WebQuests - Sun Associates

Creating Successful
What is inquiry-based
Learning that involves exploring the world,
making discoveries, testing those discoveries, in
the search for new understanding.
Traditional education discourages the natural
process of inquiry. Students learn not to ask too
many questions, and instead are asked to
repeat expected answers.
Traditional vs. Inquirybased
Closed system
Emphasis on facts
Resources limited to
Questions “outside
the box” are put off
Assessment on
retained knowledge
Open system
Emphasis on learning
Resources are openended
Explore all questions
that may come up
Assessment on all
steps of the process
Advantages of Inquiry
Based Learning
Helps students identify and refine their “real”
questions into learning opportunities
Validates the experience and knowledge that all
students bring to the learning process
Awakens confidence, interest, and self esteem
of students
Well-suited to collaborative learning
Can work with any age group
What’s important
Change from a focus from what we know to how
we know.
Give kids a desire to raise questions and
continue looking for answers throughout life
Internet can be overwhelming. Our task is to
help kids understand how to make sense of the
What is the teacher’s role?
Facilitator of learning - ask questions that lead
to more questions
Think about purpose and make plans
Constantly be alert to obstacles
Essential Questions
"Schools often engage students in collecting
answers, in accumulating information. But
essential questions require that students spend
time pondering the meaning and importance of
from “Trivial Pursuit to Essential Questions and Standards-Based
What is a WebQuest?
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 looking for it, and to support
learners’ thinking at the levels of analysis,
synthesis, and evaluation. (Bernie Dodge)
Why WebQuests?
 Offers exposure to different viewpoints that are usually
needed to construct meaning on complex topics.
 Allows students to benefit from being linked to a variety
of web resources so they can explore and make sense
of issues.
 Involves or places students in situations which compel
them to read, speak, listen, think and write.
WebQuest vs. Other Webbased Activities
Subject Sampler
Includes a smaller number of links (3-5) organized around a
main topic. Students do, read, or see something at each site and
are asked to respond to it by carrying out activities.
Treasure Hunt
Contains a collection of links (8-12) essential to understanding a
given topic. One key question is posed for each link. A
culminating “big question” gives students the opportunity to gain
a broader understanding of the topic.
Characteristics of
Effective WebQuests
Increases student motivation
Develops critical thinking skills
Cooperative learning
Technology integration
Parts of a WebQuest
Parts of a WebQuestNon-critical
Group Activities
Motivational Elements
Role to play
Scenario to work within
Single discipline or Interdisciplinary
A concise paragraph or two that supplies
students with background information and
motivation for completing the project.
Includes a question that students will
Example- Rock the Vote
Provides a clear outline of what students
will accomplish
The task is considered the single most
important part of a WebQuest.
Task categories- retelling, compilation, mystery,
journalistic, design, creative product, consensus
building, persuasion, self-knowledge, analytical,
judgement, scientific
Example-Tail of 2 Millenniums
A detailed, step by step guide each
student team follows to accomplish the
task, complete with Web links embedded
in each step.
Example- An Insect’s Perspective
Contains a list of the information sources
(Web sites, print books, magazines,
atlases, etc.) students should use to
complete the task.
A rubric that evaluates the work of each
student team and should relate specifically
to the central task.
Example- A New Twist on an Old Tale
Wraps up the activity and gives students a
chance to reflect on what they’ve learned.
Example- Finding the Lighthouse Diamond Thief
Examining WebQuest Scenarios
Take Me on Vacation!
Let’s Have a Field Day!
DNA for Dinner? http://www.gis.net/~peacewp/webquest.htm
Look Who’s Footing the Bill!
Finding Existing
 Search Bernie Dodge’s WebQuest Site
 Tom March’s Best WebQuests http://bestwebquests.com
 Knowledge Network Explorer Search
 GEC Computers in the Classroom WebQuest Locator
 edHelper.com- Lesson Plans and WebQuests
Evaluating WebQuests
Some rubrics for evaluating WebQuests
WebQuest Rubric
Ozline WebQuest Rubric
WebQuest Evaluation Form
Contact Information
Sun Associates
Suite 216
55 Middlesex Street
N. Chelmsford, Massachusetts 01863
978-251-8700 fax
Kerry McLaughlin- [email protected]

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