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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WebQuests


A WebQuest is an online tool that facilitates exploring and evaluating information that comes from the internet. WebQuests usually involve collaborative learning and invite students to use information rather than find it (Thirteen Ed Online, 2004). As the ever increasing array of information continues to bombard us all, learning how to critically interpret important or relevant information is a skill that learners of the twenty first century will require above all else. WebQuests provide a perfect opportunity to develop problem solving and other higher order thinking skills.


I particularly liked the layout design of the Antarctic Ice to Water Australia WebQuest, (Aldred, 2002) and the unfolding nature of the investigation appealed to my senses. In contrast the Freedom Fighter or Terrorist WebQuest, (March, nd) did not have the same sense of excitement due mostly to the fact that all requirements were visible, making the document appear more like traditional schoolwork. Examing both of these samples reveals a huge commitment in time to creating such a resource, however it is appreciable that a quality resource will continue to be an effective tool for some time.


Having an online resource such as a WebQuest lends itself to instruction both in the classroom and beyond. Activities could be undertaken during class time, or if access issues limit this, students could work on the WebQuest out of school hours. Downloading the WebQuest to a secure environment like The Learning Place would enable such activity.



Using inquiry based approaches to learning, such as the WebQuest requires the teacher to take on more of a facilitator role, scaffolding the learning, and guiding the student to analyse, synthesise and evaluate information. Siemens (2004) suggests the ability to synthesize and recognize connections and patterns is a valuable skill.


Teaching these skills looks very different in the classroom than the traditional chalk and talk. Students need to be encouraged to discuss, debate and analyse points of view. Teachers need to see themselves as learners as well, collaborating with others to facilitate the learning process(Mavericks Teacher Resources, 2006).

Take a look at this WebQuest about WebQuests...!

http://webquest.sdsu.edu/webquestwebquest-es.html
Mavericks Teacher Resources. (2006). Using inquiry based learning. [electronic resource]. Retrieved August 18, 2009 from http://www.glenbow.org/mavericks/teacher/english/inqbl.html
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. [electronic resource]. Retrieved July 31, 2009 from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for including those WebQuests about WebQuests, they were very informative! I agree that WebQuests are a great technological tool and they are a great way to work through a unit of work.

    Cheer,

    Kira.

    ReplyDelete