Overview: What is a WebQuest?

by frances 2. January 2010 23:25

WebQuests:  

  • are a sub-set of Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
  • encourage students to use higher order thinking skills to solve a real messy problem.
  • use collaborative techniques
  • use emotional intelligence by giving students the opportunity to "become" a perspective or role
  • are units of work varying in length of time and depth 
  • use mainly Internet resources as their references but not limited to them

Pedagogy behind WebQuests:

  • Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
  • Multiple Intelligences
  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Cooperative Learning 
  • Constructivism

WebQuests are NOT:

  • Worksheets online
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • just Research Assignments
  • Online activities around a theme or topic

Sites:

What is PBL? Adelaide University Publication

Augusta State University: Constructivism & Introduction to PBL, ...What is a Valuable problem?  (PPT)

Integrated Curriculum PBL Lesson Requirements 

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What is a WebQuest?

Article about WQ Creation

by frances 22. October 2009 12:11

At Teacher/Trainer Professional Learning or TPL [http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/pd] we have gone back to basics about the development of a WebQuest. Reason? Well we were getting too many "WebQuests" submitted or created with SWAT that were just Research Assignments or Worksheets! It is so frustrating to find that teachers and trainers are using an old definition of WebQuests - "using anything on the Internet" instead of knowing that WebQuests are a sub-set of Problem-Based Learning (PBL).

For that reason, all our online courses have the following lesson plans:

Lesson 1: Overview and What is a WebQuest?

Lesson 2: Problem Based Learning [PBL]. What is a 'messy' problem? What is a Big Question - Essential Question or Focus Question?

Lesson 3: Roles or Perspectives: How is Collaboration involved?

Lesson 4: Tips for using Higher Order Thinking Skill Activities within the WebQuest

Lesson 5 & 6: How to use our Web 2.0 Tool (including using video clips, avatars)

Lesson 7: Scaffolding a WebQuest: Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation, Conclusion, Teacher's/Trainer's Guide - each section's purpose is explained

Lesson 8: Assessment: Show off your WebQuest!

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Tips on how to improve a WebQuest | What is a WebQuest?

Forgotten Whales

by frances 27. June 2009 14:26

 

(Source: IWC)

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has heard reports about the smallest cetaceans: Dolphins, porpoises and small whales from the WWF, the news report cited

The Australian Minister for the Environment, Peter Garratt, said to the IWC meeting in Portugal that Whales were worth more alive than dead as the Whale watching business was worth around $3Billion worldwide.

On the other hand, European countries are set to increase their whale quota - to that above the Japanese scientists!!

This is a typical scenario for a great WebQuest:

  • It involves a real life situation that is "messy" and involves Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
  • antagonistic yet legitimate views are held by different perspectives or roles
  • collaboration is required to obtain an outcome
  • emotional intelligence is used
  • Higher Order Thinking Skills of Analysis, Evaluation, Creativitiy [Synthesis] have to be used to work out a solution to this messy problem

I love the fact that you can bring real life and important events into the classroom while exploring the curriculum. In this case, the curriculum could be Ecology, Biology - particularly Diversity of Species, Political Sciences, Philosophy for Children (P4C), Values Education, Economics, or Geography.

 

 

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Ideas on how to use News topics as WebQuests

What is a "real" WebQuest?

by frances 20. June 2009 10:36

I have been coming across some really terrible "WebQuests" lately!

They have been mostly a series of web-based activities around a theme rather than a REAL WebQuest!

What is a REAL WebQuest?

Here are some pointers.........

  1. The WebQuest should incorporate Problem-based Learning (PBL). So there needs to be a messy, authentic problem to solve. This is usually in the form of a Big Question (Focus Question, Essential Question).
      
  2. It should incorporate Collaborative Learning Principles - group work.
       
  3. There needs to be roles or perspectives that reflect the society's values. For example, if the problem was around the big question: "Should the International Whaling Commission [IWC] ban Whaling?";
    the roles could be:
    • A Green Peace representative
    • A Japanese Scientist
    • An Indigenous representative, representing those Indigenous peoples whose tradition is to undertake whaling
    • A Whale Watching Entrepreneur who has developed a business around Whale Watching
    • An Historian or UN Lawyer who researches the past decisions around Whaling.
  4. These roles can be antagonistic [as the above example] - where different alliances are formed! But they are NOT to be research roles or reporting roles!

  5. The activities MUST promote Higher Order Thinking

  6. The scaffolding - Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation, and Conclusion are present.

  7. The Conclusion calls for further action on the part of the student.

Below is the Criteria that WebQuest Direct uses to provide an Educational Rating for each WebQuest they review:

WEBQUEST CREATION CRITERIA CHECKLIST

Section Content Score/135
Home Page
(Optional)
This is to be like a book cover – intriguing and interesting.

There should be a hook here to introduce the students to the big question (has to be an open ended question). 

