Create A Webquest Assignment

Creating a WebQuest | It's Easier Than You Think

Always wanted to make a WebQuest but not sure where to start? Education World has all the answers and can make the process easy for you.

WebQuests are probably the most talked-about and widely used Web-based activities in today's classrooms. What are WebQuests? What accounts for their popularity? And how can you use—and create—WebQuests in your own classroom? Education World explores those questions and more.

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember.
I do and I understand."
— Confucius

"A WebQuest," according to Bernie Dodge, the originator of the WebQuest concept, "is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners' time well, to focus on using information rather than on looking for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation."

Education World asked two educators who have created their own WebQuests to share with us the benefits they bring to their classroom.


WebQuests, which use the constructivist approach to learning, are a super learning tool, said Kenton Letkeman, creator of a number of excellent WebQuests.

"With many research projects," Letkeman told Education World, "students feel that they are sucking up information and regurgitating it onto paper for no other reason than to get a good grade. WebQuests give students a task that allows them to use their imagination and problem-solving skills. The answers are not predefined and therefore must be discovered or created. Students must use their own creative-thinking and problem-solving skills to find solutions to problems.

"WebQuests are also a wonderful way of capturing students' imagination and allowing them to explore in a guided, meaningful manner," added Letkeman, a resource-based learning consultant for the Tisdale School Division in Saskatchewan, Canada. "Communication, group work, problem solving, and critical and creative thinking skills are becoming far more important in today's world than having students memorize predetermined content."

"WebQuests allow students to explore issues and find their own answers," he added. "Particularly with controversial issues -- such as pollution, gambling, and nuclear waste disposal -- students must do more than memorize information. They must process the information in meaningful ways and reach moral and ethical decisions guided by facts."

The adaptive dimension, the ability to make adjustments in educational programs to accommodate students' diverse learning needs, is also an important characteristic of WebQuests, according to Letkeman. "With WebQuests, special needs students can be given predetermined roles that are very important and make them feel part of the group," he said. "Advanced students can explore further and do more than is required. The interest this type of project generates makes that a reality, rather than a fantasy!"


Mim Faro, a gifted and talented enrichment teacher at Mt. Penn Elementary Center in Pennsylvania, recently created her first WebQuest. She agrees that WebQuests are an exciting and valuable teaching tool. "Of course, some WebQuests are better than others," she noted.

"A well-planned WebQuest," Faro told Education World, "has guidance for students, a creative end project with room for flexibility, and links that help answer questions and positively add to the project. A strong WebQuest is designed for students to work independently, allowing the teacher to be a facilitator in students' learning rather than the sole dispenser of knowledge."

Faro offered this advice for teachers who are considering using WebQuests in the classroom. "Always thoroughly check any WebQuest you have not created to make sure the information is relevant and the links work."

Of course, the best WebQuests ensure relevance because they are specifically tailored to your curriculum and your students.

"If you are going to create a WebQuest," Faro said, "search through some existing WebQuests first. Make note of what you like and what you don't like. And above all, dare to be creative!"

Looking for WebQuests to check out? You might start with the Education World Lesson Planning article Women of the Century: An Education World WebQuest.


WebQuests, say the teachers who use them, promote high-level thinking, develop problem-solving skills, and provide an avenue for seamlessly integrating technology into the curriculum. And creating one is easier than you might think! Many sites are available to walk you through the process.

One of the most thorough is Bernie Dodge's WebQuest Page. According to Dodge, the six building blocks of a WebQuest are:

  • The Introduction orients students and captures their interest.
  • The Task describes the activity's end product.
  • The Process explains strategies students should use to complete the task.
  • The Resources are the Web sites students will use to complete the task.
  • The Evaluation measures the results of the activity.
  • The Conclusion sums up the activity and encourages students to reflect on its process and results.


Before designing a WebQuest, you'll want to have an outline handy to guide you through the process. A number of excellent WebQuest outlines, including Tom March's Prewriting Your WebQuest, will help. Templates such as this one are available online. 


