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  • 1. WEBQUESTS ANDDEVELOPING EFL CRITICAL READING SKILLS BY MAGDY M. ALY PROFESSOR OF CURRICULUM AND EFL INSTRUCTION JULY , 2011
  • 2. SOME HOT ISSUES Learning English in Egypt is often times - associated with learning grammatical.rulesCritical thinking is often recognized as - one of the desirable goals for education, itis considered a skill not promoted enough . in English classrooms05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 2
  • 3. In traditional classrooms, learning English to- -pass the examinations is often considered theprimary goal, where only language skills areemphasized while critical thinking, problemsolving, or creative thinking skills are treated as.minimalTechnology is also identified as a tool that has- -potential to support the competitiveness ofEgypt and its people in the knowledge-based economy05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 3
  • 4. The Internet is a suitable environment for -language learners. Students from cross-culturalclasses in different parts of the world cancollaboratively create a project by exchangingemails or engaging in online chats. Thus theywill not only learn to use the language, they willlearn to develop critical thinking skills as they tryto express their own cultural and personalexperiences through language and other. symbolic means05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 4
  • 5. Web-based group projects can also enhance higher-order -thinking skills in a similar fashion. These projects enablestudents to learn critical thinking when they critique,negotiate, challenge or agree with ideas of others)Arnold & Ducate, 2006(. Contrary to the traditional ESLclassrooms, with the use of technology, students candevelop skills in both researching and thinking criticallywhen finding information from resources on theInternet. They also have opportunities to use the targetlanguage through reading web pages, writingpresentations, listening to peers‘ opinions, and .discussing ideas on interesting issues05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 5
  • 6. ?) What is ) WEBQUESTS – WebQuest  an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information usedby learners is drawn from the Web)Dodge, 1998( -- could thereforeprovide the teacher with a pre- defined activity equipped withexisting databases for the teachersto explore and adapt to suit their.students and the class objectives05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 6
  • 7. WebQuest is a term coined by Bernie Dodge and described as”an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or allof the information that learnersinteract with comes from resources ”on the Internet05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 7
  • 8. a scaffolded learning structure that uses”links to essential resources on the WorldWide Web and an authentic task tomotivate students‘ investigation of acentral, open-ended question,development of individual expertise, andparticipation in a final group process thatattempts to transform newly acquiredinformation into a more sophisticated “understanding05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 8
  • 9. In order to complete the main task of a-WebQuest, students use informationfrom various sources to form their ownopinions and share them with their groupmembers to create a final project, usuallyin the form of an oral presentation and/orwritten materials such as brochures, .newsletters, or websites05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 9
  • 10. :WebQuests -are designed to further several learning -concepts. Their four underlying constructs are:)1( critical thinking; )2( knowledge application;)3( social skills; and )4( scaffolded learning)March, 2007(. In sum, WebQuests are inquiry-oriented, group work-centered, higher orderthinking-focused, and selected Internet source-.)heavy )Dodge, 199805/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 10
  • 11. The procedures to complete the task .included a number of stepsFirst, the teacher introduced the students to the topic of theWebQuest and informed them of the task )Democracy and human rights ( theyneeded to complete using the Introduction and the Task.pages on the WebQuestSecond, the teacher guided the students through the pre-activity discussion to activate their prior knowledge, as .mentioned earlierThen, the students were directed to gather information forthe role each was taking by reading the articles provided .on the WebQuest05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 11
  • 12. During this step, the students read the articles with theirpeers who took the same role. )This sub-activity couldbe seen as a scaffolding for reading the articles and).understanding the roleNext, students worked with their group members to pooltheir research findings and develop PowerPointpresentation slides that explained their position on the .issue with supporting evidenceFinally, the students presented their opinions on the issueto the class using PowerPoint slides. The students werealso asked to write a journal entry on the issue as .homework05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 12
  • 13. These steps, therefore, scaffolded the.students to answer the main issueA good WebQuest focuses on an issue with multiple facets, such as social,political, and/or environmental, andrequires more than information gathering;students must process the information inorder to form their opinions )March, .)199805/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 13
  • 14. March )1998( asserts that the main question onthe WebQuest requires students to transforminformation collected from online resources intosomething new. This process invites students toconsider an issue, compare and synthesizeinformation to form a hypothesis, and suggest asolution. Additionally, scaffolding techniques, inthe form of specific sub-tasks on the WebQuest,prompt students to engage in higher levels of .thinking05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 14
  • 15. WebQuests and collaborative learningCollaborative learning refers to an instructional method in which students work in small groupsfor the purpose of achieving an academic goal.The active exchange of ideas within smallgroups not only helps students learn but alsostimulates critical thinking )Totten, Sills, Digby,&Russ, 1991(. It allows students to learn fromothers‘ .) skills and experiences )Gokhale, 199505/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 15
  • 16. WEBQUESTS RUBRICSRubrics can be used to assess appropriate:WebQuests for students The rubric took into accountfive aspects,namely vocabulary and grammar, contentknowledge, level of interest, assistance,and task demand, to examine whether aWebQuest would be beneficial for EFL .students05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 16
  • 17. WEBQUESTS STRATEGIES five types of web-based :teaching strategies namely nominal-1 ,group ,debate-2 ,brainstorming-3 invited guest, and-405/20/12 .WebQuest-5 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 17
  • 18. ? WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKINGEnnis )1989( defines critical thinking as-“reasonable reflective thinking focused on “deciding what to believe or doMcPeck )1990( believes that critical thinking is-subject-specific with respect to particular .knowledge in certain fieldsFor Paul )1990(, critical thinking is not only-viewed as analytical and evaluative, it is also considered“the art of thinking about your “thinking05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 18
  • 19. Critical thinking can be seen as an exercise -in higher order thinking skills, associatedwith the ability to think logically based onevaluated information according to certain .criteria05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 19
  • 20. In summary, the body of research discussedin this chapter suggests that WebQuesthas potential to generate critical thinkingamong students in various subjects and .classroom contexts05/20/12 Dr.Magdy M. Aly 20