Thursday, August 20, 2009
WebQuest - A chance to discover!!
The Webquest is one area of technology that I am somewhat familiar with, having just completed a presentation on their uses, and I have also created a few of these in my past two years of university. For those of you digital immigrants that are a little unsure about Webquests I hope this provides a bit more clarity.
Webquests are a ‘teacher created’ digital instructional tool of the 21st century, which guide a student’s work via specific web-based resources (Dodge, 2007). As the name suggests, ‘Web’ refers to using the World Wide Web, and ‘Quest’, refers to the objectives which students are to accomplish. A good WebQuest is built around an engaging and doable task that elicits higher order thinking in students, as the task puts more responsibility on the learners themselves (March,2003). This encourages co-operative student interaction as they formulate solutions to their tasks, based on ideas gleaned from inquiry and constructivism.
One of the key benefits of Webquest is that the teacher can have the students work in large groups, small groups or even individually. This makes Webquests ideal in any schooling situation. The only resources you require are a computer and an internet connection. This makes it accessible for those schools with limited resources as well as the larger more technologically privileged schools.
My only problem with this technology is to do with the process of creating a Webquest. Building my own Webquest last year with a peer was a rewarding yet time-consuming task. Our major problem was the time wasted trying to get the layout of the Webquest correct, for it seemed that whenever we placed a picture down, it would move as soon as it went to webview. This may have been due to the fact that we used Microsoft Word as our program; I would like to trial the software again, using a different program.
Webquests are an engaging tool and align perfectly with the three key principles of Kearsley and Schneiderman’s (1998) engagement theories:
Relate – Having students work in collaboration with their peers.
Create – The presentation of an authentic real-life problem requiring them to conduct their own investigation to solve the problem.
Donate – With the use of an authentic task to be solved, students will – in effect – be working towards making a useful contribution.
Overall, Webquests are a technology that I have used in the classroom in the past, and will continue to use. Unless you have an excessive amount of time however, I would not recommend creating your own website but rather searching for pre-made Webquests that match your requirements. The exploration of different Webquest creation programs is something I am highly interested in, and with any luck in my future blogs I will be able to direct you to a more user-friendly system.
Dodge, B (2007). What is a WebQuest? Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from
March, T (2003). The learning power of WebQuests. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from
Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory. Citing computer references. Retrieved August 18, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm