Higher Order Thinking Skills: What is a WebQuest?

by frances 8. January 2010 07:57

To create a great WebQuest, you need to have appropriate high level TASKS that promote Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).

Sometimes this is not easy - especially if you have chosen the wrong topic to create into a WebQuest. If you are going to create a WebQuest, think about what tasks you want the students to undertake and then ask the question: Do these tasks promote HOTS?

Here is an excellent example of a WebQuest that has HOTS: Whose Restaurant will Rule?

Unfortunately, this WebQuest is now only in the Internet Archive. However, this means that you can still use this WebQuest. You might consider putting it into our Web 2.0 Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool (SWAT) acknowledging the original source, updating the links and using it with your students! [NB. WebQuest Direct has over 1,200 WebQuests reviewed now in the Internet Archive Only which could be used in this way!!!]
WebQuest Direct's Review of this WebQuest:
Key Learning Areas: HSIE / SOSE / Social Studies; Personal Development, Health & PE (PDHPE); Technology & Design
Key Competencies: Collecting, analysing and organising information; Communicating Ideas and information; Planning and organising activities; Solving problems; Using technology; Working in a team
Tasks: Analytical; Compilation; Creative Product; Design; Judgement; Persuasion; Research
Grade Levels: Secondary / High School; Business Training
Country: Australia Australia
Language: English
Description: Designed for students in Year 10 studying an integrated course including Technology, Social Studies, Business and Careers and could be adapted for Vocational Education and Training (VET) especially in Hospitality. Could also be used in Health, Nutrition and Food Safety. Students are to to develop and plan for their restaurant.
There are four roles: Head Chef who is responsible for developing the menu, ordering food and ensuring everything runs smoothly in the kitchen; Maitre'd who looks after bookings and the restaurant waiting staff, ensures customers are satisfied and that all runs smoothly on the restaurant floor; Finance Manager who looks after wages, budget, profit, forward planning; and, Public Relations Officer who is in charge of publicity, advertising and promoting the image of the restaurant.
Students are to complete 10 tasks, including investigating and reporting on the Melbourne restaurant industry; developing a detailed business plan; deciding and establishing the look, logo, colour scheme, menu and stationery for their business; creating a spreadsheet to show the repayment of the business loan; preparing a set of photos and images for advertising the restaurant; create a website that effectively promotes the restaurant; creating two promotional pieces; creating a video and/or audio promotion of their restaurant and use Producer to synchronise it with a slideshow; creating an Access database that can be used to efficiently run and manage the restaurant; and, design and create a user manual that will assist the office manager to use what they have created on an ongoing basis.
Teacher's Guide contains Curriculum Standards: Level 6 of the Victorian Essential Learning Standards and some information for teachers. There is also a link to examples of student work. Last updated 2006.
As you can see, this WebQuest contains some excellent HOTS for students to complete - with a messy problem to solve as well. That is the key to a GREAT WebQuest!

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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?

Divided over the Veil

by frances 16. July 2009 10:12
Jaroslaw Adamowski reporting in the New Matilda yesterday discusses the French President, Nicholas Sarkozy's 22 June speech and his statement on full body Islamic veils. Adamowski goes on to explain the various views of people within France but also Holland, and, Turkey.

Adamowski reports "In his speech, Sarkozy said the burqa and niqab were "not religious symbols, but symbols of women's debasement and oppression" and therefore "were not welcome" in France, a country that is home to a 5-million-strong Muslim minority, but which is also a secular state where a 2004 law already banned wearing conspicuous religious symbols in public schools........And France surely is not a lone island in the middle of Europe. The "veil issue" is a major topic in Holland also, where in 2006, the government announced it would ban the wearing of burqa at schools. In the end no ban was applied, but the public debate that it sparked off revealed a profound change in Holland's society. The Dutch, once known for being one of Europe's most welcoming nations towards Arabic-speaking immigrants, have lost much of their faith in Muslim integration in Europe since the murder of film director Theo van Gogh, stabbed to death by an Islamic fundamentalist accusing him of anti-Muslim bias, in 2004. Meanwhile, in Turkey, the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been trying to annul a law that forbids wearing headscarves at public universities and state institutions. Both burqa and niqab are rarely seen among Turkish women, and those who decide to cover their heads usually do it with headscarves, loosely covering their hair. Legalising the headscarf in universities was one of AKP's major electoral promises, before it came to power in 2002, but the Turkish Constitutional Court, seeing itself as a defendant of Turkey's secular identity, has rejected all legislative attempts to lift the ban up to date."

This issue provides teachers with an excellent opportunity to develop a WebQuest! The WebQuest could easily be used in Civics, Legal Studies, Politics, or, Religious Studies. Ideally this topic lends itself to antagonistic roles or perspectives reflecting the views of the community within any country. The "messy" problem provides students with an authentic Problem-Based Learning opportunity around a Focus Question like: "Should the French President push for a ban on wearing the burqa or niqab in public?"

If you would like to make a WebQuest around this topic try out SWAT - Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/swat a free area where you will also get free mentoring help while making your 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:

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

New SWAT logo

by frances 4. February 2009 10:45

We have just had a new Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool (SWAT) logo created by terrific designers at Bytes'n Colours - Alex and Fiona! Thanks so much!

Our SWAT area is FREE and it is where teachers can come anytime, from anywhere and use this area to create a great WebQuest.

We provide mentoring to help teachers create a WebQuest, NOT a series of web-based activities, or, a research assignment, or, a find and tell activity, or, a scavenger hunt like so many others.

If you want to use our SWAT, please go to http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/swat/ and register.


What does this logo mean?
This logo has many meanings for us!
1. It is teachers being free to create their online lessons without having to rely on anyone or any HTML
2. It is teachers jumping beyond "Reinventing the wheel" and sharing their great WebQuests with the world. We want teachers to "Stop reinventing the wheel" as we all have a heavy load as it is teaching! Let's share our expertise, lessons and particularly our great WebQuests.
3. It is teachers being enthusiastic, passionate about their work
4. We chose the colours green and yellow as Edward de Bono's Green colour signifies CREATIVITY! and Yellow an OPTIMISTIC point of view. Creativity in the development of the WebQuest but also in the solutions students will have to find in solving the messy problem presented in the WebQuest. The yellow signifies being positive about the process - both in creating and using a WebQuest! You will marvel at the results!!!! 

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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!


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