Images are important here and throughout the WebQuest to enhance visual literacy.
/10
Introduction Catchy Title

Introduces a Real Messy Problem to be solved.
/10
Task Point Form summarising the tasks that the students have to achieve

Background for Everyone

Higher Order Thinking Skill Activities present
/10
Process Interesting and complex (messy) and real problem to solve

Higher Order Thinking Skill (HOTS) Activities present: This is essential!
o One
o Two
o Three
o More
 Perspectives or Roles present – hopefully antagonistic and reflecting the “real” world. These roles should NOT be research roles only.

Team work – Cooperative Learning

Steps showing students what they have to do – clear, concise, sequential,
/35 (of which 15 points will be assigned to the Messy Problem and 15 points
will be assigned
to HOTS)
Resources Relevant to student age, readability, and, role

Extensive

Quirky – giving students different perspectives
/10
Evaluation Rubric showing all the tasks that the students are to undertake for assessment

Optional: peer assessment
Optional: self assessment
/10
Conclusion Encourages local and/or further action – another activity that is to be assessed.

Real World Feedback

Reflection of Learning

Is NOT a motherhood statement or platitude eg. “Congratulations, you now know about....”
/10
Teacher's Guide Learners – Age, State, Country,
Curriculum Standards Addressed – listed and linked

Duration – number of lessons (if below 4 lessons, this will be considered a research assignment only – as not enough time has been given to Higher Order Thinking Skills).

Process – Lesson Plans (or, any ideas for other teachers to consider)

Resources – any resources that could be used by the teacher in preparation for this unit of work

Pre-requisites
/20
Visual Impact/Use of Audio Appropriate Template/Design used on Home Page and subsequent pages

Images or graphics used to aid students

Layout and Design – font size appropriate to target audience; colour of font; navigation; placement of images
 Use of audio especially for students in Pre-school or early Primary/Elementary years.
/10
Use of Technology Technology Skills developed or Technology used eg. Kids Pix; iMovie; Zoomerang; Kahootz; animation; PowerPoint; Wiki; podcast; Inspiration; Mind Mapping; Venn Diagrams /10
  Total Score /135

 Star Rating 

<10 – 19 points = 0 star

20 points = 0.5 star

30 points = 1 star

40 points = 1.5 stars

50 points = 2 stars

60 points = 2.5 stars

70 points = 3 stars

80 points = 3.5 stars

90 points = 4 stars

100 points = 4.5 stars

110 points + = 5 stars

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What is a WebQuest?

Inquiry-Based Learning and Technology: Designing and Exploring WebQuests

by frances 24. February 2009 16:22

 

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

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Article Review | What is a WebQuest?

eSN Special Report: Project-based learning engages students, garners results

by frances 22. February 2009 12:07

Here are some of the excerpts from this article:
  

"Project-based learning is a successful approach to instruction for a variety of reasons, its proponents say.
For one thing, it helps students retain the information they learn....
Another reason project-based learning is useful is because it engages students' interest and motivates them to learn.
One of the main reasons kids drop out of school is because they're bored. With project-based learning, students are encouraged to explore their own interests and to make connections to the world beyond school.
Project-based learning also encourages a deeper level of thinking by involving students in answering questions for themselves, making connections, and using analytical skills
." (Source:
website)

Go and have a read of this paper - inspiring!!! You will need to register with eSN (but this is FREE). I love hearing the excitment in students' comments about what they are doing with PBL.

To view the whole paper (9 pages) go to the PDF version (you might still have to register) - it has some advertising but the content is great!
  


WebQuests are a sub-set of Project-based learning (PBL) or Problem-Based Learning!

There are SO many problems that you could provide to your students to solve and still be within your Curriculum!

Have a try!

If you need a template to get started - go to Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool (it's FREE). WebQuest Direct will provide you with FREE mentoring as you create your WebQuest!

 

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Article Review

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Other WebQuest & Educational Blogs

As I come across other WebQuest Blogs (& Educational ones), I will list them here.

Jane Hart's Blog (Jane is a Social Technologies Guru in UK)

Scot Aldred's Blog (Colleague at Central Queensland University and guru on Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

The Innovative Educator

Digital Education Blog

Blogging Corner Carnival

eLearn Magazine Blog

Dr. Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine

Primary School.com.au Blog

Charlie Sullivan - Charlie does a fantastic job collating websites for Primary schools.

De Tools Blog

This blog by and for online educators and features free web based tools applications and resources. Author: John Goldsmith.

Bright Ideas: a blog by the School Library Association of Victoria

The Book Whisperer

This blog is written by Donalyn Miller, a 6th Grade teacher in Texas, who is reknown for encouraging students to read!

 

Clustr Map

Created WebQuests

Champions of Justice
Federator
Gold Force
Community Shopping Centre Planner
Can you get the party started?
Reminders of our moral conscience
The Petrov Affair
Careers
My Business Rules
Pluto's planetary status