Archaeology and the Web 
Using Technology to Combine Inquiry, Constructivism, and Content 
Claremont Mellon Grant
Instructional Media Developer: Catherine Walker 


Inquiry is a central component of effective research, teaching and learning. The inherent structure of the World Wide Web (WWW) provides an exploratory environment that promotes inquiry-based learning. By incorporating the WWW into our college curriculum, we give our students the tools and means to explore and investigate the most recent events and findings beyond their classrooms. 

When educators design web sites, opportunities inevitably arise to combine the power of inquiry-based learning with constructivist theory and content. This powerful medium also provides an arena for presenting the results of individual research. Such qualities form a product that promotes student growth, diversity, and motivation. However, being an educator is just one piece of the media development labyrinth. The field of instructional media is growing so rapidly that educators must rely on instructional media developers who are professionally trained in this area. 

The purpose of this proposal is to bring together educators with an instructional media developer at the excavation-site, in order to produce a Web-based learning tool that combines significant subject content with a real-time relationship to the actual excavation process. This Web-based learning tool, which will build upon the existing archaeology web site, Tell el-Far'ah South (, will integrate both inquiry-based learning and constructivist theory. The real-time aspect of this project will allow for immediate publication of our preliminary archaeological findings. The goal is produce a universal web site that can be used as a teaching and learning resource for educators and students, as well as a research site for scholars, that reaches beyond the Claremont Colleges. 

Inquiry-Based Learning 
Inquiry-based learning is a teaching pedagogy that engages students in finding solutions to important and meaningful questions through investigations and collaboration with others. Key components of inquiry-based learning include learner investigations of concepts and principles, the analysis of information and data, the ability to draw conclusions and communicate ideas with others, and the development of products or artifacts that mentally represent their ideas. Inquiry-based learning through technology brings authenticity to the classroom by directly connecting students to primary resources and expertise otherwise not available in a traditional learning environment. 

Constructivist Theory 
J. Bruner's theory of constructivism posits that individuals, as problem solvers, interact with the environment by testing hypotheses and developing generalizations. This construction of knowledge is a life-long, effortful process requiring significant mental engagement by the learner. Further, the knowledge that we already possess affects our ability to learn new knowledge. By incorporating constructivism into web site design, we give primary importance to the way in which learners attempt to make sense of what they are learning rather than to the way they receive information. Integrated and usable knowledge is possible when learners develop multiple representations of ideas and, through their work in school and beyond, are engaged in activities that require them to use this knowledge. Educational tools that can implement constructivism, such as the WWW, help learners solve complex problems by providing access to information and data which can then be investigated and analyzed, thus allowing students to "construct" their own mental representations. 

The Importance of Content 
While a web site is part medium and part message, content is still the most crucial aspect of any site. Although the necessity of content may seem self-obvious, there is a common complaint by educators that the WWW does not provide "useful" content to learn by. To begin changing this notion, educators must get involved in developing web sites focused on delivering pertinent content. By incorporating substantial content into our site-content that embodies the principles of inquiry-based learning and pedagogical constructivism-we hope, as our goal, to educate and empower our WWW visitors. 

In a typical excavation season, archaeologists will uncover large bodies of data each week. Traditionally, archaeologists will spend years inputting data and performing preliminary analyses before deciding on an introductory format that will allow only some of the findings to be published. Many more years pass before all data is finally released to the public. With an instructional media developer on-site, we will be able to manage our data in a format that is conducive to immediate publication through daily reports on the WWW. These reports will not only prove informative for scholars but also educational for students at all learning levels. The summer of 1999 will be the first excavation season of the renewed excavations at Tel el-Far'ah. It will also be the perfect time to begin using the WWW to its fullest capacity as a real-time excavation tool. 

Technology at Tell el-Far'ah - Bring It All Together: 

The Tell el-Far'ah web site will allow us to meet a variety of needs, including: 

• letting the public come along to remote research areas, 
• documenting localities as part of research activities, 
• providing access to archaeological material as it is discovered, 
• providing access to artifacts in a distributable manner for education and research, and 
• enhancing our on-line exhibits with informative and exploratory images and activities.
New Technologies to be Implemented- 

By merging the talents of both educators and an instructional media developer, we will be able to combine inquiry-based learning, constructivism, and content with new technologies in the Tell el-Far'ah web site. Due to the limited opportunity to capture these materials (summer 1999), it is crucial that the majority of all media development occur onsite. By bringing together the educators with the developer at the locale, we can produce material in a real-time format; that is, what is discovered today can be transferred to the web site today. 

Technology Examples: 

Virtual reality applications stimulate learner investigation and inquiry. By utilizing a QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) application, we can provide a motivating and highly interactive web site that has tremendous potential for classroom learning. Using QTVR, students will be able to go on virtual tours of the Tell el-Far'ah archaeology site, or examine virtual objects of the Egyptian and the ancient Near Eastern empires as if they were holding them in their hands. Specifically, QTVR at Tel el-Far'ah will provide access to 360' panoramic views of the locale, as well as 360' views of artifacts found on-site. 

Streaming audio and video interviews intensely involve viewers in the learning process. Interviews with project leaders and student participants put an "authentic" face on the project. The presence of audio and video on web sites is growing rapidly. This is due in part to the media's ability to hold the viewer's attention while delivering the intended message. By providing audio and video links on the Tell el-Far'ah web site, we engage the learner while in essence providing yet another way for the learner to supplement his/her mental representation of the information. 

Interactive activities build inquiry skills and stimulate the construction of mental representations. By providing activities such as interactive trivia questions, quiz games, and word puzzles, we connect the learner to the information in a way that is both entertaining and educational. Through classroom activities, lesson plans, and the ability to "ask the expert," we begin to build links to the community that will further the analysis of information and data otherwise not available to the public.

Community Outreach 

This project is an excellent opportunity for CGU to build upon previously established community, undergraduate, and graduate relationships. The Tell el-Far'ah web site provides the potential for partnerships with local K-12 schools, undergraduate classrooms, and the students and faculty at CGU. By the simple use of a web browser, we can bring these participants along with us-virtually, giving them the ability to track daily events and discoveries, converse with dig site volunteers, and, most importantly, learn through exciting new media components. 

Appendix A: Fletcher Jones Proposal Budget



Air travel to Israel
Room and Board

Total: $2,300.00
Justification for Vehicle:  Because of the real-time aspect of this proposal, it becomes a necessity that we have a location from which we can upload our materials on a daily basis. We have partnered with the Ben Gurion University, and through this partnership, we will have the necessary data and video connections that will permit real-time web site production. This "closest" university is still an hour's drive from the excavation site. The funding for this vehicle allows for our essential trips to Ben Gurion University. 

Due to extreme heat in Israel during the summer months, excavation will be conducted from 5:00 AM until 12:30 PM. While there will be transportation for the volunteers to and from the site, we have learned in the past that some of the on-site equipment, such as the digital camera, does not work well with too little light or too much light. Therefore, it is important for the Instructional Media Developer and the PI to be able to do special photography at other hours, thus necessitating their own vehicle. 

Appendix B: Cost Sharing

Because of the collaboration between the Humanities Electronic Media Project (Catherine Walker, Instructional Media Developer) and the PI, this proposed project will have access to a great deal of computer hardware and software, including: 

Laptop Computer 
Video Digitizing Card 
Digital Camera 
Digital Camcorder 
Digital Voice Recorder 
$ 500.00 
Spin Photo Object 
Spin Panorama $ 50.00 
Adobe Premiere $ 250.00 
Sound Forge / Voice IT $ 100.00