Tag Archives: Todd Whitaker

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 http://webquest.org/questquilt.html. 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 keynote: Dr. Todd Whitaker – What Great Teachers Do Differently?

Dr. Todd Whitaker of Indiana State University is delivering our Thursday keynote address. In his talk, he poses the following question:

What are the specific qualities and practices of great teachers that elevate them above the rest?

Dr. Whitaker identifies what the most effective teachers do differently than their less-effective colleagues. The goal is for participants to walk out knowing what great teachers do differently; why these things make them more effective; and learn how to immediately implement each of these into their own classrooms and schools.

A key discrepancy Dr. Whitaker makes early on is that to find the most effective things great teachers do is to differentiate between what they do and what ineffective teachers do. If we only look at great teachers and schools, it’s hard to determine what’s being done right. Unless we know both what great and not-so-great teachers do differently, it’s hard to determine what we should do to be the most effective teachers we can be.

A major issue is that people have no idea how they come across. Dr. Whitaker points out that the issue is not what teachers do; it’s how well they do it. For example, he asked the audience what’s wrong with the phrase “poor classroom lecturer”. Dr. Whitaker helped the group out by limiting the choices to “poor” and “lecturer”. Because we’re eMINTS educators who believe in inquiry and less-traditional forms of teaching, we identified “lecturer” as the problem. As Dr. Whitaker points out that the real problem is that these teachers do it poorly.

Check out what the audience had to say. Some of the quotes are particularly juicy.

The talk is inspiring as Dr. Whitaker identifies the characteristics that great teachers have. Ironically, the things that make a teacher great are similar to the things that make people successful in the rest of life. Dr. Whitaker’s books and talks are highly recommended.

To continue following the discussions happening at the eMINTS Conference, check in with this blog or follow the hashtag #eC12 on Twitter.