Finding Great Webquests

 

Where Are the WebQuests?

If you are like many teachers, you are searching for ways to incorporate the vast power of the internet into your classroom.You want to offer your students solid experiential learning activities that tap into the higher order thinking skills from the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Project-based learning is the educational wave of the day!

Jump on the bandwagon by using webquests with your class. Webquests typically are group projects that set up a task to be completed using online and print resources. The final product often includes a webpage built by students to show what they have discovered and learned. You can create your own webquest, or you can find examples that have been posted by experienced webquest designers and other teachers. A quick search of the internet will yield thousands of links, so teachers need to develop a system to evaluate the quality of the webquests they find.

 Judging Webquest Quality

Like most content from the internet (and even from print!), quality of webquests can vary dramatically. Even high quality webquests also must match the needs and circumstances of your classroom, too. The first criterion for a webquest, then, is that it match with your students, curriculum and circumstances. Choose resources designed for your grade level, that match your students’ level of internet experience, and that cover topics related to your curriculum. The best webquests are interdisciplinary in nature, so you might be able to find examples that could be joint projects across several curricular areas.

Secondly, webquests should have clear assignment and directions sections. They should have well-written rubrics to use in evaluating the final product(s). All links, web references, and required printed materials need to be current and readily available.

A good webquest moves students beyond the lowest levels of learning (rote memorization and regurgitation of simple facts) and into analysis, critique, evaluation and synthesis. It should challenge your students at a number of levels so that all can participate and benefit, from struggling students who need more academic assistance to talented students who need wider and deeper challenges.

Finally, the webquest needs to have a realistic and relevant end product. Preferably, it offers a range of evaluation projects that allow students to respond in ways most suited to their particular combination of strengths and skills. Need some further guidance? Check out Webquest 101.

Sources for Webquests

Many schools and colleges have collections of webquests available for free online. Museums are another likely source to check for ready-made webquests. Use your favorite search engine and type in your preferred grade level, subject area, and key words related to your desired topic. You will find a wealth of suggestions to choose from!

Large collections of ready-made webquests can also be found at the following sites:

TeachersFirst.com

Webquest.org

Webquest examples

Be sure to evaluate the webquests that you find online for appropriateness and quality by looking at the entire program and trying activities yourself. Once you find suitable webquests, you might want to bookmark the source so that you can find additional materials. Have fun exploring this great new learning tool!

What’s a Webquest?

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.

Why WebQuests?

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.

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