My first encounter with WebQuests came last year when we were required to design one for our BLM subject SOSE. This was very interesting, a task that yet again was not without its dilemmas. I don't know how many times we had to redo our hyperlinks and in the end I still don't think they all worked correctly. My hand goes out to those whom have created, what I think are an excellent resource for inspiring problem based learning.
WebQuest are an interactive inquiry base lesson framework that contains links to the information that learners require to investigate the key question that defines the direction of the learning. WebQuests are a technology based teaching and learning tool that allows students to learn using the basic principles of the Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory. They provide opportunity for students to use the internet while engaging in the kinds of thinking that the 21st century requires.
As a learning Manager trying to be proactive about increasing the use of technology within the classroom I believe that Webquests are an effective tool for conducting problem based learning, particularly in the key learning areaas of SOSE, history and related topics. The time required to produce personalised Webquests is dependent on the depth of knowledge and understanding outcomes that are expected and on the ability of the designer. These are issues that need to be weighed up when choosing whether to design ones own Webquest or choose from one of the many that are already available and makiing adaptations where possible.
Dodge, B (2007) WebQuest.org; What is a Webquest?, San Diego State University Department of Educational Technology, Retrieved 19th August 2009 from http://www.webquest.org/
Kearsley, G. and Shniederman, B (undated) Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning, Retrieved 25th July 2009 from http://home.sprynet.com%Egkearsley/engage.htm