2. Teach or Report on Something "New"
The poorest content for Web pages is "traditional" research reports which simply regurgitate information from traditional text sources or other Internet or Web sites. Few visitors to your Web site will be interested in or impressed with such textbook presentations.
When we visit a Web site, we expect to learn something new. We anticipate discovering new information, or old information presented in new lights, with new insights. We enjoy hearing about the first-hand experiences students have had interacting with their world. We like to see their own art work, snapshots, and images of original documents and resources that they have scanned in themselves. We like to read about excursions to museums, historical sites, and cultural and artistic events.
Digitized images and recordings of your original or historical photographs, old newspapers, folk tales and stories, first-hand biographies and oral histories, and other primary source material that you publish will not only be intrinsically interesting to your audience, but much of it may make important contributions to your community or even your discipline.
In order to build a Web project that "teaches something new" students must actively explore, observe, record, predict, build models, analyze, solve problems, discuss, and report and share their findings and new understandings.
To do these things, they must have hands-on accessibility to local resources they can visit, interview, record, photograph, observe, manipulate, and interact with in a variety of other ways.
Everybody can do projects that utilize commonly available resources. For instance, you can find over-abundant resources on the Web regarding earthquakes. However, students who live in areas affected by earthquakes should take advantage of their unique location and report on local resources. Your Web report will be much more interesting and useful to students and adults around the world when you obtain and report first-hand accounts of earthquake experiences, local newspaper reports and video recordings of earthquake action and damage.
In each of these examples, students can actually find and present "new" information that is not (readily) available elsewhere. By sharing this information, they can not only present information and conclusions that will engage their readers, but will be making a legitimate contribution to the their local community and beyond by sharing this information.
Using and sharing these kinds of resources with the community will help your students take a major step on the journey From Surfing to Serving.
You'll see examples of these principles in the Example Model Projects in the next section.
The Global Schoolhouse CyberFair Project Web project starter activities also gives you ideas and suggestions for finding the rich variety of connections available in your local community.
Page 1: Define audience and purpose
© 2000 The Lightspan Partnership Inc. All rights reserved.
Last update: 06 July 2001