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 (http://farahsouth.cgu.edu), 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.
The Importance of Content
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 Tell 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:
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since my last Fletcher Jones Grant I have received a number of grants, all growing out of projects whose initial funding
was through Fletcher Jones. These grants include:
Resnik Foundation Grant, Summer 1997, Summer 1998, and
Mellon Technology Grant, Summer 1997. 1
As a result of this already fruitful collaboration we have submitted a number of other grants to the following agencies:
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