Interactive Web Pages
Overview: What is Interactivity?
Basic Interactive Elements
Tutorials & Activities
Interactivity Through Virtual Learning
What is virtual learning?
The world is getting smaller as more educators embrace virtual learning activities that connect their students through virtual learning activities. Web-based virtual learning has provided educators with a new opportunity for teaching and learning that does not require schools or teachers to spend thousands of dollars for expensive technology and equipment Everything you need to develop online virtual learning activities and classrooms is readily available via your computer and Web browser.
By revolutionizing the way you can deliver your lesson content and expand learning opportunities for your students, Web conferencing can open the world to both you and your students. White board technologies and mini webcams allow for virtual collaboration as well at the ability to see and hear other virtual classmates. Working in a virtual environment also enables your students to acquire valuable computer and Internet skills, strengthens their written and oral communication skills, and opens the door to cross cultural experiences.
Creating virtual learning activities requires many of the same skills and techniques as traditional face-to-face classes, but there are unique differences and special circumstances that need to be examined and addressed before virtual activities and projects can be created. Virtual learning takes place on the Internet which removes the ability of your students to raise their hand to ask a question. Email and conferencing software replaces the traditional question and answer model but both students and teachers need to realize that feedback is not instaneous. Having to type a question or answer on a discussion board, or sending/replying to an Email forces the students to think about both the question and the answer which often causes them to relect on their words before posting. Another benefit of virtual learning is the unlimited potential for collaborative work and small-group discussions among students who may never meet face-to-face. Finding virtual partners to share an activity with, posting self introductions, and working on a project itself is what makes virtual classroom activities an exciting and powerful addition to the educational curriculum.
The virtual classroom never closes. The lights stay on, the bell
doesn't ring, and no one tells you when to put your pencil down and stop.
While this model appers to be ideal there still needs to be a live instructor
to interact and moderate the activity with the students to create
valid educational experiences. Teachers must monitor and check
discussion boards daily, encourage students to post ideas and responses,
and facilitate the learning of new tools and skills.
The following hardware and software tools create the basic foundation of virtual activities and projects:
The teacher must create and post the material for a virtual learning
activity on the Internet. This can be as simple as a single web
page with directions, resource links, and due dates to a more complicated
set of web pages that becomes a mini site in itself. These
pages can reside on a local school server, on free personal web page sites,
or if your school connects to the Internet via an ISP, on their server.
The teacher must define the scope of the project and explain his/her expectations
of the students. If the activity or project is a collaborative effort
between two or more teachers, they must decide on project leadership,
individual as well as team repsonsibilites, and how the project goals/outcomes
will be measured and evaluated.
Virtual learning is flexible.
Unlike traditional classrooms, virtual learning activities often occur
in unstructured environments. Students can access the material
A virtual learning activity can be as simple as students visiting a web page posted by the teacher to receive instructions for the assignment. These instructions could then require the students to perform assigned readings, conduct library research, compile resources gained from surfing the Net, notate research material from CD-ROMs, and other research resources. The final result of the activity may be students posting their research papers on the Internet with a brief page describing what they learned. The teacher can also use this model to post homework assignments, gather student/parental feedback, and archive past unit material and lessons.
Project based virtual learning activities will require more time on the part of the teacher(s) involved. The scope of the project should be defined with clear outcomes and objectives. A realistic time frame needs to be established that outlines how much class time will be devoted to the virtual learning project as well as how many outside classroom hours will be expected by students. The length of the project also needs to be defined. Activities on this level usually work best if done over an entire semester. Some projects can even be ongoing throughout the entire school year.
To see examples of virtual learning activities and projects. Take
the Virtual Tour .
The contents of the Web Institute Web Site, including the On-Line Curriculum, Web Tank, and Session Notes, are Copyright 1999-2000, Graham School of General Studies, University of Chicago. No one may print, copy, or otherwise reproduce these materials without the express written permission of the Director of Education Programs at the Graham School. All rights reserved.
The chapters from Curriculum Webs: A Practical Guide to Weaving the Web into Teaching and Learning are Copyright 1999-2000, Craig A. Cunningham and Marty Billingsley. No one may print, copy, or otherwise reproduce these materials without the express written permission of the authors. All rights reserved.