A webquest quite simply is a quest for information on the web. It is purposeful, organised and scaffolded that using the inquiry model promotes higher order thinking. The different inquiry models include intergrating socially, action research and the TELSTAR approach. Students are presented with a focus question which defines the task and has the students investigate, ideate, create and evaluate. The webquest task should be rich, real-life and relevant to the learner which give a connectedness to the students real lives (Queensland Education, 2002). When the students make connections and build on their on understandings, "it is this process that enhances their reflection and metacognition."(Wilson, J. & Wing Jan, L., 2008)
Webquests were created in 1995 by Bernie Dodge and Tom March, as a type of electronic lesson
plan that included links to World Wide Web. To be honest the first time I heard of a webquest was last year when we were asked to create one for a SOSE class. The webquest asked the students in groups to investigate endangered flora and fauna in their local area and choose one and investigate its vulnerabilities, predators (introduced or native), what is being done to protect this species, and what they can do to help. They then had to write a detailed report on their findings and choose to either write a poem, create a poster or oral presentation in front of class. Even though it was time consuming to design, the students were engaged and as I was only in the classroom one day a week, the students were able to work on it while a wasn't there.
We also created electronic learning tools for Science, which contains information, web links and activity pages. After comparing the two (webquests and electronic learning tools) I found that the electronic learning tool is about the facts, more lower level thinking and more appropriate as a learning experience, whereas the webquest was more an investigation guide for the students as it presented problems and could be seen as a more a unit of work.
A good webquest should be purposefully planned and contain real, relevant and rousing tasks that hooks them in by challenging them with an intriguing scenario that inspires them to take up the challenge."With careful planning, WebQuests can allow both students and teachers to be creative and productive, using this powerful medium to spark the imagination, solve problems, and promote discussion about important issues"(Brown Yoder, n.d)
Brown Yoder, M. (1999) Learning and leading with technology:The student webquest. Retrieved August 12 2009, from, http://www.tenafly.k12.nj.us/do/technology/notebook/resources/5%20The%20Student%20Web%20Quest.pdf
March, T., & Dodge, B. (2001) What are webquests. Retrieved August 12 2009 from,
Queensland department of Education. (2002). Productive pedagogies: classroom reflection manual. Retrieved July 28, 2009 from, http://education.qld.gov.au/public_media/reportscurriculum-framework/productive-pedagogies/
Wilson, J., & Wing Jan, L. (2008). Smart thinking:Developing reflection and metacognition. Primary english teaching association:Marracksville, NSW.