Saturday, March 30, 2013

Week 5 All Things Video: Creating, Watching, and Sharing



Questions to answer:
1. What did you learn that was totally new to you?  I learned what synchronous and asynchronous web tools are.  I learned that you can spatially arrange a powerpoint on Prezi.  I found great resources for educational and school-appropriate videos.

2. How can you use this information to reform your instructional strategies with your own students?  I answer that when I discuss each site.  I don't teach yet but I try to imagine how I could fit each site into my lessons.

Websites I visited:

Prezi - http://prezi.com/  
See my prezi here:Biological Organization Prezi
 
This website allows you to create Power point presentations for free.  The power point presentations are not linear, like we are used to thinking.  Imagine with me a giant canvas.  You are the painter.  As you are painting, you put on a magnifying glass to insert intricate details into your art piece.  With Prezi, you are able to zoom in and out of your giant blank slide.  You only have one slide but your entire presentation is contained within it.  Your dimensions for your slide are almost limitless.
I can definitely see this in my classroom.  Science is really about “the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”  This tool would help me show the major concept and zoom into “here’s where you, Student, come in.”  Prezi would really help me get my point across because it is able to display my thoughts in the same way that my thoughts are arranged in my own mind.  Prezi pointed out that static slides can subdivide major concepts and severe the connections.  This site maintains the cohesion.
I would recommend this for my students and for myself.  I like this better than power point.  With a free, basic account, you have 100 MB of space to save your prezi on.  You can access your work from any computer with an internet connection.  You can import Power Point presentations and turn them into Prezis.  This is a creative and engaging way to illustrate lessons.  You can share a hyperlink so people can view your prezi and other prezi users can edit your project.  You can embed it into a blog as well.  This site was easy to use.  I did my presentation w/o a single tutorial while I was half asleep.

SpicyNodes - http://www.spicynodes.org/
See my Spicy Node here:My Spicy Node on Fetal Development
 
Spicy Nodes is just like mind mapping.  Spicy nodes take it one step further though.  When your mouse travels over a bubble, that bubble comes to the forefront.  Also, the extensions of any sub-ideas are hidden until you click on that node.  Your design is simplistic and clean.  The creators explain that this format is a more innovative design for websites, to help users find information easier.
I could see myself using this site if I was able to keep the integrity of the design.  I wouldn’t want to lose the animation.  Without the animation, I would get a static mind map which would render the Spicy Nodes site no different from Wisemapping.com.  This site makes it easy to share your work.  It also makes your creation public as well so it is easy to search for.  You can also embed it in a blog.  I recommend it and it is free. 

Edmodo - http://www.edmodo.com/
          Edmodo reminded me of www.4teachers.org and iLearn.  Edmodo is free (no tuition required ;) )  It does for any kind of teacher what iLearn does for our online professors.  The teacher in the testimonial video stated that she appreciated having all her web tools in one place, e.g. calendar apps and homework drop boxes.  She said that her students like the social network interface.  She made a point that students are going to jobs that require familiarity with this type of networking.  I never had online classes before grad school.  Through this class, I see where physically sitting in a traditional classroom is becoming (if not already) passĂ©.  Also, I see where collaborating web tools are “where it’s at.”  A growing trend in high school seems to be to figure out just how much you can squeeze into 24 hours.  Can you go to class; do your homework, play a sport or instrument, work your part-time job, chat with your friends, do your chores, and remember to eat dinner all in a day?  It’s more like meeting the bookclub at a wi-fi cafĂ© while clicking “submit assignment” on your laptop, hitting “reply” on your Blackberry, while listening to your text to speech app read you the events for tomorrow off your calendar app on your iPad.  Edmodo is enabling students and teachers to do things easier.  We, by our very nature, want to consume that saved time with other activities.
          I love Edmodo though, truthfully.  It’s free and versatile.  If students are enjoying their assignments, they won’t “work” a day that they are in school.  I always recommend having an electronic form of anything you want to do somewhere.  If you plan to bring your assignment on a flash drive, you should email it to the teacher the night before.  That way, no matter what happens the next morning, you have your assignment with you.

Math dictionary http://www.amathsdictionaryforkids.com/dictionary.html
          This site has a graphical dictionary of math terms.  The design is simple and colorful.  Students of any age could navigate the site easily.  This site is free and has a copyright date of 2013.  The webmaster is maintaining it.  If you encountered a problem, you could email the webmaster using the “feedback” link at the bottom of the page.  The terms are organized in alphabetical order.  Have patience when clicking a term and waiting for the definition to appear.  It takes a few seconds.
          I can see this being useful for studying math.  It would really be helpful for ESL students trying to take math in their second language.  I could reference it in a lesson for any equations I might do but I don’t its usefulness in my science class.
          I do recommend it.  I have a friend that is teaching seventh grade math.  She and her students would like this site.

Glogster - http://www.glogster.com/
“Glogster EDU is the leading global education platform for the creative expression of knowledge and skills in the classroom and beyond.  We empower educators and students with the technology to create GLOGS - online multimedia posters - with text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, drawings, data attachments and more.  I thought that they explained themselves pretty well.  Let’s break down the key features.  The creation interface that allows you to make a Glog uses simple drag and drop commands.  For collaborative projects, the teacher can work with students in a classroom or through remote instruction using this multimedia platform – a community system for sharing is prepared where student‘s work is stored and available at any time.  The teacher creates projects with templates and instructional guidelines, assigns them to the students, provides feedback throughout the assignment, and assesses their finished work.  You get social aspects like instant messaging, comments, and profile customization.  You also get a search engine, RSS, privacy control, educator resource library to help put your Glog together, Glog recommendations, and a Glog rating system.
Glogster EDU creates a digital learning environment, where teachers and students learn technology in an easy to use and scalable format that simplifies the educational process and produces assessable multi-modal results across the curriculum spectrum.  Glogster EDU enables public or private schools, districts, states, and education institutions of all kinds, to meet and exceed educational technology and content area standards for creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making, and digital citizenship.  Glogster EDU creates an adaptable and innovative learning environment for all learners, regardless of age, gender, culture or learning style. Students are encouraged to be independent, inventive problem solvers and lifelong learners.
An EDUcator Free account allows you to manage up to 10 student accounts, and have access to the Next Gen Glog. Additional students can be registered using the teacher code.  EDUcators do not, however, have access to our student management tool, the “reGlog” (share) option or full access to our rich Glogpedia resource library of content Glogs.  You may view your student’s work directly by clicking on the “student” tab on the Dashboard, scrolling to the student you would like to view, clicking on their avatar, and visiting their account page.  Students who are in your account but not managed will have to send you the URL to their Glog.
This site is iLearn, Twitter, and Edmodo rolled into one!  The creators want to be paid though.  I can appreciate that.  It seems that the site’s functionality and user-friendliness is moderated via price tag.  I would not recommend this site and I lean towards Edmodo.

Jing http://www.techsmith.com/jing/
Short Jing tutorial that I created, follow the link above
When people wanted to take a screen shot, they usually just hit the “print screen” button.  They couldn’t save or share that image. Jing is a ready-to-go app that you download that allows you to take that screen shot, email it, embed it in your blog, or attach a hyperlink of it to a social media page.  Jing will also save your images, as opposed to saving them to your hard drive. 
          This site is where tutorial videos happen.  I definitely would use this in class.  I could make videos for students and for substitutes of lessons and navigation of websites.  I could let students use this feature to help each other and their parents!  A must-have!  I’m excited about this app.

You Tube for Education - http://www.youtube.com/education?b=400
          YouTube EDU brings learners and educators together in a global video classroom. On YouTube EDU, you have access to a broad set of educational videos that range from academic lectures to inspirational speeches and everything in between.  Come here for quick lessons from top teachers around the world, course lectures from top-tier universities, or inspiring videos to spark your imagination.  You can also create videos.  Youtube for Schools is a Youtube channel that boosts that it can be viewed while at school.  They don’t allow comments, nor do they showcase the annoying margin of “related videos.”  Videos on Youtube for Education are from Stanford, PBS and TED as well as from future YouTube partners with millions of views, like Khan Academy, Steve Spangler Science, and Numberphile.
This site does everything you need youtube to do in school.  Videos are relevant to today’s teaching, almost synonymous.  I loved TED but now I don’t have to stop there.  I have already used this application to observe high school science being taught.  It’s always good to see how someone else executed a lesson plan, especially if you are stumped while creating your own.  Videos are really great when someone says something just right.  Students can also use this as a resource for demos, information, and to enrich their own projects.  I made a joke the other day.  I said that I don’t need a husband; I just need Youtube.  Is there anything about which youtube is missing a tutorial video?  *cricket cricket*  I didn’t think so.  It’s free and informational.  I recommend it.

          This site is a collective of student-made and teacher made videos.  It’s a lot like Youtube.  In the “About” section, you read that the creators wanted a safe, moderated place for students and teachers to watch and/or upload videos.  You can watch Schooltube videos on most school networks.  There are no adverisements or comments.  You can share the video through a URL or embedding it.

          This site has all kinds of multimedia.  You can view videos, documents, photos, and listen to audio clips.  There are appropriate ads but no comments.  You can share the various multimedia items through social networking sites, embedding into blogs, or attach the media to an email right from the Teachertube page.  This site is a little more organized and user friendly than Schooltube.  For the most part, still like Youtube.  Your account is free and so is uploading.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 4 Making Your Own Slide Shows, Comics, Movies, and Gathering Inspiration



Week 4 Blog

I created a power point presentation to define what human life is and when human life "is."  It is important that my students understand that they are more than just a physiological process of cell replication.





1. What was the presentation about and to whom did you present it? My presentation was on how human life begins.  I presented it to my teenage brother and his girlfriend.



2. Of which item in your presentation are you the most proud?  My patriotic mood that I created with my picture of the Monument to Our Forefathers, an excerpt from the Constitution, a picture of two marines, and a song about war.  Some of my slides went with the timing of song really well.  Most of that was by accident.



3. What might you do differently if you could create the presentation again?  Pick different test subjects and an edited song



4. How did your students respond to the presentation?


Websites that I visited this week:

Watching these videos would be a great way to begin class and/or start conversations.  TED is a collection of speeches from SME.  These speeches are all designed to inspire others.



The site sells software to allow you to create comic book pages.  It’s about $20 for the base model software.  A teacher can get a license for the software and return to the site for regular updates.  It’s available for Macs and PCs.

I looked at this site and thought, “This is cool.  How is it helpful?”  The site answers that as well.  The authors hope to engage the uninterested reader, the beginning reader, the ESL student, and the struggling writer.  The uninterested reader is someone who does not like reading.  Creating comics appeals to them.  The text is as complex as they want it to be.  The student has to create a story line, understand plot, and relay setting.  They are able to tell their stories without writing a novel.  Comic Life hopes to help young students and struggling students learn to read.  Comic Life also wants to reach the English-as-a-second-language student.  Comics can teach a small English lesson with each page.

I would love to use this in my classroom.  Science jokes are hilarious but often the humor goes unappreciated.  It’s also a form of desktop publishing.
I do recommend this software even at $20 for basic software.



You can use iSpeech to convert text to speech, convert documents to speech, convert web content to speech, or convert blogs to speech.  For personal use, iSpeech's simple online text to speech software tool supports over 20 languages.  Developers can take advantage of iSpeech's free text to speech (TTS) SDKs for major mobile platforms.  Human quality TTS is available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.  iSpeech SDKs are tested for rock-solid results with our iSpeech Cloud.  With the free membership you can create one-minute long files using non-commercial voices.  You can create as many as you want.  If you pay to upgrade, you can create an unlimited number of 30 minute files.  If you upgrade to the max, then you can create an unlimited number of files up to 12 hours long (per file.)  I tried to add a podcast of my blog to my blog and I couldn’t get it to work.  If you can get this to work, then it could be a useful tool.  You can create mini-lessons for students.  They could access them from anywhere.  You can create a to-do list and listen to it.  This is helpful for me.  I am notorious for forgetting a stop when I’m running errands.
I recommend it if you can get it to work.  I definitely recommend something of this nature to accommodate any learning or physical disabilities.



With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. All with no software to install. A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice through a Facebook Fan Page (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam).  Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.  Users can doodle while commenting, use multiple identities, and pick which comments are shown through moderation.  VoiceThreads can even be embedded to show and receive comments on other websites and exported to MP3 players or DVDs to play as archival movies.VoiceThread.com software costs one educator $80/year or $15/monthly.  If more than one educator wants a license, then you will need a school license starting at $450.00 for a year.

The VoiceThread Wiki page gave several educational examples.  I will share the few that I liked.  The first was uploading a picture to start a discussion.  You post the picture and have the class leave comments about how they think that object came to be.  The second example that I liked was posting a review forum.  You would dedicate a page to the discussion of what students enjoyed and/or disliked during a lesson/unit.  Kids are usually brutally honest.  The third idea that I liked was uploading examples of student work.  I really liked the idea of contrasting great pieces with mediocre pieces using teacher comments.

Do I recommend it?  From what I understand, yes.  I liked Voice Thread because it is user friendly.  You only need an updated Adobe Flash player to use it.  It is versatile.  VT allows you to upload multiple forms of multimedia and allows users to interact with the content and each other.  This type of software is accessible from any computer and from Apple devices.  Anything that encourages parents to look at and talk about their students’ work gets my approval.  I am not a fan of paying for anything, however.  If you still want these types of features for free, I recommend using wikispaces.com or webquest.org.



          Storybird- I love it.  Storybird collects pictures and illustrations from artists all around the world.  Then users piece together those pictures and write a story.  It is free.  The site has stories for all age groups.

          The whole concept makes me think of Tyler DeWitt’s video from TED called “Hey Science Teachers!  Make it fun!”  He says that he uses storytelling and analogies to explain science concepts.  He gets positive feedback from his student audience.  In his video, he draws and narrates a story of a “happy bacterium” that is sacrificed in the name of viral replication.  I could definitely do the same thing!  My students could use this same concept for a presentation.

          I recommend this site for its creative uses and user friendliness.  It is also free.  Storytelling has always been a powerful way to convey knowledge.  This site empowers people who may not know that they are capable of writing a book.  You don’t need a contract with a publishing company to become a famous author.



     A free interactive online whiteboard.  Essentially, it's a public version of Elluminate. I read the testimonialsI concluded that there were other sites that could do the same thing.  Apparently, Scribblar is the most user-friendly and free.  I read comments from teachers around the world from grade school to college, business managers, book club members, and playwrights.  Obviously, the uses are limitless.  While going through the tutorial, I saw that you could type on the whiteboard and in the chatroom in several different languages.
 
So how can I use this?  I can use Scribblar to meet with students to help with homework, to study for a test, or to follow up with student that missed class.  I could also use this medium to work with parents and students if the parents are concerned about their students' performance and visa versa.  I could set up assignment drop boxes, like another user mentioned.  I can facilitate collaboration among my classes.  I can set up quizzes on here.

I really liked the positive reviews.  I would definitely recommend this to others and for my own use.  I like the versatility and security.  The other users really inspired me with their creative employment of this tool.




Xtranormal - http://www.xtranormal.com/


Mine: http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/14308843/boots

Here is a movie that I saw using the Xtranormal site.  It is very well done.  I tried to replicate it as much as I could.  The Xtranormal site allows you to make what I call Lego man animated movies.  You are able to pick settings, characters, and voices.  Then you use text to speech software to give the characters dialogue. 

I can see multiple uses for this in my classroom.  Essentially, every movie is a moving book.  With Storybird, you have still shots.  With Xtranormal, you have an animated story.  I can use this to convey science in a humorous way.  Students can use this for presentations.  I can create, view, and grade assignments.  Instead of quizzes, students can create videos about what they have learned.

The basic membership is free.  You can pay more to do more.  The educator accounts are $10/month and are automatically re-charged each month.  Once you have an educator account, you can set up student accounts for 50¢/account.  I don’t recommend buying an account simply because the costs can get out of hand.  I suggest having students make their own basic accounts.  Then, you can have the student publish their videos and send you the URL.


VirtualManipulatives: http://nlvm.usu.edu

          “The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is an NSF supported project that began in 1999 to develop a library of uniquely interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives or concept tutorials, mostly in the form of Java applets, for mathematics instruction (K-12 emphasis).”  That was a direct quote from the site.  Simply, it is a place where you can play math games.  The games are interactive and reinforce math concepts.  The user sees instant results from their input.

          I can use this to help students’ math skills.  There are some math skills in science.  I would just have to figure out how to make my needs fit.  It’s free and fun and geared for all age groups. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week 3 Mind Maps, Help for Teachers, Assistive Technology



Week 3 Blog- Mind Map creations, Help for Teachers, Students with Disabilities



This map above was created at bubbl.us


Wisemapping.com


Questions to answer: why are visuals and pictures important?  How have you used visuals before?
Pictures and visuals are so important!  They keep people interested and reinforce ideas.  Most people know how to read.  Reading to people or showing multiple slides of text will bore your audience to death!  I used to teach basic life saving skills to non-medical personnel in the Army.  We always used a slide show with lots of pictures.  For example, most people have never given their skin much thought.  When I would discuss the different types of burns, I had to show diagrams of human skin so my soldiers would understand the damage from a burn.  After the lecture, we would hand out actual medical supplies so that people could practice what they learned.  People can learn by hearing but they remember by doing.  I showed and explained to several people what a Combat Application Tourniquet was.  Amazingly, few soldiers demonstrated proper use only after listening.  Most soldiers have to practice several times to get it right.

WEBSITES TO HELP TEACHERS
Zoho describes itself as “With Zoho, you focus on your business while we take care of the rest with apps that help you get more sales, get paid, support your customers and make your business more productive.”  It is geared toward businesses.  It is privately owned and for profit.  Where’s the free stuff?  You have to create an account to do anything.  Here is a list of applications members can use for free: email, workspace to upload documents, create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, create a group with other Zoho members, chat online, and web conferencing.   The Zoho notebook application is Intuitive user interface to create, aggregate and share multiple types of content
- Drawing tools to draw & add shapes along with the content
- Integration with other Zoho Applications like Zoho Writer, Sheet, Show and Chat
- Record video and audio directly within notebook
- Sharing Notebooks, Pages and even objects (pieces of content)
- Versioning Control and commenting
- Collaborative/simultaneous editing and sharing of content
- Firefox plug-ins for instant web clipping
- Skype integration for instant chat and IP telephony.
This could be used for communication and classwork between students and teachers.  Students are able to collaborate with each other as well.
I don’t recommend this site because it’s very advanced.  There are so many tech features.  It would take one class period to teach the students to use one application.  This site does too much.  I don’t like the idea of teaching students Microsoft programs, Apple programs, and then Zoho’s programs.  It’s redundant.  If you need a high-tech all-in-one website, then Zoho is it.

This website is geared toward strengthening English and Math skills.  Members can use this site for free to construct quizzes with multimedia elements, create rubrics, play educational games, provide tools for argument papers, design a floor plan for your classroom, view lessons or create your own, post a class calendar, post notes for the students, post project requirements/checklists, create a class webpage, assist students with collecting group notes and citations for papers, create videos, and help students create videos.  All these applications are available in Spanish.
There are different types of writing and math.  I could still use this for my science classes.  I definitely love posting calendars so I would use the Assign-A-Day app for sure.  Students often write persuasive papers using scientific research to support their views.  My students could use the Persuade Star app.  For help citing their research, we could use the Note Star app.  The Quiz Star app allows you to create, administer, and grade quizzes online.  My only question is where are students going to be when they access their quizzes.  You can do take home quizzes.  Send sick students the link for a quiz.  If you wanted to create a quiz for class, then you could reserve a computer lab.  You could also project the electronic version on a screen and the students could answer on paper.  The PBL Checklists app develops a schedule to help keep students on track when working on projects.  I would definitely use that to help my students.  Time management is a skill that students have to continuously refine because of the various course load demands.  The rubric app is a given.  Students always want to know how they are graded.  I recommend this website based on its ease of use and versatility.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND DEVICES
dimio.altervista.org/eng/
This website offers free software for many purposes, including assistive technology.  All programs are available in different languages and nothing is written into the registry of the computer.  The first download you see on the page is for voice recognition software called DSpeech.  The second program, DShutdown, is for safe shut down of one or multiple computers on a network.  The third program, DSynchronization, is for synchronization of files across Hard Disk, Floppy Disk, LAN, USB Key, CD-DVD (with packet writing software) and FTP server.  The fourth download is DTaskManager- a task manager program that allows you to execute different kinds of shut downs.  I don’t really understand this.  The fifth program allows someone to restore information on a computer that has been deleted to due a system upgrade or glitch- if I understand it correctly.  This program is called HDHacker.  The sixth download is DClearsystem which defragments the hard drive to open up disk space.
The webmaster, Dimio, does provide his email address.  I am skeptical of anything that is free like this.  He might provide tech support should you have any issues.  I agree that software should be free and shared.  I don’t recommend this site unless you have a thorough knowledge of software and programming.  Then you use it with discretion and caution.

