What are the formats?
Filamentality lets you create five different formats (hotlist, treasure hunt, sampler, scrapbook, and webquest). It's easy to create one or all of the formats. You can choose the order of your activities. For example, you might want to begin by striking a positive attitude with a Subject Sampler. Then you might provide learners with factual information through a Treasure Hunt. Finally, you might want to engage them in a long term project using a WebQuest. Then again, maybe you want to start with a WebQuest which thrusts students immediately into a compelling or controversial aspect of a topic. This way, from the beginning, students gain a broader perspective and a better sense of why this topic is important to study (i.e. it's challenging and doesn't offer a simple black and white answer).
- Hotlist: a list of internet sites
- Multimedia Scrapbook: students explore your collection of multimedia links (photographs, maps, stories, facts, quotations, sound clips, videos...), decide which resources they prefer, and create something new
- Treasure Hunt: like a hotlist; but includes questions based on content from the sites
- Subject Sampler:
learners explore your collection of multimedia links, includes questions based on content from the sites AND how they feel or react to it; more complex than a treasure hunt
- WebQuest: uses the sites you select as the starting point for a complex activity that involves multiple perspectives, possible group collaboration, and a final project of your choosing.
Start with a subject of particular interest. For teachers and librarians, it might be a subject in which you specialize. Another idea is for both teachers and students is to look at existing curriculum units and see if there are any missing pieces which might be augmented by creating a web activity. You could begin with a specific goal. Maybe you or a team of students or teachers are developing a unit and need some activities to enhance your instructional goals. For students, a hobby or something they've heard about or always wanted to learn about could be the catalyst.
On the web, you will find the most current events, the passion of many special interest causes, and a diversity of perspectives. Add to this the ability to communicate with people around the world, access to a wealth of multimedia resources, and an increasing variety of interactive learning experiences and you've got a bunch of good reasons to add web resources to the learning environment!
Even if you don't create a Hunt, a Sampler, or a WebQuest, it's still helpful to create a Hotlist or a Scrapbook. This way you're adding web-based resources to traditional resources. If you do want to create a Hunt, a Sampler, or a WebQuest; the best way is to create a thorough Hotlist first which can then be used to build the other formats.
Hotlists: A recommended first step is to simply compile a list of web-based resources - i.e. a good "hotlist" of sites you know are appropriate for your users. These pages might not be standards-based or geared toward a specific learning outcome, but it will be like wheeling a bunch of good books from the library into the classroom. Providing a Hotlist will save your learners hours of aimless searching. With Filamentality, you fill in the URL, Title, and Description and we spin the Hotlist for you. Filamentality will let you divide them into different categories. You might choose to have learners create their own sites or have groups studying different aspects of a larger topic create a Hotlist on each aspect. Take a look at this very basic hotlist example.
Scrapbook: If you want to expose learners to a variety of media on a specific topic, you might want their first web-based activity to be the exploration of a Multimedia Scrapbook. A Scrapbook lets learners dig through a collection of sites you've selected and categorized. Links can include photographs, maps, stories, facts, quotations, sound clips, videos, virtual reality tours, whatever! Learners use the Scrapbook to find aspects of the topic that's important to them. They then download or copy and paste these scraps into a newsletter, desktop slide show, collage, bulletin board, new web page, digital story, etc.. The Multimedia Scrapbook offers an open, student-centered approach based on what appeals to them. Take a look at this very basic scrapbook example.
Filamentality helps you integrate the Internet into your handouts, research, lessons, and activities. Students and other teachers can access your pages from any Internet connected computer (or from your network if you choose to download and save your pages there).
Treasure Hunt: Teachers (and students) can create Treasure Hunts to facilitate learning factual knowledge on a subject. The basic strategy is to find sites that hold information that you feel is essential to the given topic. After you've gathered these links, you are then prompted by Filamentality to pose a question for each site. At the end of the Hunt, you add a culminating "Big Question." I f learners are already emotionally connected to the topic, then ask the question, "Are they learning enough background information on the subject?" If the answer is no or if the best information on the subject is "hot off the press," that's another reason to try a Treasure Hunt. Take a look at this very basic treasure hunt.
Subject Sampler: Use a Subject Sampler when you want students to feel connected to the topic and to feel that the subject matters. Subject Samplers connect students emotionally to the chosen topic. Learners are presented with a small number of intriguing websites on a specific topic. Samplers are fun because you've chosen websites that offer something interesting to do, read, or see. It's emotional because students are asked to respond to questions from a personal perspective. Rather than uncover hard facts (as they do in a Treasure Hunt), students are asked about their perspectives on topics, comparisons to their experiences, and their interpretations of artworks or data, etc. Thus, more important than the right answer is that students see that their views are valued. If learners have factual knowledge about a subject, then ask yourself, "Do they come out of the unit affectively engaged?" If they don't seem to care about the subject as you think they should, try creating a sampler. Take a look at this very basic sampler.
WebQuest If they learn facts, but don't pursue higher-level thinking; why not make a WebQuest? When you want to go beyond learning facts and want to get into grayer, more challenging aspects of the topic -- you are talking about a webquest. A webquest presents student groups with a challenging task, scenario, or problem to solve. It's best to choose aspects of a topic that are under dispute or that at least offer a couple different perspectives. Current events, controversial social and environmental topics work well.
Logistically, all students begin by learning some common background knowledge. Then they divide into groups. In the groups, each student or pair of students have a particular role, task, or perspective to master. They effectively become experts on one aspect of a topic. When the roles come together, students must synthesize their learning by completing a summarizing act such as e-mailing congressional representatives or presenting their interpretation to real world experts on the topic.
WebQuests take time to develop and require careful consideration in order to be effective.