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  Feature Name: WISE Advance Guidance page for Web sites
Author: Jim Slotta

Category: Inquiry Tools: Guided inquiry

Subject: NA

Kind: Element/Applet

 Elementary School
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Software URL: WISE

Created by: WISE Team


This Feature is connected to (2) Principles
  • Reduce visual complexity to help learners recognize salient information
  • Provide just in time guidance
    Feature in Visual Map
    The WISE project researched the most effective approach to designing advance guidance for Web pages. The WISE Advance Guidance page also called the WISE Cover Page was developed. In 1996, Slotta conducted an experiment where he varied the content on this page to test its impact on students ability to critique Web pages and ask critial questions about them. Based on the results of this experiment (published as a book chapter in Jacobson and Kozma, 2000), Slotta determined the following composition for advance guidance:
    - Cognitive hints about using the Web site as evidence
    - Strategic hints about where to focus attention
    - Procedural hints about how to navigate or use the site
    The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
    Using real content drawn from the Web is a compelling strategy, since there is a great deal of good content there. This is content that is relevant to school science topics, connected to current events and issues, often with rich media and even cool (e.g., Java-based) functionality - and its free and accessible to all. Many educational designers would avail themselves of such content to be used in their curriculum activities, but how can we help students take full advantage of Web sites and not become confused?

    Even the most compelling Web content is often unedited and unreviewed, can be long and complex, and often biased. We need some way of helping prepare students to use the Web content productively, just before they go out onto a site. This would be considered as Advance Guidance or Advance Organisation information that might be similar to the kind of helpful hints a savvy teacher would whisper to a student just before s/he clicked to go out to a complex site.
    Context of Use:
    For each real world Web site used in WISE projects, we now design such a cover page that includes these three kinds of information.
    Field-based Evidence:
    Slotta and Linn (2000) report on the success of advance guidance in helping students make better judgements about the validity of claims made by Web pages, as well as their sources. Perhaps more importantly, advance guidance information as defined above helped students ask better critical questions about Web sites, as measured by their questions specificity, relevance and productivity.
    Slotta, J. D. & Linn, M. C. (2000). The Knowledge Integration Environment: Helping students use the Internet Effectively. In Jacobson, M. J. & Kozma, R. (Ed.), Learning the Sciences of the 21st Century. Hilldale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates