Since the beginning of time, teachers have had to reinvent their profession in order to stay relevant to learners. The newest trend is no different. In 1995, many teachers were struggling to get ahead of the technology trend. The World Wide Web had become more than a passing fad, and teachers had begun to recognize the power of such an exhaustive tool.
How could we use this in the classroom, encouraging students to explore while still guiding them to relevant materials? Tom March and Bernie Dodge had the answer: WebQuests.
A WebQuest is a teacher-designed webpage that teaches students through a seek-and-find-type method. The teacher first decides on a topic to be explored, then surfs the web to gather relevant information. This information is put together, often as a problem to be solved, and the students explore the quest independent of the teacher. Because the teacher has already laid out the important information, WebQuests are an easy way to get students a maximum amount of information in a small amount of time.
They tend to follow a basic structure:
- The Introduction: Catches students' attention, lays out background information
- The Task: Details what students will do and how they'll do it
- The Process: Provides step-by-step instructions, including links to websites and other important information
- The Evaluation: Explains how the activity will be evaluated, usually with a rubric
- The Conclusion: Sums up the activity, asks open-ended questions, and leaves room for growth
This structure supports the natural learning process, while providing an interesting or challenging activity. For example, if you want to teach your students about Africa, you might have them plan their own safari. The goal is to give your learners as authentic an experience as possible, while still scaffolding and supporting the process.
Some info from http://www.memphis-schools.k12.tn.us/admin/tlapages/wqtetc99.htm