The first thing you need to do is to write your goals and objectives. Remember that your project is linked to your existing school curriculum.
What should the Web pages for students be like? How can you create Web pages so your students have the support they need to work on the project?
Think about your past experience and take a look at the student page project examples below.
- How do these pages provide a framework and guidance for students to explore the issues, develop skills, and make choices about how the task/problem will be solved without dictating a step-by-step solution/process for the students?
- What sections (categories) do these examples have?
- How are the pages organized and navigated?
- What did you like and dislike about these student pages?
Next, think about the student pages for your project.
- How will your student pages provide a framework and guidance for students to explore the issues, develop skills, and make choices about how the task/problem will be solved without dictating a step-by-step solution/process for the students?
- What sections do you want your pages to have?
- How do you want your site to be organized and navigated?
Example Project Student Pages:
- Simply Prairie (middle school science)
- Air Pollution: A Local and Global Problem (high school science)
- Wildlife Trade: Buyer Beware! (high school science)
- Smallville Prairie (middle school interdisciplinary)
- Living in a Risky World (elementary interdisciplinary)
Now that you have read these student pages, you are probably really anxious to get started writing your own. Don't feel confined to any particular format, but be sure that the task is authentic and that it is student-centered. Also make sure you have your facilitators' approval on your project proposal before you begin creating student Web pages.
Before You Write: Make a list of your goals and objectives for the project/unit. Decide if you will work using a word processor (and then paste into an HTML editor) or if you will draft in an HTML editor. It is your choice, but use plain text at this time. Put your energy and focus into the scenario.
As You Write: Remember the student's role is to investigate the task, problem solve, reflect on what he has learned, and teach others when possible. He is exploring, directing his own learning, producing his own knowledge, and learning from others. Check with your facilitator to see if you should be drafting on a word processor or begin using the Student Page Template. If you are using a word processor, be sure to leave your work in plain text. You do not want to use any formatting at this time because this will create problems for you when you paste your work into an HTML editor.
After You Write: Check over your goals and objectives list.
- Is there a match between what you want students to learn and the task they will be working on?
- Does the task guide the learning?
- Are students engaged and directing their learning?
- Is the teacher facilitating rather than teaching?
- Does this project demonstrate best use of technology?
- Provides dynamic communication—preferably two-way
- Is dependent upon the use of the Internet—the project cannot be done without using the Internet.
The student task senario needs to frame and guide the learner throughout the learning process. It introduces the task and helps the student get started. It is also useful for new students and substitute teachers to see how the learning experience began.
One More Time . . .
The student pages should "hook" the students and get them excited about their project. Students need to own the problem and the direction of discovery.
Student pages are written for the students; they should not be directed toward a teacher.
Make them useful for students so that they guide their learning. You should provide a clear statement of the task, parameters, and resources the students can use to proceed with their work. Tips for getting started should also be included.
Remember that your students will not see your other pages. Students who are not in your class will also be looking at your pages. Your pages need to be self-contained so that others will be able to complete your project without hearing any of your verbal directions.
What to send: Please send a copy of your student task scenario and a copy of the learner outcomes section of the project presentation page if you have not done so already.
Where to send: Send a copy of each to your project folder.
When to send: Look at the assignment page to determine the due date for this work.