Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies/WebQuests
A WebQuest is a lesson in the format of a questionnaire. The main goal is to ask students to find and work with information from the web. It was created by Bernie Dodge at San Diego State University in February, 1995. Dodge is also the author of a number of educational software packages for children and technology tools for educators.
Technologically speaking creating a WebQuest is very simple. The only thing you need to know is how to create a document with hyperlinks so it can be created in Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. A webquest should have critical attributes.
A webquest needs the following components:
- Introduction: Provides background information.
- Task: It is a formal description of the goal of the project. First the teacher has to find resources from the web for a specific topic. Then she/he creates an activity for students that has this information; it should be interesting. It is useful to show students an example of a project.
- Process: Description of the steps students should follow with the links included in each step.
- Resources: List of resources students need to do the task. Non- web resources can also be used.
- Conclusion: It is for reflection. The teacher encourages students to suggest ways of improving the task.
- Teacher Page
Teaching and learning possibilities
A webquest is based on ideas of inquiry and constructivism. The teacher can use the webquest as a way to engage students in the learning process while surfing the internet. It is a very useful tool for teachers because it encourages students to use higher level of thinking, not simply summarizing. This includes synthesis, analysis, problem-solving, creativity and judgment.
It also creates collaborative and cooperative learning, since students work on projects in groups.
The student is required to make good use of the web. It is based on real resources from the web; it is not just a traditional lesson . Books and other media can also be used within a WebQuest, but if the web is not at the heart of the lesson, it is not a WebQuest.
While WebQuests can be applied to a wide range of topics, they are not equally appropriate for everything. You would not use a WebQuest to teach the times table, the chemical symbols in the top two lines of the periodic table, or the state flags of New England. In other words, do not use WebQuests to teach factual pieces of information.
These could be examples of the topic in which a teacher can create a webquest:
What should be done to protect America's coral reefs?
What kinds of people were most likely to survive the sinking of the Titanic? Why?
What was it like to live during the American Gold Rush?
What would Mark Twain think about the lives that children live today?
Created by Bernie Dodge provides a step-by-step guidance with useful examples. You can attach Word, PowerPoint, etc to your WebQuest. You can also use and modify an existing WebQuest from one of the members to create yours.
Other Online Authoring Systems
It's free of charge. It is a fill-in-the-blank tool that guides you through picking a topic, searching the Internet, gathering good Internet links, and turning them into online learning activities. Sample Product: Italian Unification
zWebQuest (Previously called Instant Webquest)
http://www.zunal.com/. Is free of charge. It is a web based software for creating WebQuests in a short time. Sample product: The Fantastic Four World War III.
Ii's a free of charge Webquest Generator that allows teachers to create webquests without the need of writing any HTML code or using web page editors. The program supports images uploading. A HTML editor is provided in order to format the texts for the pages. Must be installed on your own server. Sample project: La Catedral de Madrid
Online tool for creating simple WebQuests, especially appropriate for younger elementary students. Cost: $27/year. Sample product: Colonial America
There is a full variety of topics to work on webquest with students.
There is an interesting interview with the creator of the webquest Bernie Dodge The following is an extract of the interview:
EW: How long did it take you to develop the WebQuest format? Dodge: A few weeks later -- pretty much all in one sitting -- I put together a template, set up in the same way I ...
This is the webquest that Tom March developed and that Bernie Dodge makes reference in his interview
This site helps teachers to adapt existing webquest to their needs.
These are rubrics, sets of instructions, to help teacher to evaluate the task. She/he can do it along with the students.
- The following are the resources used in the assignment: