What is a WebQuest?
A WebQuest is "an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the Internet." A WebQuest is designed to:
- use learners' time well,
- focus on using information rather than looking for it, and
- support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
Dodge and March developed the WebQuest during the mid 1990s. Constructivism, the theory that learners can acquire knowledge through discovery and evaluation of information and the formulation of their own meaning, provides the basis of a WebQuest (Dede & Sprague, 1999). WebQuests also stem from the idea of Universal Design for Learning, meaning the materials are created so that they are accessible to everyone.
How can WebQuests help your students?
WebQuests allow teachers to provide students with multiple levels of support within a lesson. Some examples of these supports include using guided notes, using cooperative groups, multiple representations of the content material, authentic documents, and altering the aesthetic principles of the web site itself, such as color and text size. (Kelley, 2000). WebQuests meet the following two requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997:
- accommodating for learners with special needs, and
- providing access to the general education curriculum.
By meeting these requirements and offering built-in supports for students with disabilities, WebQuests can help all students be more successful in the classroom.
How can you implement WebQuests in order to effectively meet the diverse learning needs of students?
A WebQuest can be utilized in almost any subject area, for all age groups, and for almost any ability level. A teacher must analyze the needs of the students who will be interacting with the WebQuest and determine what supports need to be integrated within the lesson. WebQuests can be completed independently, with partners, or in cooperative groups, based upon the ability levels of the students and the design of the lesson.
What are the parts of a WebQuest?
There are six critical parts of a WebQuest. These parts are essential and should be constructed carefully and thoughtfully. According to Dodge (2001) these six components are:
- Introduction - This is where the learner is oriented to what is coming. This section should raise the student's interest by making the topic relevant, visually interesting, important, urgent, and/or fun.
- Task - A description of what the learner will have done at the end of the exercise. This can be a product or a verbal act. It is important that the learner is allowed input into what the task will be and that options are provided.
- Process - Here, the teacher makes suggestions regarding the steps of discovery, including strategies for dividing the task and descriptions of the roles to be played or perspectives to be taken by each learner. A teacher may also provide learning advice, which relates to helping students with interpersonal skills. This is also where an answer sheet or a guided notes template may be included.
- Resources - These can be pre-selected web pages the teacher has located to help the learner accomplish the task at hand. A teacher may choose to create the web pages or to utilize ones already present on the Internet. Other resources, such as books, interviews, and video can be used as well.
- Evaluation - In this section, the teacher not only evaluates the students' progress but the effectiveness of the WebQuest as well. An evaluation rubric is most commonly used for this purpose. Students should be made aware of the assessment process from the very beginning and a copy of the rubric should be included in the WebQuest.
- Conclusion - The conclusion provides an opportunity to:
- summarize the experience,
- encourage reflection about the process,
- extend and generalize what was learned,
- give the learner a sense of closure, and/or
- open a path into the next lesson.
Each of these six sections of a WebQuest may vary in structure and depth, but all should be present and well-planned. These sections are the basis of the lesson and could cause potential problems if not constructed carefully.
What should you do in planning a WebQuest?
Some questions you might want to think about before creating a WebQuest:
- What are the big ideas I want my students to learn as a result of this lesson?
- Why is this information important?
- Where does the information fit into the specific context of this unit?
- How does this information fit into the broader curriculum?
- How can this information help students make connections across subject areas?
- How will the technology enhance the content materials?
- How can the technology make the assignment more accessible to all students?
It is crucial to make sure that the technology is appropriate for the lesson and enhances student learning.
Use our simple tool to create your own WebQuest.
Many teachers are excited about WebQuests when they are first introduced; however, some never attempt to use them due to their lack of knowledge about technology. In order to account for this dilemma, we have created an online tool to help teachers design their own WebQuests with no web page building experience.