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:
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!