Jan Lacina, "Inquiry-Based Learning and Technology: Designing and Exploring WebQuests".
Childhood Education. FindArticles.com. 23 Feb, 2009.
This particular article only touches the surface about WebQuests! There is a good description of the components of a WebQuest [Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation, Conclusion] but no emphasis on Problem-Solving!
What a pity!!!
Any new teacher (or one new to WebQuests) reading this article would assume that any inquiry activity using higher order thinking and the Internet is a WebQuest.
WebQuests are so much more than that!
They involved Problem-Based Learning [PBL] and Collaborative Learning. An essential characteristic of a WebQuest is an authentic problem to be solved and the use of different perspectives around that problem reflecting the community's breadth of views around this issue. These roles or perspectives allow students to use their emotional intelligence to solve the messy, real problem.
This article does have its redeeming factors! The best bits are under the heading "Advice From the Field". Here Lacina provides sound advice on the creation and implementation of a WebQuest. This advice includes:
"* Time. You need to spend a large amount of time exploring various WebQuests prior to designing your own. It is easy to be deceived by appearances. When you explore and evaluate the site, you can determine which WebQuests are well designed. (If you subscribe to WebQuest Direct , only $US42/year as an individual, you will have access to thousands of reviewed WebQuests to explore around your topic!)
* Organization. Follow Dodge and March's organization components - the creators of the concept of WebQuests - Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation, Conclusion (also put in a Teacher's Guide - they are so helpful to other teachers). They are simple and easy for students to follow-and navigating the site is clear-cut.
* Resources/Links. Check links frequently, since addresses change often. Also, too many resources can overwhelm students, and they may not try them all-or they may lose their enthusiasm for the activity.
* Show ... Do Not Tell. Show students how to use a WebQuest by guiding them through the process, using a computer to show them the process as they see each step on the computer screen. Just like with any assignment, modeling and showing students the process is more effective than telling them about it.
* Backup Plan. I think most of us can tell numerous stories about technology glitches. Provide printed copies of the WebQuest, or be prepared with another activity in case there is a technology problem.
* Be Enthusiastic. Your enthusiasm about inquiry learning, technology, and WebQuests will help excite the students about the project.
Lacina goes on to provide 10 WebQuests [well some are WebQuests, others are Research Assignments, two are not available, one was just an Educational Resources, and, one only got a rating from WebQuest Direct of zero!] for you to go and look at! (Be mindful of the incorrect spaces within the URLs - they will need to be eliminated to get to the websites; also one recommendation is now off the web completely [not even in the Internet Archive])
The two good WebQuests on this particular list are:
Choosing a Class Pet (Elementary/Primary)
Chocolate: A Multi disciplinary webquest