Dodge’s six-part structure WebQuests were originally devised by the brilliantly named Bernie Dodge of San Diago University. Dodge makes it clear that, as long as you can create a document with hyperlinks in it, you can create a WebQuest. That means that a WebQuest can be created using all sorts of platforms, including such classroom stalwarts as Word and  Powerpoint. Dodge makes it clear that, if it is going to be called a WebQuest, it must have certain critical attributes: is wrapped around a doable and interesting task that is ideally a scaled down version of things that adults do as citizens or workers. requires higher level thinking, not simply summarizing. This includes synthesis, analysis, problem-solving, creativity and judgement. makes good use of the web. A WebQuest that isn't based on real resources from the web is probably just a traditional lesson in disguise. (Of course, books and other media can be used within a WebQuest, but if the web isn't at the heart of the lesson, it's not a WebQuest.) isn't a research report or a step-by-step science or math procedure. Having learners simply distilling web sites and making a presentation about them isn't enough. isn't just a series of web-based experiences. Having learners go look at this page, then go play this game, then go here and turn your name into hieroglyphs doesn't require higher level thinking skills and so, by definition, isn't a WebQuest. In order to achieve these ends, Dodge recommends a six-part structure for an effective WebQuest: An extensive guide to the detail of creating WebQuests can be read on this page at  WebQuest Pedagogy Segers et al (2010) highlight the importance of the manner of delivery of a WebQuest to learners- in essence learners need to be coordinated in their exploration of the web and in their creation of the synoptic task. WebQuests are not as effective when used completely independently, particularly (as in their study) with younger learners. Segers et al conclude that, “the main point we want to stress in this article is that a WebQuest is a tool that can be used very effectively, but needs the teacher to orchestrate the learning experience and the WebQuest needs embedding in the day-to-day activities in the classroom”. The work of Segers et al incorporates the suggestions made by Young and Wilson (2002) concerning a WebQuest pedagogy designed to support reflection and conceptual change. Young and Wilson suggest the addition of two further stages to the WebQuest process suggested by Dodge. Firstly, some concept mapping of existing ideas that learners have that are relevant to the WebQuest task. Secondly, a review session on completion of the task in which learners examine and compare each others work. Note this WebQuest author’s use of various high effect sze strategies. Scaffolding In essence, a WebQuest provides a scaffold to allow easier access to web resources by specifying those links most useful for the learning task rather than relying on the learner’s competency with search engines. They also reduce the amounts of time spent by learners discriminating between different resources. Clearly these are important skills in their own right that learners should acquire, but they can often be obstacles to learning from web-based materials for students of all ages. MacGregor and Lou (2004) found that concept mapping templates coordinated with the research tasks enhanced students’ free recall. The templates included guidance on how to organize the information that they researched on each website. MacGregor and Lou concluded that the provision of a template helped the learners to extract information from the websites, and helped them to be able to remember, present and organise that information. Web2Quests Kurt (2009) observes that, “Since the creation of the innovation [WebQuests] almost 15 years ago, the Web has changed significantly, while the WebQuest technique has changed little”. Kurt  goes on to state that, “WebQuests should embrace the benefits of Web 2.0 in order to engage today’s learners with the information we introduce through this method”. He discusses the uses of Blogs and Wikis as the platform through which learners complete the WebQuest task, and makes the case that, “another advantage of using Blogs and Wikis as a basis for WebQuests is that they can simplify the design aspects of this technique by making use of templates, which are pre-developed Website layouts”. John Sowash shows how it’s done using Google Sites. Authoring Platforms WebQuests can be made in any format that allows hyperlinks to be created, therefore they can be made easily in software packages like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. They can also easily be created on simple Blogging sites like Blogger or Blogspot. An excellent platform that is designed specifically for creating WebQuests is Bernie Dodge’s own site QuestGarden. It is extremely easy to use, offers a ready-made WebQuest template and only costs you $20 for a two year licence. Why so cheap? Bernie Dodge sums it up, “QuestGarden is priced very low because, frankly, teachers aren't paid nearly what they're worth to society. Since we have no venture capitalists to pay off we can keep the fee within the reach of most student teacher/part-time waitresses. The goal is to get lots of educators doing great deeds and inspiring each other to teach better”. Get your wallet out.
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