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An Overview of WebQuests -- 2006

A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web.  This model is an excellent tool for developing the lessons that you will create over the next two weeks.

There are basic components that each WebQuest uses.  There is a teacher section and a student section and five other essential sections:  introduction, task, process, evaluation and conclusion.  Visit the actual WebQuest site:
http://webquest.sdsu.edu/ During the next two weeks you will be developing a lesson that you can use in your classes.  Visit the following sites to familiarize yourself with WebQuests in general and review some of the sample lesson for design ideas.  Take some time to look through the WebQuest lessons to get ideas for your lessons.  Search the Portal for WebQuests from the left menu.  Note those listed in "Top"  (highly ranked) and "Middling"  (ranked to have a number of good features).  You can also search by topic.

Some examples:

Cynthia Matzat's Radio Days : The webquest is elegantly simple. It draws kids into the 1930s and '40s by having them create a radio play complete with sound effects and ads. It makes great use of the Web by making all those old sound clips instantly available and provides the right balance of structure and freedom so that every team's production will be unique. The plays created by the kids are actually broadcast on their local radio station.

Another excellent example is Journey Into the Unknown: A WebQuest on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, designed by Missy Lanza, Samantha Levin, and Molly Decker, students at the University of Richmond. It draws kids into learning about Lewis and Clark by giving them the task of creating a board game about it. That is the kind of task that students will see as an engaging challenge, yet doing it well requires mastering the facts and structure of the story.

Another excellent example to include is Hello Dolly, by Keith Nuthall. Keith steeps his students in several conflicting viewpoints on the topic of cloning and guides them to a discussion (and, ideally, a consensus) on what our government's policy should be about regulating cloning. I like this one because it brings into the classroom an issue that adults are grappling with right now. The experience of seeing the complexity of the issue and honoring the strongly expressed views of classmates seems like terrific practice for tomorrow's voters.

Lastly look at The Ocean's in Trouble by Peyri Lay Ingrum. Students have the opportunity to explore why oceans are "in trouble" by visiting websites about oil pollution, plastics, and endangered animals. They are asked to look for relationships between humans, animals, and the ocean. Notice the clever navigation.

These pages were developed through TeacherTECH, the teacher professional development component of GirlTECH, which is sponsored by the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education (CEEE) and made possible by support from the National Science Foundation and Rice University.

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Updated: Wednesday, July 5, 2006 7:50 PM
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