Saturday, August 1, 2009

Web Quests

Web Quests are structured learning activities in which students investigate problems or issues, using the web as a resource. Ideally they engage students in higher order thinking and problem solving and involve them in meaningful, challenging and motivating inquiry. They are structured to provide students with scaffolding (Oliver's Learning Design framework) that direct them to reliable and developmentally appropriate websites and avoid the frustration of time wastage on unproductive searching.

For a Web Quest, students are presented with an authentic situation and a task, which is usually a problem to solve or a project to complete. Although they are scaffolded and support student learning, they still facilitate self-directed learning. They provide an authentic meaningful contextual learning environment, which enhances the nature of learning and thinking, problem solving and the integration of knowledge (Kearsley and Shneiderman's Engagement Theory and the Active Learning Framework).

Web Quests can be utilised in a number of ways in the classroom. They could be whole class, individual or small group work, where each group member has a specific role. They could be used to conclude a unit of work where students are able to have the opportunity to clarify what they have learnt during the unit and apply this knowledge in activities within the Web Quest that require critical thinking. Web Quests could also be used at the start of a unit to engage the students in a new area of learning.

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