through the resource
The introduction to the site states that there is no single route through the resource; the Stern Review is taken simply as a starting point from which different journeys may be taken. Initial use of the site therefore may be as a result of direction e.g. to a particular section or page, or by exploration. In either event the common design of menu elements on the left and the links on the rights should facilitate access. For convenience links open in a new window.
Directed Routes: These are likely to focus on the first five sections of the site, linking either directly to the Stern Review itself or to the sections on economics, science, technology or geography. If you are directed to a section or page, sections have a fairly common format. A section overview will point at main elements within the section and may be sufficient either to provide a start for your own research or to enable focus on a sub section immediately. Within a subsection page again only a framework highlighting some of the possible paths for study is provided but will give some indication of the issues involved. In some cases, the pages may contain elements which might be regarded as controversial or even biased; this is deliberate and should give reason for further research, to lead to your own views. The same is true of some of the links, and this may require study of the internet literacy section to enable you to check veracity, accuracy and bias and to determine the authority of a reference.
Some directed tasks will use material only because it is on or linked to the site e.g choosing an extract for a comprehension task or for a précis exercise, and thus has a certain topicality, and many tasks can be devised which use the site as a basis for further more “student owned” work e.g. developing a glossary for a particular section, or summarising a section for a presentation.
The degree to which tasks or assignments are directed can vary widely from narrow focus to broad. This mirrors the degree to which students are to take responsibility of their own learning and in turn demands more judgement on their part in terms of what is and what is not relevant or appropriate.
Exploratory routes: These may focus on any section and indeed may fit with a wide range of subject study from English to Botany or Critical Studies. The use of links within or external to the site makes it easy to follow individual lines of enquiry, but offers some bounds and focus over an unrestricted internet search. An exploratory approach is more likely to take more time, but could be made more manageable by careful design, with the option to limit or to acknowledge individual student choice, interest or background. Getting students to develop a web quest, perhaps for younger students may offer a useful mix of structure whilst retaining scope for creativity and challenge.
The merits of directed or exploratory approaches will always reflect the planning and preparation afforded to them, and neither is necessarily better for developing thinking skills or responsibility for students’ own learning. Awareness of constructivist ideas about teaching and learning can help in planning the best ways for students to exploit a resource.
web quest on Biomes