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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What is a Webquest?

A few classes back... I had to learn all about webquests. It was for my Social Studies course but we explored how this can be used in other subject areas as well. So... since the grades are in... I can now share!

What is a webquest? 

Well... its like an online unit. When you create a lesson plans for a unit in your class.... you find resources, create activities, provide direct instruction, ..... The same thing with a webquest EXCEPT the entire unit is online and will be read by your students. It is also designed in such a way that another teacher can use it as well. 

Pros
This is a great way to provide additional resources on a top to your student. Especially primary resources. It is an excellent way to tie in technology to your lesson plans and to share this with both colleagues, your PLN, and your students. 

It is also a great way to add content and information as homework freeing up your time in class and the pressure to get it all in. You can always change things at any time to take away something that didn't work or add something new. 

Cons
It takes a lot of time to build a webquest. You do all the research for your students in advance. They just go where you tell them too. While this does protect them from veering off into uncharted territory and perhaps stumbling across something you would rather they didn't... it also takes away from learning a valuable skill. 

In addition, I found some of the required pages redundant. You create a welcome page AND an introduction page. You build a task page AND a page for each of those tasks. 

Fundamental Components

To be a webquest... you have to have certain pages in certain order on your site. Here is the list in case you are unfamiliar with this concept.  (1) Welcome (2) Introduction (3) Task (4) Process (5) Evaluation (6) Conclusion and (7) Credits/Teachers Page. Between the Process and Evaluation Pages is where you build the individual task pages. 

Where to go? 

Zunal is the site recommended by my university. You can build a free quest to try it out but it limits you on the options or you can purchase a membership for 2 years for $20 and get unlimited options and the ability to create as many webquests as you want. You can also create a classroom full of web quests and add in members so only certain people can access it. 

With Zunal your options for customization are limited. I finally figured out how to change the background color and the color of the buttons. You do not really have a say in how it goes on the page as everything is done by template and the size that appears is the size ya get. 

The other recommendation was Quest Garden. Now this site looks like it has many more options for customization. However, I couldn't get it to work when I needed it. I sent a message to tech-support and they manually set up an account for me but by then the assignment was due so I passed. 

Examples

The first quest I made was for the first week of Social Studies in 8th Grade. It is a fun introduction that also introduces students to three different types of technology we would be using throughout the school year. 

The second one I created was on the Holocaust. Now I will warn you... this is a weird twist on the traditional method of teaching and I do actually know both guest speakers personally. So for me, this is actually a possibility.... if I taught eight grade social studies. I am going to  add another disclaimer. The purpose of this question is for the student to develop his or her perspective NOT to share my own perspective on this situation.

I got my first "beyond exceptional" grade on the Holocaust webquest. Never seen that grade before but I know for some this quest is a hard one to teach. 

How do you use webquests in your classroom? What is your favorite quest?

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1 Comments:

At March 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM , Blogger Josh Bennett said...

Hey, Misty!

Have you missed me?! I'm loving your blog post on webquests. I had to make one back in the day before Zunal was around to make it easy!

I've gotten away from webquests, so maybe I need to bring one back and see how it goes!

Josh
Mr. B's Beach Brains

 

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