For those who are not aware, ThinkQuest is part competition, part instructional project, part mob-sourcing, and entirely one of the most exciting things for teachers and learners on the Internet — for the past 10+ years. Originally the brainchild of Advanced Network & Services president, Al Weis, and now run by the Oracle Education Foundation, ThinkQuest asks students to work in teams and create web sites that are designed to help other students learn something.
ThinkQuest inspires students to think, connect, create, and share. Students work in teams to build innovative and educational websites to share with the world. Along the way, they learn research, writing, teamwork, and technology skills and compete for exciting prizes. ((“Home Page.” ThinkQuest. Oracle Education Foundation. 1 May 2008 http://thinkquest.org/.))
I was involved in this project during its earliest years, and what I learned from that experience did much to form many of the education philosophies that I have today. It is about empowering learners.
The student web site entries are due in tomorrow (April 2) for the 2008 competition, and ThinkQuest needs people to judge these entries. To be a judge, you must be employed as a teacher or have a minimum of five years experience in the field of education; be proficient in the English language; and be able to, and have the time to evaluate and score websites based on the provided criteria.
The judging criteria include:
- Writing & Organization
- Educational Relevance
- Global Impact
- Team Diversity
- Website Structure, Appearance and Function
- Media Use
To learn more about being a ThinkQuest judge, listen to my April 13 podcast interview with master judge, Bill McGrath. If the intrinsic joy of judging the work of students around the world is not enough, Judges who score a minimum of fifteen sites will qualify for a drawing to receive an iPhone. The top-performing judge will go to the ThinkQuest Live event, held each year in San Francisco.