ERIC Number: ED470117
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Nov
Virtual Quests As Learning Environments for K-12 Students.
Perhaps some of the most engaging, unique, Web-based activities are virtual quests that take student participants along on real expeditions, following a team in the field as they explore new territory or do research on authentic scientific problems. Virtual quests, such as the MayaQuest expedition produced by Classroom Connect, are excellent examples of classroom experiences that provide students with authentic opportunities to solve real life problems. This applied qualitative study looked at the value of virtual quests as classroom learning environments, at the instructional characteristics of teachers who chose to participate, reviewed related literature, and discussed, from the teacher's perspective, their application in a classroom setting. The study demonstrates the value of the anchored instructional approach to learning, as represented by MayaQuest. Student participants in this study were highly engaged, motivated, and appeared to benefit from increased skill development and work production. Students experienced models of problem solving, teamwork, thought processes and language in an authentic manner, not just as a scenario developed to simulate reality. The authenticity was made possible by access to the technology, bringing the field experience into the classroom while transporting the students to the field. The study concludes that adoption of virtual quests can motivate and rejuvenate teachers, but certain teachers are also more likely to adopt virtual quests. They are teachers who value a student-centered approach, view themselves as facilitators of learning, are flexible enough to modify the prescribed curriculum to fit the quest experience, and who are comfortable with technology. Virtual quests are a promising instructional approach; however, it is not recommended that a school or district adopt them globally. Rather, teachers should be given the opportunity to adopt virtual quests. It is also important that teachers be provided with both technical and instructional support as needed. For the appropriately oriented teacher, anchored instruction, in the form of virtual quests, is a very exciting addition to the learning environment. (Contains 12 references.) (Author/AEF)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Annual Proceedings of Selected Research and Development [and] Practice Papers Presented at the National Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (24th, Atlanta, GA, November 8-12, 2001). Volumes 1-2; see IR 021 504.