"A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web." (Dodge, 1995). This clearly defines a webquest, however i find this difficult to explain in my own words on what exactly it is. I was first introduced and exposed to the technology of WebQuests last year at uni in a SOSE subject.
I found the whole idea of WebQuests daunting at first, however they became quite interesting and also quite fun to utilise and fiddle around with. At first it was slightly difficult to figure out but after spending a little time with the functions, I found it was quite simple to utilise and manage. As I was working with a partner too, I found it made it easier as we would go away and fiddle and come back and show each other the new things we had learnt about the program.
We completed a WebQuest around Recycling, which required the use of a TELSTAR enquiry model. As cited on the Central Queensland University website "a good WebQuest has an authentic context and problem or task. The driving question and its problem task are messy and ill-structured with no single answer or solution. Good WebQuests require small teams of students to relate to the messy, ill-structured problem task, investigate the issues, share what individual team members have learned from their individual research and apply this new knowledge to problem and create an authentic product that can then be donated back into the real world for authentic feedback. (2009). This states the effectiveness and extent to what the WebQuest tasks should involve within them. They are quite complex, the one that was created last year by myself and fellow uni student Jo, had basically all of these attributes and was a good example of a WebQuest hence receiving a high mark for that assessment piece. This shows higher-order thinking needs to be involved within this process, so the students' can actually take something away from this rich and authentic experience while working with WebQuests.
I've already provided an example of how they could be used in a classroom, this was in SOSE on a recycling unit of work which included knowledge and understanding from the Essential Learnings. After completing a few the children could even try making their own in groups possibly, to learn and understand a new technology they are utilising. However, I do believe classroom teachers could experience problems with this method of technology.
1. It can be so intricate and time consuming.
2. To be able to find and utilise the time wisely to complete a WebQuest, you need to ensure it's going to be worthy and cover all the information content that is required.
3. You need to read background information to know exactly how to create a WebQuest.
Personally, I really enjoyed working with WebQuests and thought they were marvelous. I would be happy to use over again, it was just something different yet innovative and attention capturing simultaneously. I would really like to know your opinions on WebQuests to see if your experiences with this technology were as enriching as mine.
Central Queensland University. (2009). WebQuests. Retrieved on 6th August, 2009, from: http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=671
Queensland Studies Authority. (2007). Studies of Society and Environment(SOSE) - Essential Learnings by the end of year5. Retrieved on 6th of August, 2009, from: http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/learning/qcar_el_sose_yr5.pdf
Webquest.org. (2007). What is a WebQuest? Retrieved on 6th August, 2009, from: http://www.webquest.org/