What is a Webquest ? A Webquest is an inquiry-oriented onlinetool for learning, says workshop expert BernieDodge . This means it is a classroom-basedlesson in which most or all of the informationthat students explore and evaluate comesfrom the World Wide Web .
What is a Webquest ?Beyond that, WebQuests:• can be as short as a single class period or as long as a month-long unit;• usually (though not always) involve group work, with division of labor among students who take on specific roles or perspectives;• are built around resources that are preselected by the teacher. Students spend their time USING information, not LOOKING for it.
What is inquiry-based learning? An old adage states:"Tell me and I forget, Show me and I remember, Involve me and I understand.“ The last part of this statement is the essence of inquiry-based learning . Inquiry implies involvement that leads to understanding.
How does it workA webquest is an assignment which asks studentsto use the World Wide Web to learn about and/orsynthesize their knowledge about a specific topic.A “true” webquest requires synthesis of the newknowledge by accomplishing a “task,” often tosolve a hypothetical problem or address a real-world issue
How does it work•The assignment can be given on paper, certainlythe simplest and most portable option.•A webquest assignment can also be given on theweb itself by sending students to a web pagewhich serves as the "home base" for the student’sinformation search.•You can also present a webquest using someother multi-media software such as Hyperstudioor Powerpoint.
The quality of your webquest depends onthe ideas and thought that go into in morethan on flashy presentation technologies.It’s easy to create a mediocrewebquest, and it’s far more difficult tocreate quest that really works well.
Why should you take the time to create awebquest? The best reason is that, likeany carefully planned lesson, a goodwebquest makes learning interesting foryour students. Beyondthat, however, several other factors makewebquests a powerful learning tool.
• First, a good webquest puts the power of the web behind your topic.• Webquests are a way to let students work at their own pace, either individually or in teams.• A webquest lets students explore selected areas in more depth, but within limits that you have selected.
• Webquests offer a different, more dynamic approach to teaching the value of research.• Webquests can also increase the "comfort level" of students using the Internet for learning activities.
Characteristics of a Good Webquest So what makes a webquest a success? 1- First and foremost, a well-designed webquest puts content in context. It lets students learn about a topic as part of a larger framework. In some cases, a webquest can also let students explore a topic as part of an interdisciplinary unit .
Characteristics of a Good Webquest 2- Most webquests also have a "hook." This can be a treasure hunt, a game, or some other activity which is embedded in your quest. The simplest "hook" is the collection of facts and information from the various sites which make up the quest. The student or team with the most information then becomes the winner.
Characteristics of a Good Webquest 3- Good webquests also rely on material that is age and ability appropriate. The web contains everything from nursery rhymes to postdoctoral papers, and finding information that is written and presented at a level that will appeal to your students can be one of the most challenging aspects of creating a webquest.
Characteristics of a Good Webquest 4- Webquests can be collaborative. Students can work individually or in teams, depending on classroom circumstances and your preference.
Characteristics of a Good Webquest 5- A good webquest is also highly visual. The web is a visual medium, and your presentation will be far stronger if it includes sites with lots of pictures, maps, animations, or even sounds. These are teaching tools that keep students’ interest.
Characteristics of a Good Webquest 6- Good webquests are easy to use. Students should be able to move easily from one location to the next without a lot of tedious mouse-work. This is one reason that a webquest which is itself a web page can be attractive.
Characteristics of a Good Webquest 7- Even the best webquest won’t help much if it doesn’t relate to the rest of your class materials. The more closely your webquest ties into the rest of your in-class content, the more powerful it will be in helping your students learn the topic – regardless of how and where it is presented.
Characteristics of a Good Webquest 8- Finally, a well-designed webquest contains some sort of built-in evaluation mechanism. This frequently relates to the hook or task that students must complete as part of the quest, but it may also include other tasks or assignments.
Before You BeginBefore you even turn your computer on, thinkabout your webquest in the way you would anyother lesson and ask these questions :
Before You Begin•What do I want my students to learn as a result ofthis lesson?•Why is this information important?•Where does the information fit into the specificcontext of this unit?•How does this information fit into the broadercurriculum? How can this information help studentsmake connections across subject areas?
Designing for LimitationsBefore you begin designing your webquest,you should also consider the operatingconstraints under which the quest will beused. If you ignore this practical, nuts andbolts stuff now, your quest may not come offin the way you want it to. For example,consider the following:
Designing for Limitations•If you want students to work on the webquests inclass, will you have enough computers? Should youhave students work in teams rather than individually?•If you’ll be using a computer lab, will the webquestinstructions be compatible with lab rules abouttalking, etc.?•If you’re allowing young students to work on awebquest at home, do you have some assurance thatparents will be on hand to support and supervise theactivity?
Whats Included?Once you have figured out the instructionalobjectives for your webquest, what elementsshould that quest have to be effective? Awell-designed webquest will include at leastthe following three elements:
Whats Included?1- A "road map." This is the list of web sitesor locations which you want your students tovisit. This section should include anintroduction which explains the purpose of thewebquest and the object of thesearch, hunt, or other "hook" that you’ve builtinto your quest.
Whats Included?2- A task sheet. Depending on the structure ofyour quest, this sheet could be a scoringmechanism, answer sheet, or even a list ofclues. Regardless of the precisestructure, however, this sheet is used to recordthe results of the quest. There may be onesheet per student or one pergroup, depending on how you want studentsto complete the assignment.
Whats Included?3- A summary presentation. Good webquestsrequire students to show what they havelearned. Age, ability, time, and circumstanceswill all govern how much latitude you giveyour students in presenting their findings.
What are the essential parts of a WebQuest?1. Top2. Introduction3. Task4. Process5. Resources6. Evaluation7. Conclusion8. Teachers Page
What do I need to create a WebQuest?• Web editor .• Web server available to post your WebQuest.• Computers with Internet access .
The Search BeginsNow that you have defined the elements of yourwebquest, you’re ready to begin locatingmaterials to include.
Reviewing Search ResultsOnce you have an interesting-looking list of searchresults, you can do some initial detective workeven before you start looking at individual sites.1. Check the URLs .2. URLs which include a tilde "~“3. Check member sites and questionable sources.4. What’s the Site’s Intent?5. Check the Reading Level6. What About Other Students’ Work?7. Dealing with Bias.
Once you have selected a group of sites that fityour needs, take a look at them as a group.•Are there common themes or contrasts thatyour webquest could incorporate?•Do the various sites offer differentopinions, approaches, or perspectives on thetopic?The strength of a webquest is its ability to
Trying the Finished ProductWhen you first try out your webquest with yourclass, don’t expect the results to be perfect. Like anylesson, a webquest may take a little tweaking to getright.•If they want more•If they don’t get it•If they get bored•If they can’t follow the directions•If the computers don’t work•If a site is down
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