WebQuests Template

WebQuest Title Goes Here for the Webpage

Introduction | Question / Task | Background | Roles / Jobs | Group Synthesis |  Conclusion

Introduction

Begin by engaging students in a complexity related to the topic. Because WebQuests are excellent problem-solving activities, choose something that doesn’t have a clear solution, perhaps something controversial. Try to get the students hooked and wondering. You might look at examples on the national debt and the Tuskegee experiments to see a couple approaches.

The Question & Task

Tell students what they will be doing in this WebQuest. The details will come in the following section, but this allows students to start grasping the big picture of their task. The Question should include some gray area, complexity, problem-solving, or construction of new meaning.

The Process and Resources

Here’s where you line out the step-by-step process students will use to solve their challenge. Let them know that what they will be reading and doing are from real people all over the world who care about this topic. Students aren’t “playing school,” but doing real work that is challenging even to adults. Also let them know that because these are real articles written for people all over the world, the reading level might challenge them. Suggest they use an online dictionary if they need help.

Background for Everyone

Often you will want students to gain enough background knowledge on the topic so that they can begin to develop real, sophisticated understanding. To do this, you might have everyone read or experience the same thing before they divide into different roles. Add a link to the site you want all students to master:

Name of Site for Everyone

  1. Instructions for what to do with the above site go here.
  2. Maybe there are more steps?
  3. And even more?

Looking Deeper: Perspectives / Roles / Jobs / Disciplines

Divide the students into the number of groups you want to work with (something like a group per main knowledge source or perspective). Often it’s a good idea to have students work in pairs on reach role – especially if this is one of their first WebQuests. Then let them know in the next section what they will do:

Instructions:

  1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team should choose to explore one of the three groups below.
  2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and them pasting it into another program.
  3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to prove your point.
  4. Be prepared to focus what you’ve learned into one main opinion that you hold after reading all the files in your section.
Group One: “Main Angle / Topic / Perspective, Role or Job”
Group Two: “Second Main Angle / Topic / Perspective, Role or Job”
Group Three: “Third Main Angle / Topic / Perspective, Role or Job”

Group Synthesis

Tip: Remind students that they have been learning about something different from their partners, so now each group member has to come through with the understanding and wisdom he or she gained from the search. Our goal in this phase is to help students make sense of the gray areas in the topic and question, to gain clarity amid complexity, to bring the issue into greater focus for the students. Make sure they can see what it is they are trying to resolve.

It’s now time to bring together what everyone has learned. Because the topics are complex, students you will have to examine the details of the internet sites they learned from in order to persuade their teammates. This is where you must prompt transformative thinking (construction of new meaning, synthesis, understanding, etc.). This is the hardest part for you the WebQuest Designer, but unless students create new understanding from the information they have acquired, you don’t have a WebQuest, but a Treasure Hunt and students can likely complete the task using copy/paste instead of new insights. (Here are three examples of how scaffolds can help such synthesis: Freedom Fighter or Terrorist, The Big Wide World, Searching for China).

Real World Feedback

Tip: Although not a requirement of WebQuest, it’s always a good idea to make this experience as real and significant as possible for students.  Given the Web, this is actually much easier than it used to be.  However, the golden era of the Web has probably faded, that time when people on the Web found it charming and unique to be approached by an eager student’s email message. If you use this approach, here are a couple tips: 1) don’t send all the students to the same person / Web site. It’s better if students find their own feedback source from the Web community. 2) Students should use experts to test their hypothesis. That is, students have already done the information gathering, the discussing, and problem solving. Now they are approaching a real world expert for their expert opinions. NEVER let students send a tell me all you know about… message. They deserve what they get if they do 😉 Lastly, don’t forget that you have plenty of opportunities for real world feedback right in your own communities. The feedback doesn’t have to be via the ‘Net. Presentations, debates, letters to local papers, feedback from peers or parents all qualify and legitimize the students’ effortsUse one or all of the following links to help you find out about your representatives and how to contact them. If possible get both email and snail mail addresses.

Once your team has reached its answer to the big question and completed the task, how about contributing your ideas to the real world?  There are lots of ways you can do this, but some possible ones are to contact your representatives in government, significant people in your school community who might be connected to the topic or online groups, blogs, non-profit organizations or leaders in the field.

Conclusion

Return to the hook you used in the introduction and help students to see how far they have come in gaining a deeper understanding into a real and challenging topic. You might symbolically relate what they studied to larger issues in the same or different topics. This will help students transfer the subtlety they have gained in this area to other complex issues. A final technique is to hint at the next challenges related to the topic as a way for students to see that learning never stops.

This page written by Your Name, email@address
Last updated Month, 20XX.

5 thoughts on “WebQuests Template”

    • Hi Paulina, Let me know how I might help. I’m making a series of these videos and happy to focus on things that people are most interested in.

      I see a few interesting things from your Web site: Your name and that you are from Poland. My eldest son’s partner’s name is Pauline (Paulinka) and her parents are from Poland! Also that you teach younger students. Take a look at this WebQuest (The Big Wide World) that I designed from primary students. If it looks like you light want to use it, I’ll update the links (most have rotted since I last updated it).
      Cheers, Tom

      Reply

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: