Ideas on Scaffolding Expertise

Web-and-Flow WebQuests use a series of online help pages for students called "Expertise Scaffolds." These should provide some background on ways to look at the three main approaches of analyzing parts (plus an interactive form), comparing and contrasting people's opinions on a topic (plus an interactive form), or hypothesizing how a thing functions, happens or inter-relates with other things (plus an interactive form).

This feature is designed to make the cognitive tasks more overt and friendly to students. We believe that if students can internalize these strategies, they will have some very powerful critical thinking skills under their own control. Offering you and the students these background pages and interactive forms is not meant to suggest that filling in the form will automatically transform information into understanding. These forms, like Web-and-Flow itself are rapid prototype tools. They're good for getting a solid draft done quickly. They do not create masterpieces. You and your students do.

The scaffold support pages are available to students, but most likely teachers will need to process and present the strategy and to help students work with them. More examples and simplifying terminology for each audience will be needed because no online activity can hope to know how to connect and communicate with your students as well as you can. So if you decide to link to the Expertise Scaffolds, your main role is to facilitate their use. Perhaps the scaffolds will save you some development time making your own?

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