Constructivism & Technology/Case Examples/Collaborative Research
This chapter defines web authoring and gives tips for making web pages available to all users. In addition, several popular web authoring tools are named and described. This chapter also discusses collaborative research and the positive effects of using it in the classroom.
Key Concepts 
Web authoring is a category of software the enables the author to develop a website, and also the ability to design and create a web site by writing the site’s code and text (Webopedia). According to Horton, when it comes to creating a website, there are three ways to do so. First, an author can write their own code and create their own content using the HTML format by hand. With this method, an HTML text editor is used to simplify web page creation. Using this software still requires the author to work in text mode, but it is more workable. A second way is to use web page design software where the author just adds the content to the page as opposed to putting in all of the code necessary. With this method, the author never has to see the code and it works just like you would type a word processing document. The final method is to use a courseware system that combines tools to deliver online instruction. This method is if you are designing an online class or are instructing someone. Web authoring connects to constructivism because students can create their own websites. It is a great way for them to show what they have learned. An example is after having learned and completed an assignment on the moon, the students can create a website discussing the phases, and the other details that they learned about.
Considering the Users
As the author designs the page, it is important to consider all users. Since people use computers in many ways, it is imperative that the author follows guidelines so that the viewers can see, manage and navigate the site that the author is creating. This affects the colors chosen, the size of font, and the fact that some people may use older and slower technology. In addition, pages should be simple and use valid HTML elements as well (University of Edinburgh).
Web Authoring Tools
The University of Oregon has developed a Collaborative Research Model. This model is designed for students to work together toward a decision on a common problem or goal. In the model there are five principles: Focusing on Learning Outcomes, Developing Communication, Posing the Problem, Generating Multiple Perspectives, and Making Informed Decisions.
In focusing on learning outcomes, the learner needs to be actively engaged in the process. Authentic tasks should be given, and those tasks should be measurable and provide students with an opportunity for increased learning, the ability to retain knowledge longer, and increased performance on future projects. The second principle, developing communications, requires the learner to have an open mind and attempt to understand others’ points of view. In posing the problem, the learner is also actively engaged in their search of a question for research. The fourth principle involves the learner to generate multiple perspectives. The learner should engage others by restating information, by being empathetic towards the speaker, and by thinking critically. The final principle to collaborative research is decision making. During decision making, the learners are determining claims and counterclaims, creating shared definitions, sharing their perspectives, and evaluating results.
Collaborative research is designed to develop strong learning experiences for students, and has benefits for both the teacher and the learner. It connects to constructivism because it is the essence of what constructivism is. The students guide the learning and are actively engaged in the process. The teacher is the facilitator as the students work to communicate with one another and make informed decisions.
Web Authoring can be applied to the classroom. Students can design and create their own websites. After having researched a topic, a way to present that information could be on a website. Depending on the age, some students in high school could deal with the code aspect of a website. In elementary school, students could use their teacher’s website and a template to share what they have learned.
Collaborative research can also be applied in the classroom in many ways. One example would be for students to create and research a service learning project. Upper elementary, middle, and high school students could research a country or culture. Within that, they could find out what serious needs are for that area, and then design a fundraiser or drive to help support that particular country. Knowledge is extended, and it covers several subject areas.
Hart, J. (2009). Web authoring tools and HTML editors. Retrieved April 12, 2009 from http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/Directory/Tools/web.html
Horton, S. (2000). Choosing a web authoring tool. Retrieved April 12, 2009 from http://www.dartmouth.edu/%7Ewebteach/articles/tools.html
University of Edinburgh. (n.d.) Web authoring good practice guide. Retrieved April 12, 2009 from http://webhelp.ucs.ed.ac.uk/docs/goodpractice.html
University of Oregon. (n.d.). The collaborative research model: Student learning teams in undergraduate research. Retrieved April 12, 2009 from http://www.uoregon.edu/%7Etep/resources/crmodel/index.html
Webopedia. (2009). Web authoring. Retrieved April 12, 2009 from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Web_authoring.html
Chapter Quiz 
1. Web authoring is defined as:
a. a category of software that enables the author to develop a website, and the ability to design and create a website.
b. writing a book on the internet.
2. When web authoring, if you want to write your own code and content by hand, you will use this to simply web page creation.
a. Visual editor
b. HTML text editor
3. Which of the following is NOT a web authoring tool?
c. Panasonic Web
4. Which of the following are Collaborative Research principles?
a. Generating Multiple Perspectives
b. Developing Communication
c. Focusing on Learning Outcomes
d. All of the Above