Monday, October 31, 2005

WebQuesting

It took some time to figure out just what a webquest was. At first I thought it might be a specific program, but it turned out to be a model, or a template, in which to provide students with a directed method of performing Internet based research. The webquest provides clear structure on what needs to be covered and addressed in the research assignment and an outlined format in which to go about researching – they put content into context. Effective webquests should be organized by: Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation and Conclusion. Instructions should be simple and clear, information should be Internet based supplemented with other sources. The lesson should be relevant and have curriculum connections. There are many examples on the Web to illustrate good webquests and also how webquests lend themselves to all discipline areas.

One of the first things to consider when deciding to use webquests in your classroom is the availability of computers. Should students work in pairs, in labs or at home, and are there enough computers in the classroom? Pending that, the webquest needs to be designed, tasks developed, references, links, evaluation/rubrics established and site hosting and other problems met. Once done, the webquest needs to be verified prior to student assignment. All links should be valid and the lesson clean and ready for presentation. Although the webquest can be presented to students as a paper-copy assignment, web site hosting makes for more efficient processing by students. I see webquests as an interesting, interactive and inviting way to present in depth content learning to students.

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