Learn About WebQuests
More and more, teachers are expected to incorporate technology into their curriculum. Our fast-paced society now demands that even young children become technologically literate, and no one can be fully educated without developing skills in this area. WebQuests are one way to meet not only these needs, but also to engage students in higher level thinking skills on a routine basis. A good WebQuest helps children learn and also gets them analyzing, critiquing, evaluating and synthesizing. Many are available on the internet, free of charge or for a fee, but in order to choose or create the best possible WebQuest for your students, you need to educate yourself about exactly what a WebQuest is.
WebQuest Background Information
WebQuests are inquiry and project-based teaching tools that primarily utilize internet resources to help students discover, understand, apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate. They were the brainchild of Bernie Dodge of San Diego State University in 1995, and intended to help teachers take advantage of the teaching power of the internet. The idea has caught on around the world, and now there are WebQuests available for all ages and subjects, from elementary level through collegiate topics. There are a host of sites dedicated to helping teachers create their own WebQuests and publish them to share with other teachers.
A WebQuest Primer
WebQuests are generally group projects, but can be completed by individuals. They generally follow a specific structure: starting with an introduction or scenario, a task to be completed, instructions to be followed, internet resources to use or find, and concluding with a product or presentation. Part of the final response for a WebQuest is often creation of a webpage to display its outcome and results. The students’ output is graded on the basis of a predefined and publicized rubric, so everyone knows exactly what is expected for the final product. WebQuests can be short-term or long-term projects. Small WebQuests for younger or less experienced pupils might be completed in two to four class periods or work sessions. Larger projects might last for a week or a month or even longer. Professor T. J. Kopcha has posted an introductory video that explains WebQuests succinctly and clearly.
Perhaps our most important tasks as educators is to give students the tools they need to uncover new and relevant information, organize it, analyze it, and utilize it. Learners need to know how to effectively share what they’ve found out in whatever medium they choose. The internet is rapidly becoming the tool of choice for learning, research, and even presentation in many cases, so we need to adjust our curriculum and our expectations to include it. WebQuests provide the perfect opportunity to embrace the internet and all of its resources, engage students in active learning, encourage higher order thinking skills, and offer multiple mediums for publication or response.
Want more information about WebQuests or any other educational topic? Please leave a comment below!