inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that
students interact with comes from resources on the Internet.
We need to review some basic information about WebQuests.
There are basically two types of WebQuests, short term and long term.
A short term WebQuest
lasts one to three periods or days and its goal is basic knowledge
acquisition. A good short term WebQuest will also include some
type of subject integration.
A long term WebQuest
takes between one week and on month to complete. A well planned
long term WebQuest involves "extending and refining
of a WebQuest
The purpose of the introduction is to make the students aware
of the upcoming problem they will be exposed to. It is also hoped
that the introduction will grab the student's interest and motivate them
The task section is similar to the more familiar learner
objective we use in our lesson planning. The task includes a
description of what the learner will have learned and completed at the
conclude of the WebQuest. It may simply be the better
understanding of the assigned problem or a concrete project (webpage,
Hyperstudio stack, PowerPoint slide presentation) demonstrating what the
learner achieved as a result of the project. Bernie Dodge has just
published a list of tasks types that can be used in different WebQuests.
You might want to look at these to help generate your own ideas for
WebQuest creation. Visit
WebQuest Taskonomy: A Taxonomy of Tasks.
In the process section the teacher should give a recommended
list of steps that learners may go through to achieve their goal.
Many WebQuests include cooperative grouping so this section also tells
the students what different roles are available to play within each
group. It is hear that the teacher can also include information
about how to effectively research, work with others, share the workload,
etc. The younger the students the more directive one will need to
be. Teachers may allow older students to vear from the specified
path if it looks like the students have found another way to complete
the task. Of course this requires the teacher to be in constant
contact with each of the groups and how they are progressing. On
some pages about WebQuests by Dodge and March they also refer to this
section of the WebQuest as "guidance".
This is the part of the process that may overwhelm some
teachers that are moving to more constructivist approaches to teaching
and learning. It is the teacher's job to sort through all the
materials they have or can find on the given topic/problem that will
valuable for the students. These resources are certainly not
limited to the Internet. In fact, finding the right type of
information on the Internet (accurate, accessible to students) may also
be a lesson in futility and frustration. Unfortunately
the Internet still has a long way to go in terms of making it easy to
find information. It certainly has become easier with
user-friendly search tools (www.google.com,
but the fact remains searching several hundred million pages for the
information and materials you are looking for can be a mind-boggling if
not overwhelming task.
The evaluation section only appears in later WebQuest
publications. It is so new that Dodge and March don't point to
many examples on the web to illustrate what this section involves in an
actual WebQuest. Basically Dodge and March say that if we spend
time doing a learning activity in the class we need to be able to
evaluate the learning that we hope took place. Since most
WebQuests involve high thinking skills evaluating the learning can be
difficult for teachers with a standard pencil and paper test.
Dodge and March stress the importance of developing learning rubrics to
use for evaluation.
The conclusion section (described my Dodge and March as
optional) is where a teacher can debrief the students....review what was
learned and gather feedback about the whole learning process. When
writing a concluding section a teacher might suggest related topics that
students may want to pursue on their own as well as discussion questions
to answer in class. This can be an extremely valuable step as this
is where the teacher is able to review what was learned with the
students again able to get a sense of what students learned.
WebQuests' goals and attributes are easily aligned to those of
constructivist theories of education as well as problem-based learning.
save Time and Aggravation": Lets be honest - there is an
infinite amount of information out on the web. There is a catch
however - the majority of it is not good!!! Problems with internet
searches for information are as numerous as the stars in the
sky... As a teacher/facilitator, you can limit your students to
the information that you feel is suitable. This will eliminate the
time students waste looking for good sites.
"WebQuests are authentic":
The central question or problem involved with a quality Webquest is one
that entices students to find an answer. It is a question that
needs to be answered. It may be the type of real world problem
that students will have to solve in their everyday life. Real
world problems are authentic, meaningful, engaging problems that
students will embrace. At least that is our assumption....if we make the
materials more challenging....the students will rise to meet those
increase motivation": Along with having authentic tasks to
complete comes the idea that if students are given some control in the
learning process they will take more responsibility for it and will thus
be more motivated. Another factor involved in WebQuests that leads
to greater student motivation is the fact that students get to work with
"real" resources. Students can go outside the textbook
to acquire some of their information. They can be exposed and
gather information from a variety of resources. The Internet will
provide access to many of these sub-resources. For some students
working on the Internet in any way, shape, or form is motivating.
WebQuests allow educators to focus the general "Internet is
cool" motivation to high quality learning resources.
require higher order thinking skills": Granted, WebQuests
can be used for simple information retrieval, but one of their greatest
potential strengths is that they require students to interact with
information in powerful ways. WebQuests require students to
analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information and to often create a
something that demonstates the student's learning. Teachers can
incorporate scaffolding techniques into their procedure section to help
step students in a direction that leads to high-level thinking.
incorporate cooperative learning": Because many of the
questions or problems posed in WebQuests (especially long-term) are
difficult to answer it is unrealistic to expect each student to complete
each step of the process or to master all that has to be learned.
Rather it is a much better use of educational time to develop problem
solving groups with each student having a specific group that they are
responsible to for completing to assist their group.