What was Old is New Again…
This post is to support online learning about Why and When to use WebQuests. If you think the name WebQuest is too 20th Century, just substitute “Real, Rich and Relevant Problem-based online learning that prompts student understanding and empowers teachers through a scaffolded approach.” Yeah, so that’s why I keep opting for WebQuests….
So as old hat as WebQuests might be for some, new and early career teachers are always, thankfully, joining the profession. So this post (using the slides below and video conferencing) will start at the beginning, but use activities and thinking prompts instead of texts. You can read the articles elsewhere and they are included of some of the activities.
Yeah, so “Why?”
A great question. WebQuests were created at the dawn of the World Wide Web. Using the Web as a place for learning presented a challenge:
Given the uniqueness of WWW, how does learning need to be structured to ensure success?
A couple other wrinkles came into play:
The Web is a pretty chaotic place to learn, VERY different than textbooks and worksheets. How can we help students become successful learners in such an “ill-structured domain?” The slides go through other elements of the Web.
Please use the comments section below (or contact me) with questions or if you want a similar session with your teachers.
So what about “When?”
When something is a good idea, people are tempted to think it’s always a good idea. WebQuests, as designed, are solutions to the ill-structured aspects of the Web and a great way to promote students’ critical & creative thinking and personal meaning making. Thus, great for exploring “Big Ideas,” concepts or complex relationships. But not necessary when simple acquisition of information is the goal. Think definitions for parts of speech or the “Times Table” to 10.
Links to Tom’s Work
- The Big Wide World WebQuest for Primary Students (science & humanities
- Getting WebQuests – Professional Learning Activity
- What WebQuests are (Really) – detailed definition that’s the full draft of the ASCD Ed Leadership article.
- Look to Learn – samples of Thinking Routines from Project Zero at Harvard
- Life Cycles QuickQuest on TeachersPayTeachers (Free)