WebQuest Teacher Guide
A WebQuest presents students with a challenging task, scenario, or problem to solve. It's not just about "surfing the web to find stuff" or even using websites to answer simple questions. It's a much more complex process. Students begin by learning some common background knowledge. Then they divide into groups and assume various roles that relate to the issue. Each student or group of students has a particular role, task, or perspective to master. They effectively become experts on that one aspect of a topic. Students complete a WebQuest by creating a unique summarizing project or activity of some sort. Bernie Dodge, San Diego State University, has created a wealth of resources to help you design an appropriate task. See A Taxonomy of WebQuests Tasks or WebQuest Task Design Worksheet or WebQuest Design Patterns for ideas. There is even a graphic that identifies most of the webquest tasks and provides a quick visual overview of possibilities.
It's best to choose topics that are under dispute or that at least offer a couple different perspectives. Current events, controversial social and environmental topics work well. WebQuests are considered projects according to our "Quick Definition of Application Types" because the goals and outcomes are broad and activity duration can be long-term. Each webquest consists of several parts:
- Introduction: sets the stage, provides background info
- Task: end result of the learners' activities
- Resources: sites where students will get factual information
- Process: steps learners should take to complete task, guidance on how to organize their information
- Conclusion: brings closure, reinforces what they have learned
- Evaluation: how their performance will be evaluated
Alignment to Standards
At a basic level, your work planning, locating, evaluating and assembling resources for a Filamentality activity page meets some standards from the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Project developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Your students will also address some of the standards:
- Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences: II. Teachers plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by technology from NETS for Teachers.
- Technology research tools: 5. Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources; Students use technology tools to process data and report results; Students evaluate and select new information resources and technological innovations based on the appropriateness for specific tasks. NETS for Students
- English Language Arts: 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, and video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge. NETS National Curriculum English Language Arts.
- Information Literacy : Standard 2: The student who is information literate evaluates information critically and competently and Standard 3: The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively. NETS Information Literacy NETS National Curriculum Information Literacy
Depending on your topic and the assignment your require, you can most likely find appropriate links to your state standards too! Reading comprehension, writing, listening, and oral presentations are all addressed in language arts standards. If students create something visual as part of the assignment, don't forget the Arts standards. Here are some sites to help you find standards for student work:
- National Council of Teachers of English standards
- Language Arts Standards State by State form Education World
- Speaking, Listening, and Media Literacy Standards for K through 12 Education from the National Communication Association.
- National Standards for Arts Education posted on the ARTSEDGE website.
How does Filamentality work?
Once you've gathered some good Internet sites for student resources, there are three phases of building a WebQuest. You will use Filamentality's fill-in-the-blank format to:
- Define Your WebQuest by creating learner roles and categorizing your links
- Customize Your WebQuest Text by adding a Title, Introduction, Assignment Instructions, etc.
- Post Your WebQuest on the Internet
There's a large pool of good webquests "out there" now. It's not a bad idea to see what others have already done. The best sites for locating webquests have already sorted through and made sure they are webquests and are approriate for classroom use. You can search Filamentality to what others have created; but we don't have the staff to check sites to guarantee that they are true-blue webquests. Here are some others you might also try: