Kia Ora (Maori for hi).
A WebQuest is an internet based activity many teachers are including in their classrooms as they encourage students to use Productive Pedagogy links focusing mostly on higher order thinking skills. WebQuests are usually problem based and inquiry orientated.
WebQuests normally have a compilation of six essential components. They are
· An ‘Introduction’ which should hook the learners,
· A ‘Task’ which needs to be based on a problem and have a focus question
· ‘Resources’ which are usually internet information links
· A ‘Process’ which should step the students through the learning and assist them to complete the task
· An ‘Evaluation’ which should inform the students of what is required of them
· A ‘Conclusion’ which should assist the students in answering the focus question
· And a ‘Teachers Page’ is often included to assist teachers with what age/grade it would suit, links to standards it addresses, time it will take to complete and implementation strategies.
We designed WebQuests last year in our SOSE course. And I found not having access to a decent computer or internet access caused me to really struggle in the design of that WebQuest. Most of the work took place at a friend’s place using her computer and internet and sometimes proved inconvenient for us both. As an educator I would have to take that into consideration in relation to my students being able to have those basics at home to be able to access and complete a WebQuest that I had designed them. I wouldn’t want to hinder students learning by compiling such a task for them and then them not being able to enjoy it. I would also have to consider if they had access to those basics in class or in the school library.
I would additionally have to think about if parents want their children to work on computers at home. Many families I have spoken to don’t like their children being stuck inside interacting with themselves and the technology in front of them. They feel their children are already involved in too much computer based play and learning as it is.
I furthermore believe a lot of KLA’s would have to be covered in a WebQuest to make it a worthwhile pursuit. In classrooms a lot of the day is structured to include assemblies, 30 minutes a day fitness programs, library, religion, music and other specialist activities such as languages and drama. Include the focus on literacy and numeracy and there isn’t a lot of free class time or opportunities to include other activities. A WebQuest would have to warrant taking time from any other occurrence in the room.
Plus include the days needed to design a WebQuest and it can all be quite time consuming. The designer would have to ensure all the desired KLA’s were being covered and that outcomes for students were achievable for all. There would also have to be a set assignment task to be completed to check for learning. Additionally there would need to be research done as to what information links would be added to the WebQuest plus the designer would then need to check all the information links could be opened and didn’t open on to other unwanted links. All of this and it would need to be fun and exciting to keep the students interest.
All those considerations and I would still include WebQuests in my lesson planning. Knowing your students would dictate if your students would benefit from this different teaching approach. Although all learning styles- visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners should have something to gain from interacting with WebQuests. The students would hopefully develop literacy skills from reading and listening to directions and information. The learners should also develop writing skills if the set assignment task included that. The students would also in turn develop technology skills such as moving a mouse, how to manoeuvre through links and sift through information on webpage links. Plus develop higher order thinking skills as they would be analysizing, criticizing and assessing rather than just cutting and pasting information.
Haere ra (bye in Maori)
Department of Education. (2002). Productive Pedagogies. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: Curriculum Implementation Unit.
What is a WQ? Overview. (2009). Retrieved the 13th of August 2009 from WebQuest Direct. http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/whatis_awq.asp