Class 33: Introduction to WebQuest

Both your reflection page of iMovie and your reflection on a reviewed WebQuest are due today.
It's registration time for our undergraduates so you might want to know about EDIT 5500: Technology Enhanced Learning Environments that will be offered T/Th 12:30-1:45 during Spring Semester. It is one of the core courses for the Technology Integration Certificate Program.

Today will be a quick review of Webquests. I want you to have enough information to complete the project and have enough time as well.

Generally, a good WebQuest topic should have some inherent complexity, such as controversial issues, multiple perspectives, unknowns, etc. The topic needs to have your students take information in and transform it, using their own judgement and creative problem-solving techniques -- a LoTi level 4 or higher -- the learning should be authentic.
Certain topics tend to lend themselves more to the WebQuest format than others.

All WebQuests follow a set structure with an Introduction, Task, Resource, Process, Evaluation, and Conclusion.

What is a webquest?

A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented online tool for learning, says workshop expert Bernie Dodge

  • This means it is a classroom-based lesson in which most or all of the information that students explore and evaluate comes from the World Wide Web.
  • Beyond that, it can be as short as a single class period or as long as a month-long unit; usually involves group work, with division of labor among students who take on specific roles or perspectives; are built around resources that are preselected by the teacher.
  • Students spend their time USING information, not LOOKING for it.

***I require that your project is longer than one class period and is to be completed by students working in teams!***

What are its main characteristics?

There are six critical components in a WebQuest but I also require you to include a teacher resources page.


1. Provides background information and motivational scenarios like giving students roles to play provides an overview of the learning goals to students
2. The infusion from other media (prints, posters, models) and guest lecturers (other faculty members, parents, business leaders, experts, etc.) adds real-world components to online investigations. This is very important because depending on technology alone to convey the meaning of a lesson tends to create a sense of unreality.
3. Adding "introductory" types of information and material throughout the duration of the WebQuest keeps students fully engaged.

A sample of introduction


1. A formal description of what students will have accomplished by the end of the WebQuest.
2. To create a task the teacher must find resources for a particular topic on the Web.
3. The teacher must devise an activity for the students that incorporates the information from the various sites.
4. Developing this task -- or the main research question -- is the most difficult and creative aspect of creating a WebQuest.
HINT: A task should be visually and aesthetically appealing, inherently important (global warming, acid rain, welfare policy, etc.), and fun for the students.
5. A successful project can be reused by the teacher several times (either with a different class or the next semester).

A sample work of Task description

1. This is a description of the steps learners should go through in accomplishing the task, with links embedded in each step.
2. The demonstration takes the students through the process step-by-step and reinforces written directions.

A sample work of Process
Resources: (sometimes they are also called "credits")

1. This section of the WebQuest consists of a list of the resources (bookmarked Web sites, print resources, etc.) that your students will need to complete the task.
2. WebQuests are enhanced by materials that supplement the online resources. These can include things like videos, audio cassettes, books, posters, maps, models, etc.

A sample of resources page


1. Each WebQuest needs a rubric for evaluating students' work. The standards should be fair, clear, consistent, and specific to the tasks set.
HINT: Many of the theories of assessment, standards, and constructivism apply to WebQuests: clear goals, matching assessments to specific tasks, and involving the learners in the process of evaluation are all concepts from earlier workshops that apply here.
2. During the introductory stage of the WebQuest, it can be very helpful to point out three types of student examples: exemplary, acceptable, and unacceptable. The range between exemplary and acceptable work may be great and will spur the students to strive for excellence, while the demonstration of what constitutes unacceptable work will set clear minimum standards for all to achieve. The goal is for all students to have a good experience of the project.

Sample of Evaluation page


1. This step allows for reflection by the students and summation by the teacher.
2. Setting aside time for discussion of possible extensions and applications of the lesson honors the constructivist principle: "We learn by doing -- but we learn even better by talking about what we did."
3. During the concluding section of a WebQuest, you can encourage your students to suggest ways of doing things differently to improve the lesson.

A sample work of Conclusion page

Teacher Page:(Remember, the audience for this document is other teachers, not students)

The teacher's page section of a WebQuest provides additional information to any teacher who might want to use your WebQuest in their own classroom. This page is helpful in providing data needed for lesson plans. It should include:

1. A brief explanation of the WebQuest. Ex. What are the student's researching?

2. The selected Georgia Performance standard and grade level for the designed WebQuest.

3. A list of the prerequisites and materials needed for the WebQuest.

4. What skills does a teacher need in order to pull this lesson off? Is it easy enough for a novice teacher? Does it require some experience with directing debates or role plays, for example?

5. List here the sources of any images, music or text that you're using (with permission, of course). Provide links back to the original source. Say thanks to anyone who provided resources, help or inspiration.

6. Include this: "We all benefit by being generous with our work. Permission is hereby granted for other educators to copy this WebQuest, update or otherwise modify it, and post it elsewhere provided that the original author's name is retained along with a link back to the original URL of this WebQuest. On the line after the original author's name, you may add Modified by (your name) on (date)."

A sample work of Teacher page

In Summary a WebQuest is:

1. A clear, concise introduction that provides necessary information and sets up the activity.

2. An interesting and concrete central task.

3. A collection of information resources needed.

4. A step-by-step description of the process to be used for the task.

5. Guidelines on how to organize the information acquired (questions that should be answered, etc.); this will be the backbone for the Web site students create.

6. A closing lesson that reviews what the students have learned and how it can be brought to bear on other subjects.

7. The teacher resources page includes the standards that are addressed, the appropriate grade level and directions on how the teacher can use the webquest for their classroom.

WebQuest Resources:
Some Thoughts About WebQuests
Building Blocks of a Webquest
The Webquest Design Process
Taxonomy of WebQuest Tasks
WebQuest Rubric
Process Checklist
Concept to Classroom
Searching tips
WebQuest Templates

Sample WebQuests:

Bernie Dodge's Top WebQuests
Middle School WebQuest Matrix
George Mason Univ. WebQuests
Maryland Tech Academy WebQuests
Other examples

Here are some questions to consider as you are working on your WebQuest (you do not need to turn in responses to these questions):
*Is your WebQuest topic authentic in order to engage your students?
*Is your WebQuest task challenging and doable?
*Do your learners need to think independently and critically during the WebQuest activity?
*Is collaboration between your students important for the successful completion of the WebQuest?
*What scaffolds (visual organizers, software tools, prompting questions and suggestions) are provided in your WebQuest?

Before Monday's class:

  • You should have already found a partner for your WebQuest project.
  • You'll want to identify your WebQuest topic. Use this websiteto help you in the selection process. It may be related to work you have already done in our class or work you are currently completing in other courses. It could even be something completely new in your content area. After you have some ideas together, review the WebQuest assignment so that you are clear on what is expected.
On Monday:
Spend the majority class time working on your WebQuest, making sure to check the project description and rubric to ensure you are including all required elements. Have at least 1/4 of your WebQuest completed by Wednesday's class.

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