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All About Webquests (Preview)


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Don't know what a webquest is? Or maybe you know what they are, and you want to know how to make your own? Check out this preview of the eBook, All About Webquests. …

Don't know what a webquest is? Or maybe you know what they are, and you want to know how to make your own? Check out this preview of the eBook, All About Webquests.

It'll give you a nice introduction to the topic, and you'll find out how to get access to the whole book. The book will guide you through the process of creating your own, beautiful, free webquest that you can use in class.

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  • 1. All AboutWebquests What Are They and How Can I Make Them? By Brian Rock
  • 2. All About Webquests:What Are They and How Can I Make Them?By Brian RockTable of Contents About the Author Brian Rock is a high school history teach- er and a graduate student at Rutgers Uni- ӹӹ Introduction 3 versity. He is constantly looking for new ways to incorporate technology into his ӹӹ What Is a Webquest? 5 teaching, and his research at Rutgers fo- cuses on how technology can support ӹӹ What Makes a Good Webquest? 8 learning and teaching in schools. He’s been teaching since 2007. He currently ӹӹ Can I Make My Own Webquest? 12 holds an Ed.M. and expects to graduate with an Ed.D. in 2014. ӹӹ How to Build a Webquest in Wordpress 15 He publishes two websites related to ed- ӹӹ Other Places To Make Free Webquests 36 ucational technology: ӹӹ Get Inspiration from Other Webquests 39 Tech and Teaching is a general edtech blog. There, he shares edtech resources, writes tips for teachers learning to use technology, and surveys research into Hey! This is only a preview of the eBook. Want access to the whole edtech [ ]. book? Rockin’ Webquests is a smaller site, the purpose of which is to highlight good Go to Rockin’ Webquests [ ] and sub- webquests on the Internet and to help scribe to the weekly newsletter. teachers make their own, beautiful sites [ ].
  • 3. IntroductionI’m a teacher, and I’m a technophile. I’ve always loved finding ways to incorporate technol-ogy into my classroom, and webquests were one of the first methods that I learned to do so.I finished my college education and started teaching in 2007. Doesn’t sound like so longago, but in “Internet years” that’s a lifetime! Let me take you back in time to September ofthat year.Youtube was a youngling, and it had belonged to Google for less than a year. Facebook wasstill just for college students, and high school kids were all over Myspace. Twitter didn’t In 2007, the Internet was di-exist and neither did Tumblr. Digg and Stumbleupon were the bookmarking sites du jour, vided pretty cleanly into twoand most of the web 2.0 applications you know and love today weren’t even a twinkle in groups - content producerstheir developers’ eye. and content consumers.Oh, and a few months before I started work, there was no such thing as an iPhone.Today the Internet is a friendly, inclusive place. You can use any number of free servicesto produce, curate, and share content. Not so in 2007. Then, the population of the Internetwas divided pretty cleanly into two groups - content producers and content consumers.Most people, including most teachers, were content consumers.I can’t really remember where or when I learned about webquests. It might have been ingrad school. It might have been in my new teacher orientation. I’m not sure. But when Istarted teaching in September 2007, I loved the idea.There was only one problem. For most teachers, building a website to be a webquest wasn’tAll About Webquests | Introduction 3
  • 4. so easy. Without all the free services around today, your options were pretty limited.In December, I had a great idea. Why don’t I build a website that allows teachers to createwebquests for free? That’s a great idea!At least, I thought it was. I put together my first attempt at a large scale website, Babel (itdoesn’t exist anymore, but you might be able to find some links or press releases about itif you search hard enough). It was a ton of work, and I realized that I simply didn’t have totime to host a service like that.That’s why start up companies get millions of dollars. I didn’t have millions of dollars. So Ishut down.Fast forward to today. Or least January 1, 2013, when I’m writing the introduction to thisbook. There is no longer a meaningful division between content producers and content Today, we’re all content pro-consumers. We all have Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Tumblr accounts. The technical ducers. And content con-and cost barriers to creating content are gone; all that’s left is teaching people what tools to sumers. The lines have beenuse to get the job done. blurred.Mind you, there are a few services out there that let you make webquests. But they eitherlimit your creativity or charge you money. And the product you get in the end is, to say theleast, fugly. I don’t want to call out any companies by name, but if you’ve tried a “webquest”service, you must know what I mean.I created Rockin’ Webquests and wrote this eBook to solve that problem. There is absolute-ly no reason that a teacher can’t create a beautiful and free webquest to use in class. Techni-cally, it’s a simple process. You just need to be pointed in the right direction, and even themost technophobic person can figure it out!So, keep reading. By the end of this eBook, hopefully you’ll have all the skills you need tocreate an amazing webquest, and you’ll be one step closer to integrating technology in yourclassroom on a regular basis.All About Webquests | Introduction 4
  • 5. What Is a Webquest?Before we get into the nitty gritty details of how to create a webquest, we should probablyspend a little time talking about what a webquest is. If you’re already well versed on thetopic, feel free to jump ahead to the next chapter.I like to think of a webquest as a framework for instructional planning. It’s not really ateaching method, it’s a planning method. The structure can vary a little, but at it’s core awebquest is three things: ӹӹ An inquiry oriented task ӹӹ A curated set of online resources ӹӹ A webpage to guide students through completing their taskIf you can put these three things together into a simple website, then you’ll have a goodwebquest.If you want to get a little more specific, though, the framework was developed by BernieDodge, a professor of Educational Technology at San Diego State University. He wrote While “webquests” have tak-about webquests in a paper in 1995, and his ideas have more or less become canon in terms en on a larger meaning, theof what a webquest is. term and the frameworkMy interpretation of a webquest is that it has six components. were coined by Bernie DodgeFirst, a webquest starts with an introduction. This is the hook, the anticipatory set, the in the mid-1990’s.All About Webquests | What Is a Webquest? 5
  • 6. lead. Your introduction is supposed to reel kids in and make them want to complete yourwebquest. It should intrigue people and make them curious.A good introduction might be a thought provoking question. It might be an evocative im-age with a short description. It could be an audio or video clip that you want kids to listento. Whatever it is, it should be short and attention grabbing.Second, a webquest is defined by its task. While finishing the webquest, students need tocomplete some inquiry oriented task. This could be a general inquiry, or it could be a spe- A webquest is defined bycific problem that needs solved or a project that needs created. it’s task. While finishing aThis drives everything the students do. For example, they might have to conduct an imagi- webquest, students need tonary interview with a historical person. They could rewrite part of a novel after changing a complete some inquiry, proj-key event. Or they need to model the population growth of a city and then determine what ect, or problem based task.kind of policies the city needs to implement for its citizens. Whatever it is, the task shouldbe compelling enough that students want to tackle it.Third, a webquest must provide students with a clear process. It outlines in a very concreteway what students should be doing. The process is kind of like a recipe, telling kids what todo and when to do it.It defines group roles, if there are groups involved. It instructs students in completinggraphic organizers and taking notes during their research. It guides students in applyingtheir research to solve their problem or create their project. It’s a roadmap to success.Fourth, a webquest needs a list of resources. You could just give the students a task and tellthem to go roam the Internet in search of wisdom. But you might be disappointed with theresults.While you can learn just about anything online, it’s a difficult task to sift through the bil-lions of webpages to find what is useful. Teachers are highly educated consumers of infor-mation, and we can tell what is and isn’t useful. Part of planning a webquest is narrowingAll About Webquests | What Is a Webquest? 6
  • 7. down exactly what resources students should have available to them.Fifth, a webquest includes an explanation of how students will be evaluated. This typicallytakes the form of a rubric. Once students have completed their task, they should be ableto assess their own learning and determine whether they deserve an A, a B, or a C. And ifthey haven’t met the requirements of the project and need to revise it, they should knowthat too.Sixth, a webquest closes with a conclusion. That’s just a little bit obvious, isn’t it? Evaluation mechanisms andHere, you should wrap up and help students think about what they’ve learned. The conclu- criteria are important. Grad-sion can also provide students with opportunities to further their learning, improve their ing should not be capricious.projects, or do something else meaningful with what they’ve done. This is the capstone that This is good teaching, andensures a webquest is truly authentic. good webquest design.In a webquest, these six things are combined in a web page. That webpage should be simpleand straightforward with an intuitive set of navigation links. When a kid loads the frontpage of a webquest, he or she should know exactly what to do.In terms of design, this typically means there are two areas - a content area and a naviga-tion area. The content area contains the content for that specific segment of the webquest,like the task. The navigation area is either a single bar on the side or a single bar on the topwith a set of links to each page of the webquest. Simple and minimalist.But please, oh please, don’t make let it be ugly. Minimalist can be pretty, too. Hey! This is only a preview of the eBook. Want access to the whole book? Go to Rockin’ Webquests [ ] and subscribe to the weekly newsletter.All About Webquests | What Is a Webquest? 7