Sunday, 2 February 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop - Using WebQuests

Here's a great way to spend a Sunday - finding great, new, bright ideas to use in the classroom!

Join in on the fun with the Bright Ideas Blog Hop and see what you can find. :)

What's a WebQuest?

Very briefly, it's an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most of the information required by the students comes from websites. The WebQuest "packages" all the information together into an attractive and easily navigated site that can be adapted to all grade levels.

Here's a shot of the introduction page of the WebQuest my third graders are currently exploring as they research an animal from the rainforests. (Apologies for the slight blurring. Screen shots aren't the best images :( )

Why is this a bright idea?

WebQuests are pretty cool for a number of reasons.

1. They can be designed for every year group from Kindergarten through to high school.

2. You can outline a whole project step by step in an attractive, paper-less format.

3. You can control the websites that your students have access to. You, the teacher, pre-select the websites so that you can be assured that the content is appropriate for the age range of your students. (This prevents embarrassing moments in class such as when you suddenly realize that a student has just Googled an entire page of images of the Bonobo - the most sexually active primate on the planet!) 

Links to specific websites are shown in black print

4. An evaluation rubric is built into the WebQuest so that students can self-monitor their work and adjust as necessary. 

This is just a portion of the rubric. You can design them to suit
your individual project needs.

5. Each WebQuest has a URL address which you can send to parents (if you want) so that your students can research safely at home and parents can see exactly what is expected.

6. You can be creative with backgrounds, pictures, design, fonts - it's great fun!


7. The kids love them!

How do you make a WebQuest?

There IS a learning curve but it's surprising how quickly you can get the hang of this. I've now made several "quests" for my students over the years and it definitely gets faster and faster each time.

I use QuestGarden and have been very pleased with it. There is a membership fee but I think that $20 for a two-year membership is pretty reasonable. :)

The site will walk you through the creation of a WebQuest step by step and nifty little features like Advice buttons help with trouble-shooting. 

There are lots of features that can make your quest as simple or as advanced
as you would like.

I also like the fact that they provide different templates so that you can design projects differently based on Blooms taxonomy. Design patterns are organized into 5 categories: design, decide, create, analyze and predict. Examples of good projects are provided and the templates allow for your WebQuest to be aligned with higher level thinking tasks.

Can anyone create WebQuests?

Absolutely!! I am not the most technologically advanced person on the planet and I found that I got the hang of this very quickly. Not only that but I presented them at a staff development meeting and within just one hour most of the teachers in my Primary department were happily creating and "oohing" and "aahing" over the possibilities.

Each year I bless the day I found out about this fantastic learning tool. Other than just a quick check to make sure that sites haven't become obsolete (and it's very easy to insert new links quickly) projects are ready to roll. No printing or copying - just a click of a button.

And... the sky is the limit. Whatever you teach you can make a WebQuest for it.

Do I have to make my own?

Nope. :) There are a ton of QuestGarden WebQuests available for all year groups and grade levels. You can hunt by topic and check out what other people have created. WebQuests have grade levels assigned to them so you can select appropriate material.

Personally, I like making my own but there are some pretty awesome resources available so if you don't feel like re-inventing the wheel you definitely don't have to.

What should I do next?

You absolutely should continue on hopping to the next blog! :) 

Next on the hop is the fabulous

(click to follow the hop)

who has a great idea to share with you about Mini Rubrics

Alternatively, you may visit the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you.  

Thanks for visiting!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this information! I am in the middle of my first webquest with my students and they are loving it! It's such a great way for them to learn the information. It is one that I found online, so I am excited to make my own now!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple