“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 with early input from SDSU/Pacific Bell Fellow Tom March, the Educational Technology staff at San Diego Unified School District, and waves of participants each summer at the Teach the Teachers Consortium.
Since those beginning days, tens of thousands of teachers have embraced WebQuests as a way to make good use of the internet while engaging their students in the kinds of thinking that the 21st century requires. The model has spread around the world, with special enthusiasm in Brazil, Spain, China, Australia and Holland”
However, as a university teacher at the grade school level, it is very clear many students who plan to teach have no idea what a WebQuest is or how to use them. Last week when I asked 24 graduate students in our google doc pretest for the course to “Explain what a “WebQuest” is and explain the parts required to use one?” Three students mentioned they had heard of them, but could not explain them. Only one student was able to define and explain the parts. This raises some interesting questions for the future of education. Teach WebQuest is not in this course syllabus, but I believe they should have an understanding of them and how to engage students in the content with WebQuest. I will make time to address this concept in the course.
WebQuests have five major parts: Introduction, task, process, resources, and conclusion. The introduction provides some background on the topic and the hook to pull students in. It should raise some motivating questions and get them excited about the topic. The Task defines what the student will do. WebQuests often have group collaboration to them, so this is where the roles or jobs are explained. It will also explain what they need to accomplish during the WebQuest. The Process is a numbered statement of what needs to be accomplished. This could be the guided reading type questions or projects that need to be completed. The fourth part resources are just that the prepicked (by you) places students can find the information they need to complete the tasks. The conclusion is summative and rhetorical in natural. I usually add a sixth section: evaluation. This should provide a rubric for students to understand how their work will be graded before they begin. Not all WebQuest online have this section. They also at times combined the process and task page. Individual teachers can adjust the assignment, if they hold true to the concept.
WebQuests are great learning tools--see this link for more details. WebQuests prompt many types of learning strategies, such as: Motivation Theory, Constructivism, Defferentiated Learning, Situated Learning, Thematic Instruction, Learner-Centered psychological principles, and Questioning at a higher level.
Teachers who are thinking of using WebQuests should check out the following site and examples:
David Carpenter’s work
Discovery Education on WebQuests
List of WebQuest by content and grade level
Google Scholar search engine for WebQuest research, articles, examples.
If you know of a great WebQuest…post the link below.