WebQuests are probably the most talked-about and widely used Web-based activities in today's classrooms. What are WebQuests? What accounts for their popularity? And how can you use -- and create -- WebQuests in your own classroom?
A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge at San Diego State University in February, 1995.
WebQuests are designed to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation."
"With many research projects, students feel that they are sucking up information and regurgitating it onto paper for no other reason than to get a good grade. WebQuests give students a task that allows them to use their imagination and problem-solving skills. The answers are not predefined and therefore must be discovered or created. Students must use their own creative-thinking and problem-solving skills to find solutions to problems. Communication, group work, problem solving, and critical and creative thinking skills are becoming far more important in today's world than having students memorize predetermined content."
A WebQuest is NOT:
A substitute for instruction
The best way to teach factual recall, simple procedures, or definitions.
Easily designed for earlier grades (sorry K-2 teachers!)
Just because you’re using the computer, doesn’t make it a WebQuest!
Some poorly designed WebQuests are no more than a bunch of questions that lead students on a scavenger hunt or involve simple calculations.
A WebQuest must involve higher-level thinking and a transfer of information from one intellectual domain to another.
A good WebQuest should have students take information in and transform it, using their own judgment and creative problem-solving techniques.
Look Who’s Footing the Bill
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 are the benefits of WebQuests?
Tomorrow's workers and citizens will need to be able to grapple with ambiguity.
They will need to commit themselves to a lifelong process of learning, honoring multiple perspectives and evaluating information before acting on it.
Tomorrow's workers and citizens are sitting in our classrooms today.
Using WebQuests in our classrooms can help build a solid foundation that prepares them for the future.
The Introduction orients students and captures their interest.
The Task describes the activity's end product.
The Process explains strategies students should use to complete the task.
The Resources are the Web sites students will use to complete the task.
The Evaluation measures the results of the activity.
The Conclusion sums up the activity and encourages students to reflect on its process and results.
The goal of the introduction is to make the activity desirable and fun for students.
The student is the intended audience.
Example: Hey, kids! Let’s go to the beach! Wait a second…there’s a sign that reads, “Danger, Beach Closed. Can you figure out why the beach is in trouble?
The task is a formal description of what students will have accomplished by the end of the WebQuest.
Don't list the steps that students will go through. That belongs in the Process section.
Developing the task is the most difficult and creative aspect of creating a WebQuest. The task should be visually and aesthetically appealing, inherently important, and fun for the students.
This is a description of the steps learners should go through in accomplishing the task, with links embedded in each step.
Scaffolding includes clear steps, resources, and tools for organizing information.
A list of the resources (bookmarked Web sites, print resources, etc.) that your students will need to complete the task.
In older WebQuests, you'll find the resources listed in a section of their own. More recent WebQuests have the resources embedded within the Process section, to be accessed at the appropriate time.
Non-Web resources can also be used.
Each WebQuest needs a rubric for evaluating students' work. The standards should be fair, clear, consistent, and specific to the tasks set.
allows for reflection by the students and summation by the teacher.
Summarizes what learners will have accomplished or learned.
May include rhetorical questions or additional links to encourage them to extend their thinking into other content beyond this lesson.