Thursday, August 13, 2009
Like so many of the wonderful ICT’s I have recently been introduced to during this course, the term ’ WebQuest’ was on my periphery, but I had no idea what it was, other than that it sounded like a fun journey.
After some searching and reading I have discovered that a WebQuest is “an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web.”
( Webquest.org). This website further states that WebQuests are a way to utilise the internet while engaging students in specific thinking required for the 21st century.
Any tool which prepares students for more advanced thinking into the 21st century is a very valuable one and most certainly one to use in the classroom.
An authentic WebQuest is designed around a task that is interesting and achievable. It requires higher order and critical thinking, analysis, problem solving and creativity. Use of the web should be central to the quest, but just visiting websites and ‘playing around’ is not part of a WebQuest.
The structure is: Introduction, Task, Process, Evaluation, Conclusion and (in some cases) Resources.
I explored this topic with SOSE in mind and found a WebQuest via www.webquest.org .
It is American themed, but nonetheless very worthwhile as an example.
Take a look:
The class is divided into small groups; each member of the group has a specific role within the group and is responsible for different aspects of research. Working separately, but collaborating with the group regularly. The task cannot be completed successfully unless each member completes their task and communicates effectively.
The emphasis is on group work here and according to the basic principles of Engagement Theory( Kearsley & Shneiderman 1999), this activity motivates students to learn ‘due to the meaningful nature of the learning environment and activities’. This is an engaging activity as all students are involved in active cognitive processes.
This WebQuest involves activities which occur in a group context, it is project based and it has an authentic focus. It culminates in a presentation to the class.
It could also be said that this activity promotes a community of practice, a term used by Etienne Wenger to describe “a shared domain of interest" where "members interact and learn together" and "develop a shared repertoire of resources."
I have to say I love the WebQuest activity for secondary students, but the time involved in creating one would have to be weighed up with resources ie. computer access and benefit in mind.
Downes, S. (2005) http://www.downes.ca/post/31741 Viewed August 10, 2009.
Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999), Learning Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm Viewed August 10,2009.
WebQuest http://www.webquest.org/ Viewed August 11, 2009.
Wenger, E. (2000) Communities of Practice, a brief introduction. Viewed August 9, 2009.from http://www.ewenger.com/theory/index.htm