The Georgia Project for Assistive Technology (GPAT), a unit of the Georgia Department of Education, supports local school systems in their efforts to provide assistive technology devices and services to students with disabilities.  This site has a wealth of information on the process of determining your student’s need, asking for assistive devices, and evaluating the effectiveness of said devices.
I would love to use these kinds of devices in my classroom.  I believe in challenging every student to learn to the best of his or her ability.  My aunt suffered a complicated birth.  The doctor that delivered her used instruments to force her into cephalic presentation.  The doctor pressed her soft skull so much that he bruised her brain.  She ended up with brain damage to her motor cortex.  She grew up without motor function.  The rest of her brain was fine.  My aunt learned to read.  She liked watching cable and movies.  She liked “talking” to my grandma even though she had to spell out her words one letter at time.  A lot of people thought my aunt had mental retardation.  She didn’t.  My aunt showed me that people are often labeled “unable to learn” when they really can learn.  Maybe they can’t or don’t articulate their learning but they still want to learn.  Often, tools are needed to aid those with disabilities.
If you are in Georgia, I recommend you use this site as a guide.  If not, then the site is still a useful reference if you need to implement assistive devices in your classroom.

readthewords.com
This website uses text to speech technology.  Readthewords.com allows members to create audio files up to 30 seconds in length, select from 15 voices, use three different languages, has 2 customizable Avatars, unlimited emailing of speaking Avatars, 8 podcasts, 8 embedded readings, and 8 saved readings for free.  You can upgrade your membership for a fee and receive more Avatars and larger files.  You do this by typing text or copying text from another file and pasting it into the site’s text box. They also have a file upload section, where you can upload any Microsoft office document, Adobe PDF, txt, and HTML document. You can also paste a website address or RSS feed URL, and the TTS program can read that as well.
I am not sure how I could use this technology for myself.  I could definitely use it for a student that has a visual impairment.  I have gone to class with a female that had Glaucoma and another female was completely blind.  The Glaucoma student had really thick glasses but I’m not sure how much they helped.  The blind student had an aide that typed everything for the day in Braille.  Both students would benefit from text to speech technologies.
I recommend this free, assistive technology.  It also comes with tech support.

fullmeasure.co.uk/powertalk/
I like this website much better than Dimio’s.  PowerTalk, a talk to text program, was created in response to an open letter calling for help from a person with Asphasia. This appeared in Ability magazine, 'Campaigning for Accessible IT' published by John Lamb Media for the British Computer Society Disability Group in association with AbilityNet.  The OATSoft website is home to PowerTalk and many other Open Source Assistive Technology Software (OATS) projects.
I could use this in my classroom.  I see the obvious purpose- use as an assistive technology.  I’m thinking about days that teachers can’t be in the class.  Essentially, you could set up a lesson using this software and a power point presentation.  Then the substitute could just hit play.  Then maybe set up a quiz on 4Teachers.org.  The students could do this too.  If a student knows he or she will be absent, they could use the same software for a speech/presentation.  The teacher could play “Bobby’s” presentation while Bobby is competing in another town.
I recommend this software.  It’s free and helpful.  The website does offer tech support.  It’s a win-win.

A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web.  EDOL 533 is a series of webquests.  Here is how a webquest is set up.  Learners are given a topic.  They have to research that topic entirely online.  Then the learners have to come back together and discuss what they learned.  Here is one example Webquest.org gives: student teachers examine a list of websites for schools.  The class then discusses what they liked or didn’t about the websites.  From this exercise, students grasped what a school website needs to function and be effective.
Webquest.org also contains a database of webquests.  These webquests are written as lessons.  For example, I searched for webquests about animal cells.  I clicked on the first link from my results.  I was directed to a website that was constructed by a science teacher for her class.  The site had instructions about the student project, a rubric for the project, and required students to use the internet for all their research.  The project was to make a 3-D cell model using edible materials.  Users can also add webquests to this database.
I definitely could use this to plan lessons.  My students could use this database for research.  They could design their own webquests.  I liked all the creative ideas I saw.  This is a great resource to make classes interesting.  We can all use inspiration to teach the same concept to different classes and different generations of students
I totally recommend it.  It’s free, creative, and easy to use.