A WebQuest can be a useful, engaging and interesting learning tool which encompasses the various benefits of the wide world web. Dodge (2007) defines WebQuests as being "an inquiry orientated activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the internet." WebQuests are emphasised for their ability to incorporate authentic and meaningful tasks within the classroom while linking to the various resources available on the internet (March, 2003). They need to based around a problem or question that can enhance the students higher order thinking skills and collaborative skills.
The use of this as a tool within the classroom is an effective means in incorporating students within the decision making processes while self directing their own learning. By allow students to move through different stages of work at their own pace choosing the direction they are going, they are making decisions about their learning and reflecting on the paths they have chosen. This according to Siemens (2004) is itself a learning process, which allows the students to choose the meaning and incoming information which is seen through a lens of a shifting reality. Their decisions can impact the solution or answer by showing that even though it may be the right answer now it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations that can occur in the information climate which may affect the decision (Siemens, 2004). The use of WebQuests also incorporates the frame work of the Engagement Theory developed by Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) as it incorporates aspects of related to the students through a driving question or a task that through the collaborative processes undertaken encompassing problem solving
There are many different ways in which this learning tool can be incorporated within the classroom while embedding a real life and authentic approach. Fortunately I have had the opportunity to develop this skill in creating a WebQuest for a cohort of learners. This WebQuest encompassed a transdiciplinary approach as the learning outcomes selected crossed over into several KLA’s, the main ones present were English and SOSE. When creating a WebQuest one must ensure that deep and instructional thought processes are incorporated through the creation and implementation of a driving question within the design as well as an in depth search into web resources that can be used to extend and refine their knowledge. When done correctly WebQuests bring together an effective instructional design (such as constructivism) within curriculum requirements (March, 2002).
Dodge, B. (2007). WebQuest.org. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from http://webquest.org/index.php
Kearsley, G . & Shneiderman, B . (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
March, T. (2003). The Learning Power of WebQuests. Retrieved August 13, 2009, from http://tommarch.com/writings/wq_power.php
March, T. (2002). Why WebQuests? Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.internet4classrooms.com/why_webquest.htm
Seimens, G . (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm