Katerina Bavorova is a teachers’ advisor at the EUN Office. She wrote this article to encourage and inspire teachers to design and use WebQuest in teaching.
What is it?
A WebQuest is an activity in which pupils look for information on the Web. The objective for pupils is to find out about a particular subject and to do some tasks using the information they have gathered.
A scenario is provided, together with a description of the tasks and a set of resources to help the pupils prepare the activity.
Through this activity, pupils will gain the skills to search on the Web, select relevant information from what they find and apply what they learn to the right context.
The following information is designed to help teachers structure their WebQuests but none of it is obligatory. Teachers are free to miss out any sections which they feel are not useful in their teaching approach.
To achieve efficiency and clarity of purpose WebQuests should contain at least the following parts:
1. An Introduction The purpose of the introduction is to make the students aware of the upcoming problem they will be exposed to. It is also hoped that the introduction will grab the student's interest and motivate them to learn.
2. Task The task includes a description of what the learner will have learned and completed at the conclusion of the WebQuest. It may simply be the better understanding of the assigned problem or a concrete project (webpage, PowerPoint slide presentation) demonstrating what the learner achieved as a result of the project. Visit WebQuest Taskonomy: A Taxonomy of Tasks.
3. Information Sources This is the part of the process that may overwhelm some teachers that are moving to more constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. It is the teacher's job to sort through all the materials they have or can find on the given topic/problem that will valuable for the students.
4. Process In the process section the teacher should give a recommended list of steps that learners may go through to achieve their goal. Many WebQuests include cooperative grouping so this section also tells the students what different roles are available to play within each group. It is here that the teacher can also include information about how to effectively research, work with others, share the workload, etc. The younger the students the more directive one will need to be.
5. Evaluation If we spend time doing a learning activity in the class we need to be able to evaluate the learning that we hope took place. Since most WebQuests involve high thinking skills evaluating the learning can be difficult for teachers with a standard pencil and paper test. The importance of developing learning rubrics to use for evaluation is stressed. Here are some examples of learning rubrics: simple rubrics, more complex rubric.
6. Conclusion The conclusion section gives the students the opportunity to review what was learned and gathers feedback about the whole learning process. When writing a concluding section a teacher might suggest related topics that students may want to pursue on their own as well as discussion questions to answer in class.
WebQuest News News and views about the WebQuest model, a constructivist lesson format used widely around the world.
Spring Day in Europe 2003 (Some of the links provided in these WebQuests may not be alive anymore. They are still inspiring though - have a close look at the tasks and the process the pupils are supposed to undertake.)