For two decades now schools have been seduced into buying lots of equipment so that students can become smarter. Sadly, we have no convincing evidence that the investments have paid off. Students become smarter when teachers show them how to use their minds to wrestle with challenging questions, but scooping and smushing does little to advance their skill.
Webquests are instructional activities that can target higher-order thinking skills. The idea was developed by Bernie Dodge and more information can be found elsewhere.
Goals: As a teacher, you can use already made WebQuests, or create your own webquests, or re-use and alter an already-made webquest.
WebQuests, by definition, are designed to share the same components (those listed above). To get an idea of what WebQuests look like, check out:
Before you start, consider whether you want to use a short or long-term webquest. Short quests are designed to be completed in 1-2 class periods (100 minutes total). Long-term quests can last several weeks, or up to a month, spanning multiple class visits,
Doing It (Well)
What's most important in designing or creating a WebQuest?
There's a lot to read... a lot to consider... I like using Inspiration software to plan out what I want to create. By drawing a map, you have a plan to follow and can see the big-picture. I also like to create a bookmark (favorites) folder in my browser (say, SafarI) and dump all of my WebQuest links in there... collect the sources you will want to use... you can even dump these into your Inspiration document.
Next, you may want to include multimedia files. Where will you find those?
Before you get too far, don't forget to find other WebQuests. Some examples are better than others, but many have been designed to be creative, fun, and engaging learning activities. We can learn by studying the work of other teachers (who, before us have created these things, and tested them with students).
iWeb is web-design software from Apple designed for ease-of-use, and drag-and-drop support of media, such as graphics and video. If you're familiar with Apple's Pages or Keynote--iWeb is a snap!
When creating something like a webquest using iWeb, first choose a theme, create your pages with titles, then save your "site." Finally, after you've filled your pages with content to make-up your webquest, you can save the site to a folder, and upload the folder to our web server.
Let's say the folder's name is "science_webquest." Then, a link from your blog might look like this:
<a href="''http://www.glnd.k12.va.us/~jhendron/science_webquest/">Start the Science Webquest!</a>