Applying Hattie’s ideas to WebQuest design I’ve written a lot of WebQuests. My starting point is always, “what do I want my students to learn?”. Only when you are clear about the outcomes of the activity should you start to scope the web for resources. Sometimes you have to give up on making a specific WebQuest because suitable resources just aren’t out there- yup, the web is not infallible! The following are my suggestions for how to produce your own WebQuest that incorporates Hattie’s high effect size components. Following the list I consider each component in more detail with examples. You can try out the WebQuest linked to the resources by clicking the ‘Try One’ button in the navigation bar above. A challenging, engaging task Clear, explicit, differentiated success criteria A research scaffold Engaging web resources Peer and self assessment Task The task should be motivating and engaging. I suspect that “The Science of Paint Drying” would handicap you from the start. Clicking the image to the right will open up a task introduction sheet designed for 13 year olds about to start a WebQuest on vaccination. I typically introduce the WebQuest to a group of learners through the use of a video clip or two that I hope will grab their interest. This is typically part of the WebQuest although I will show it to the group using a data projector. We would then discuss the WebQuest task, and consider what we know already that could help with its completion. Goals and Success Criteria The success criteria should be explicit- as Hattie and Marzano’s work has shown. They should be written in student-speak too, in order to maximise their accessiblity to learners. To create the success criteria you need to carefully scrutinise the relevant exam board specification or national curriculum materials. These give indications of areas for differentiation in the success criteria. Choosing the appropriate root from Bloom’s taxonomy can also help you formulate the verb for each success criterium too (list, describe, explain, analyse, contrast, evaluate etc...). Click the image on the right to open a PDF of success criteria linked to the vaccination WebQuest described above. Teachers need clear goals and success criteria too! Click here for the teacher’s notes. Research Scaffold Research into WebQuest effectiveness has highlighted the value of providing a scaffold to guide the work of the learner when examining the web resources. The value of graphic organizers has been emphasized by Marzano, and I have discussed it on this page. Graphic organisers of one form or another are my preferred option for a WebQuest research scaffold. When I coordinate a WebQuest with a group of learners, I regularly model good examples of research on their graphic organisers, and generate discussion about the findings of learners within the class. Click the image on the right for the PDF version that accompanies the vaccination WebQuest. Engaging Web Resources Finding these is your biggest challenge, and your success (or lack of it) can make or break a WebQuest with regard to how motivating it is for the learner. Your goal as a WebQuest architect is to identify engaging resources that present the required information and develop understanding in engaging ways. Look for a mix of written and multi-media material, and be careful about reading ages and the volume of written text that you present. Interactivity is good where you can find it, e.g. Flash-based games and simulations. (And yes, I know what a shame it is that the majority of schools still block YouTube...) Finally, remember that the internet is ephemeral and before you know it, that great resource that you linked to has moved...   Self and Peer Assessment On completion of the synoptic task, learners benefit enormously through self or peer assessment of the work. Remember- students need to be trained in this activity, and I generally model the process using examples of students work and a visualiser attached to the data projector. It’s worth the effort though, given the large effect sizes linked to the practice. This assessment process of course generates targets for improvement, and I am a firm believer that these should be done in class with guidance- certainly with younger learners. More on WebQuest Pedagogy A well designed WebQuest can still fail if learners aren’t supported in its use. Hattie’s work makes it clear that it is a pro-active, facilitative teacher that enhances achievement most. In that vein, a summary of my suggested pedagogy for WebQuests can be read here.
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