WebQuest Overview (SDSU Workshops)

Webquest Overview (Bernie Dodge)
The father of WebQuests….

What is a WebQuest?
A structured inquiry-based activity where the most of all information students use comes from the web. Ideally it is wrapped around a do-able, authenitc task.

Life and Work are getting more complex, not less

  • Making sense of the new
  • taking a stand on complex issues
  • solving problems creatively
  • expressing oneself creatively with new tools (“it’s easy to make bad music now quickly”)

The Ancient Past (1995)
The first WebQuest: Investigating Archaeotype: A WebQuest

Archaeotype was a multimedia software created at the Dalton School (wealthy school in New York) for simulating the process of examining an archaeological site. Dodge did not have access to the software created a web site that was provided a sense of how the software worked. Used CUSeeMe to videoconference with the teacher and software developer. Students, in groups, than responded to a series of questions to try and determine if the software would work for inner city kids in San Diego– “making sense of the new to make an informed decision” and then developed a recommendation base don their work.

a” revolutionary experience” that “changed they way I taught”

What Felt New?

  • They got to work right away (students are working teachers coming to class at night)
  • Their conversations were deep
  • They were engaged
  • I only introduced, debugged, and debriefed
  • They were using authentic data

The Present
Created the WebQuest site in 1998 to document the process and collect examples created by teachers elsewhere (2000+ in the database)

(1) ACL WebQuest: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~gsford/intro.htm about a sports injury using real world items (“as they say in Law and Order, ‘Ripped from the Headlines'”). Provides and intro, an activity, a process, and an evaluation rubric. The trick is to create a task where everyone has an integral work, “they great work takes place away from the computer”.

Is it a webquest? It has the parts but no “heart and soul”. It just produces a report, a powerpoint.

(2) Too Hot To Handle – When Athletes + Heat = tragedy

The outcome is more than a report but a recommendation for an important issue. Different points of view by assigned roles has built in controversy that generates dialogue and learning.

What distinguishes a great WebQuest from the Others
* Introduction
* Task #### the key is here #### meaty, rich, complicated, authentic
* Process
* Evaluation
* Teacher Page

WebQuests vs Web Exercises:
Webquests at top of Blooms Taxonomy (Evaluation, synthesis, analysis)

Bernie’s Taxonomy:

WebQuest Design Patterns (26 currently)

e.g. teaching history by having students create alternate histories, analyzing for bias

Coming Soon
The answer to the construction problems: Webquest Authoring Tool (under construction). A guided process for creating a WebQuest via a web site authoring form. Define topic, pick a design pattern (following prompts based on the chosen design pattern). Will house webquests on server, make them downloadable. Available end of June.

Do you need a fancy computer lab? “No, I think computer labs actually get in the way of the process”. Need no more than 3 student to one computer, more need table space for group work.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


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