Using WebLessons

The vast amount of information that makes the Web such an invaluable instructional tool is precisely what limits its usefulness in the classroom. WebLessons removes the barriers.

"[The teacher] asked her 6th grade students if they preferred using the textbook for the lesson or Weblessons. The students responded overwhelmingly that they would rather go over the subject with Weblessons.

- Patricia Phillips
Moorestown Township Public Schools
  WebLessons is an easy-to-use learning management system that transforms the chaos of the Internet into a safe, structured learning environment for you and your students. Instead of a normal browser Window, WebLessons gives students an organized, step-by-step learning path complete with instructions, study questions, vocabulary, quizzes, and inquiry-based projects. Students stay on track and stay on task with engaging sites and relevant subject information. They can even turn in their work online.

On the teacher side of things, WebLessons lets teachers plan a complete web curriculum, assign topics, and track student progress. Each lesson includes a comprehensive Instructor's Guide with additional Web resources and ideas for extension activities, document based questions (DBQs), and whole-class learning.
Best of all, there's nothing to configure, nothing to install. All you need is a current Web browser and plenty of curious young minds.

Instructional Model

Our instructional model reflects the latest research and most advanced innovations in effective teaching and learning, combined with a Web-based integration technique that is truly unique and highly effective. For simplicity, our instructional model consists of four discrete but interrelated steps: Prepare, Learn, Practice, and Apply.

This important step prepares students for the learning activity by activating background knowledge and generating interest in the topic. This preparation can begin offline as a whole-class discussion, but we also repeat the preparation online in the form of an introduction and scenario. The scenario is a situated learning proposition that provides students with a meaningful context for the lesson—a reason for them to pay close attention learn all they can.

During the learning stage, students are taken directly to a number of specific Web resources that engage students with rich content. We give preference to sites which contain rich media (audio, video, animations, and simulations) and primary sources. All lesson sites include a bibliographic reference (modified MLA format), a glossary, and integrated study questions emphasizing higher order thinking.

To help reinforce learning and provide a low-stress level of accountability, students are given an opportunity to practice recalling some of the details of what they have learned. For WebLessons, that means a short quiz (multiple choice and true/false) integrated into every lesson. Students answer questions right online and receive immediate feedback; they are free to go back into the lesson and study up if necessary.

The best way to reinforce learning—and also provide a means of assessment—is to give students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in meaningful ways. For WebLessons, this means a final written project at the end of each lesson. Projects are closely tied to the scenario and require a creative application of the knowledge students should have gained from the lesson Web sites. Some projects resemble Document Based Questions that require formal analysis or synthesis, while others appeal to a student’s more creative side. We favor variety, not formulas.
In addition to the integrated student project, we also provide teachers with a number of differentiated learning exercises and whole class activities to further extend learning.