Thursday #eC12 – Design Patterns 2.0

Bernie Dodge’s eMINTS Conference breakout session, Design Patterns 2.0, focused around one of the most challenging parts of writing a WebQuest…. developing a task that engages students while pushing them to think at higher levels and then do something with the content they learn is tough. Bernie’s Design Patterns have long been a resource used in the eMINTS professional development sessions to support teachers as they write their first WebQuest. Design Patterns 2.0 is Dodge’s latest attempt to support teachers in the challenge of coming up with a good starting point to create original, quality WebQuests.

When beginning planning a WebQuest, Dodge suggests “starting at the end and looking at the kids”. Asking… What will they be doing for a living 15 years from now? What will they be doing for recreation? What issues will they be faces with? Dodge shared that “the success of people today and 15 years from now is when people have actually practiced and become good at…designing, deciding, analyzing, creating, predicting.” These are the excellent places for teachers to begin their WebQuest planning because “success is not about the nouns…success is about the verbs”.

So what’s new with Design Patterns 2.0? It’s now an interactive (click-able) matrix where a user chooses an anchor (person, place, thing, problem, activity) and a verb (deciding, designing, creating, analyzing, predicting). At the intersection point are questions that guide a user to help develop their WebQuest’s task and “create a lesson that engages higher-level thinking.”

A couple of tips shared at the session…for a beginner, pick one verb and anchor and do it well – for more experienced WebQuest creators build in more than one intersection point and design a more complex WebQuest.

You can see the Google presentation Bernie created to overview his ideas at He hopes to turn it into a web app in the near future.

What’s your best tip for teachers creating their first or fiftieth WebQuest?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and presenter at the eMINTS Conference 2012.

Thursday #eC12 – eIS Smackdown!

Such a fun session to attend…with 4 Instructional Specialists tag-team presenting their favorite online tools everyone had to see an interactive website they hadn’t seen before. I walked away with some new goodies to add to my bag of tricks and pass them on to the teachers I get to work with.

What tools would you share?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and presenter at the eMINTS Conference 2012.

It’s eMINTS Conference Week!

Every winter, the eMINTS National Center hosts a conference for educational technology practitioners and eMINTS teachers to get together and share resources, methods, and loads of great technology. The conference is part of our professional development program, but many other educators and alumni love to come back for inspiration and energy to carry them through the winter months.

Typically, we post updates from the conference on another blog space, but this year we’re moving the operation here to Networked Teaching and Learning. I’ll do a couple of pre-conference posts here and there, but full updates should start on Wednesday. You may also want to follow me on Twitter and the hashtag #eC12.

Conference sessions begin Wednesday with some pre-conference workshops. Thursday and Friday are the main days for the conference with keynote speakers set to open each day. Thursday’s keynote is delivered by Dr. Todd Whitaker where he’ll discuss “What Great Teachers Do Differently”. Friday’s keynote speaker is our old friend Bernie Dodge. Bernie will present on “The Power of Student-Made Questions”.

Even if you missed your chance to register for this year’s conference, you can follow the action here or on Twitter as mentioned above. It should a be a fun few days of some great educational discussions.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.