Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Web Quest

Web Quests are an inquiry based e-learning activity aimed on engage students by researching a key question to which there is no one clear answer. Web quests can be the basis of authentic tasks whereby each class member can take on individual or shared real-world roles. Web quests are particularly useful in the SOSE learning area. It enables students to explore events, environments and people from many different viewpoints.

Web Quests can also alter the way the classroom works. Rather then being concentrated at their desks with books and pencils students are in front of computers. The computer acts as a link to the outside world; a link to outside resources, real life videos, live discussions...endless possibilities for learning.

It is important that some scaffolding takes place before a web quest is undertaken by the class. Students (particularly lower years) will need to learn how to navigate back and forth and in between different web pages. If group work is not a regular occurrence in the classroom and there are shared group roles then some "get-to-know-you" activities will need to be done. Surprisingly, not much work needs to be done on getting students to stay focused on the task at hand. Although no one has been able to pin point why this is so I believe that it is because the students are involved in an authentic task and they can see the relevance and the rewards of discovering a solution.

A web quest is a time consuming and also sometimes complicated delivery method to design. It is important that it is designed so that it effectively covers at least two learning areas in order for it to be an efficient learning tool. English and SOSE are the two most likely contenders for web quests as students will research on a topic and generally use some form of literacy media to show what they have learnt. A web quest does however suite Oliver's Learning Design Construct as the learning task, resources and supports are all inter-related.

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