Once you have your outline or template in hand, here are some main points to include:

  • The Topic. You may have already decided on a topic related to current events or to an area of the curriculum that's inadequately covered in available texts. If you're still searching for a topic, however, Tom March, who developed the first WebQuests with Bernie Dodge, suggests starting "where you're at." "If you have an area that's your specialty, something that thrills you to teach, that you know inside and out, up and down, begin there," March says. You can also explore March's Idea Machine, which provides 50 prompts designed to help begin the brainstorming process.
  • The Task. "The task," says Dodge, "is the single most important part of a WebQuest." His WebQuest Taskonomy: A Taxonomy of Tasks provides eleven different types of tasks, including journalistic, mystery, persuasion, and judgment tasks. If you can't find it here, you can't find it anywhere!
  • The Process. In this section, you'll include the roles students will assume and the steps they'll follow to complete the activity. March's Designing for Success provides not only a Designer's Checklist, but also some clickable "friendly advice" for the creatively challenged!
  • The Resources. Identify the online resources available on your topic by brainstorming a list of related words and using the list to search for relevant sites. As you search, create a hotlist of current, accurate, and age-appropriate sites that will engage your students' interest.
  • The Evaluation. As Kenton Letkeman points out, "Traditional evaluation techniques are not the best means for evaluating the results of WebQuests, since all students may not learn the same content. Individual evaluation rubrics should be developed that follow curriculum objectives and are easy for students to understand." This Rubric for Evaluating WebQuests also provides a number of criteria for evaluating students' WebQuest success.


Finally, your WebQuest is finished -- and you're pretty proud of it! Why not click Submit a WebQuest at WebQuest.org and share it with other technology-savvy educators?

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

Updated 07/11/2016

Tutorials: What are the Pieces of a WebQuest?

Building Blocks of a WebQuest

Adapted from The WebQuest Page from SDSU

Introduction - The purpose of this section is to both prepare and hook the reader. The student is the intended audience.

Write a short paragraph here to introduce the activity or lesson to the students. If there is a role or scenario involved (e.g., "You are a detective trying to identify the mysterious poet.") then here is where you'll set the stage. It is also in this section that you'll communicate the Big Question (Essential Question, Guiding Question) that the whole WebQuest is centered around.

Task - The task focuses learners on what they are going to do - specifically, the culminating performance or product that drives all of the learning activities.

Describe crisply and clearly what the end result of the learners' activities will be. Don't list the steps that students will go through to get to the end point. That belongs in the Process section.

Process - This section outlines how the learners will accomplish the task. Scaffolding includes clear steps, resources, and tools for organizing information. This is where most of the hyperlinks will be.                                                                                                     

To accomplish the task, what steps should the learners go through?...Learners will access the on-line resources that you've identified as they go through the Process....In the Process block, you might also provide some guidance on how to organize the information gathered.

Evaluation - This section describes the evaluation criteria needed to meet performance and content standards.

Describe to the learners how their performance will be evaluated. The assessment rubric(s) should align with the culminating project or performance, as outlined in the task section of the WebQuest. Specify whether there will be a common grade for group work vs. individual grades.

Conclusion - The conclusion brings closure and encourages reflection.

Summarize what the learners will have accomplished or learned by completing this activity or lesson. You might also include some rhetorical questions or additional links toencourage them to extend their thinking into other content beyond this lesson.

Teacher Page (Optional) - The teacher page (see template) includes information to help other teachers implement the Webquest, including: target learners, standards, notes for teaching the unit, and, in some cases, examples of student work.


Hyperlinks:

You can create a hyperlink that goes to a Web page.

  1. Launch your browser, navigate to the website that you want to link to.
  2. Hilight the web address in the location bar (http://www.whatever.com)
  3. Click on Edit>Copy or Right Click and drag to copy.
  4. Open your Word Webquest document.
  5. Select the text or image you want to display as the hyperlink, and then on the Insert menu, click Hyperlink.
  6. You will see a box that either says 'Address' or 'Link to'.
  7. You will want to paste the internet address there.  You will probably have to use the keystroke to do it.  PC is Control V, Mac is Apple V.   Make sure you place your cursor in the box first.
  8. Click ok and return to your document.  Test the link.  You may be prompted to hold down on the control key as you click the hyperlink.

 

Word Tutorial:A webpage built with Word. You won't need to save as a webpage or build some of the pieces that you see explained here.  The template will have them built in.  This is here so that you can see what it takes to make some of the links and tables work.

Assignment originally created by Jeff Peach.

 

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