Overview: What is a WebQuest?

by frances 2. January 2010 23:25

WebQuests:  

  • are a sub-set of Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
  • encourage students to use higher order thinking skills to solve a real messy problem.
  • use collaborative techniques
  • use emotional intelligence by giving students the opportunity to "become" a perspective or role
  • are units of work varying in length of time and depth 
  • use mainly Internet resources as their references but not limited to them

Pedagogy behind WebQuests:

  • Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
  • Multiple Intelligences
  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Cooperative Learning 
  • Constructivism

WebQuests are NOT:

  • Worksheets online
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • just Research Assignments
  • Online activities around a theme or topic

Sites:

What is PBL? Adelaide University Publication

Augusta State University: Constructivism & Introduction to PBL, ...What is a Valuable problem?  (PPT)

Integrated Curriculum PBL Lesson Requirements 

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What is a WebQuest?

2010: What is a WebQuest?

by frances 1. January 2010 17:11
This year I'm going to concentrate on exploring the topic: What is a WebQuest?, as I am concerned after reviewing lots of "WebQuests" that the concept is not fully understood by teachers, student teachers and trainers. It seems such a pity that this amazing concept by Prof Bernie Dodge and Tom March might be cut off from students and new ideas and innovations not explored.
  
I will explore the six or seven sections [Introduction, Task, Process, Resources, Evaluation, Conclusion, Teacher's/Trainer's Guide] within a WebQuest by showing examples of great WQs within the following subject areas:
  • Careers
  • English & Language Arts (ELA)
  • English as a Second Language (ESL/EFL)
  • Family and Consumer Science
  • Languages Other than English
  • Library
  • Life Skills
  • Mathematics
  • Personal Development, Health & Physical Education (PE), Sports
  • Professional Development
  • Religious Education & Values
  • Science
  • Social Studies - History, Geography, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy 
  • Special Education
  • Technology and Design
  • The Arts & Music
  • The Classics
Let me know if you wish to have any other topic explored!!! I will use the thousands of WQ reviews within WebQuest Direct to give you these great examples.
  
I will also explore some University level WQs - as I think more University instruction and assessment should be based around WebQuests.
     
I will also look at the underpinning pedagogy particularly Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, HOTS, PBL, Collaborative Learning Techniques, and embedding Technologies.
   
Tips: Creative Thinking
For Christmas, I was given an exciting book: The Creativity Formula

This book by Dr. Amantha Imber provides 50 proven creativity boosters - just the thing for WebQuesters!

Hope you enjoy the journey!!!

All the best for this new and hopefully exciting year, 2010.

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What is a WebQuest?

EduBlog Awards 2009

by frances 23. December 2009 07:58

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News & Events

Bloom's Glorious Blooms!

by frances 15. December 2009 13:00

This is an email that I received as part of the ABC Teaching Science Discussion List, earlier this year, from Jennifer Riggs, a Brisbane Teacher, who has written about Bloom's... here is an extract:

"The aim? To work towards higher levels, to produce excellence. Even when the given topic only asks the student to ‘give an account of’,  an account that is developed to the point of evaluation will be recognised as superior work.

Teachers of ‘the gifted’ are advised to keep them working at the end of the range – why only the gifted?

 

Parents and teachers who inspire and encourage the young to higher levels are encouraging giftedness, raising performance towards potential. (In fact teachers, and sometimes parents, don’t always recognise giftedness and the more we treat every child as gifted, the more we can expect some really nice surprises – with late Bloomers?)


The beauty is that it works. Quite easily too. No need to conscientiously work through the whole lot every time - the more basic stages take care of themselves. At the top of the ladder the lower rungs have already been negotiated. In ‘Bloom’ each category includes or subsumes the one before it (one can hardly apply something until one knows and comprehends, nor can one analyse or synthesise without having mastered the previous stages).

How to do it? Simply by moving towards higher stages in informal ways. A child who from early days understands the word and the concept of ‘house’ (knowledge and comprehension) could be led to think about:
•           what it takes to build one, what goes into a house (analysis)
•           planning an ideal house, making a cubby or a model (synthesis)
•           evaluating one’s own product and houses in the environment or in illustrations (evaluation)

An assignment could well follow the Bloom pattern, starting with explanation and definition, as the introduction (Knowledge & Comprehension) followed by function etc. (Application) and going on to a breakdown of the topic (Analysis) and constructive thinking on the subject (Synthesis), culminating in the necessary conclusion, which is a fitting place for evaluative thinking …

A more sophisticated assignment model could differentiate tasks, so that students aiming for excellence can go straight to a complex product, subsuming earlier stages, whereas others could choose to do a similar amount of work at a lower level of consolidation and/or enquiry. The final evaluation could include the peer review that is such an essential part of high level academic work.

Every missed opportunity to press on to evaluation and metacognition denies the challenge that leads to an improved product.

When students know about the Bloom strategy, they begin to activate it in their own work, and that is the way to lift themselves from C’s to B’s to A’s." Jennifer Riggs (2009, 4/6/09 - Email to ABC Science Teaching Discussion List).

 

This position and thinking is very important when teachers are constructing lessons, resources and, particularly WebQuests! Raise the benchmark when giving students Higher Order Thinking Skill Activities! They will relish the challenge!

 

If you would like to contact Jennifer yourself, here is her email address: Jennifer Riggs [clues@uq.net.au]

 

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Research & Case Studies | What is a WebQuest?

When a WebQuest ISN'T a WebQuest!

by frances 15. December 2009 12:04
This is the email I sent to Sofia Khayech, Youth Campaign Project Officer, The Cancer Council NSW on Sunday. I had been involved with its development giving feedback about how to convert it into a WebQuest. Unfortunately only some of my recommendations were taken up:

"I have gone into this resource to review it – so the review is now available for our subscribers. [WebQuest Direct]  

It was very hard for me to give it a final rating of only 2.5/5 as the resource is SO good.
But it is still not a WebQuest as I stated earlier in my thoughts to you, and I need to be faithful to my rating device of only giving 2.5 if the resource is not a WQ despite it being created and constructed beautifully.  
Unfortunately, I have only given it a 2.5/5 as it does not have 2 of the required elements to be a WebQuest:
·         required Group work[ so the project cannot be completed individually] that allows students to solve the messy problem and,
·         roles or perspectives where students are to solve the messy problem together but with different viewpoints given.   
Here is my review [for WebQuest Direct]:  “This is a comprehensive and well constructed web-based project designed for students in Years 9 - 10 (Stage 5, NSW, Australia) by the Cancer Council of NSW and based on Al Bino’s music video "It's A Beautiful Day". It was developed for students studying Media.  Unfortunately, students are not given roles or perspectives to solve the problem presented - an essential element of a WebQuest. Students can also work individually so deleting another requirement of a WebQuest - to work in groups. Students, individually or in groups of four, are to create a powerful multimedia message [using either a music clip, a video, a website or a social networking site] about skin cancer and the important ways young people can protect themselves from the sun. After they have composed their multimedia response they are to write an individual critical reflection outlining their learning experience. In detail, they are to use Al Bino’s music video; review the key elements of Al Bino’s music video and analyse how he uses different techniques to get his message about skin cancer across. Students are to complete 7 steps: 1: MySpace is MyPlace where they are to examine the context, audience and purpose; 2: What you looking at? where they are to identify and understand Visual Literacy features; 3: Rip it apart where they are to deconstruct the Visual Literacy features of Al Bino’s music clip; 4: Same or different? where they are to compare & contrast mediums of visual literacy targeting youth audiences using The Offspring "Pretty Fly" music clip; 5: Your turn where students are to create their own response (can be completed in groups or individually); 6: Stop. Reflect. Present - here students are to write a critical reflection and present their work; and, 7: Publish it - this is where students are to publish their final response.
Resources: comprehensive.
Evaluation rubric is provided.
No Conclusion is given although the competition which closes in early 2010 is probably seen as the Conclusion.
Teacher's Guide includes Curriculum Standards for NSW Media; some Implementation Advice; Duration: 5 weeks [40 minute lessons x6/fortnight] - which is very tight considering the amount of work students are to accomplish - homework will be essential although most students will not have access to software required at home.  
Design and Layout: students will need access to MySpace, Facebook, Ning, and YouTube; and, the software: Audacity; Animoto, Toondoo, VoiceThread, to complete this project. Also they will need access to listening to music clips.
Created in 2009." 
Despite this review as a WebQuest, it is a very good web-based resource for students and teachers in NSW! I hope you get lots of students and teachers using it – although it is a pity that they will think of this as a WebQuest.  
What will happen to this resource once the competition is over? [In March 2010].
I certainly hope Teachers and Students in NSW alike will enjoy doing this web-based project - it has lots to commend it BUT unless it is pointed out to them - this is NOT a WebQuest.

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What is a WebQuest?

Head of Treasury's Speech to ANU graduates

by frances 13. December 2009 09:43

 

 

Dr. Ken Henry
Australian Head of Treasury

Dr. Ken Henry's Call to Arms was reported in Peter Martin's Blog yesterday. It is a wonderfully crafted speech with challenges to our new graduates that they make a difference in their lives and ultimately, our lives.

The end of his speech, Dr. Ken Henry stated: "Climate change adaptation and the response to mitigation strategies will also have profound implications for the pattern of human settlement on this continent.

Taken together, these forces could produce the largest structural adjustment in our economic history.

And the emergence of China and India, especially because of its implications for global commodities demand, has conferred on Australia a large boost to its real wealth; but, at the same time, has set up a set of structural adjustments that will challenge policy makers for decades.

Challenges of these dimensions confront countries all over the world today. In all countries there are immense challenges that will test the limits of sustainability; economic, social and environmental.

Of course, they also offer unprecedented opportunity. This really could be a golden age for much of the world's population.

But here's the thing: the way this plays out is up to you. It is not something you should be leaving to governments. The question for you is whether you want to be able to say to your children, and their children, that you did everything you could to ensure that their generation would also enjoy the freedom to choose lives they would have reason to value."

It is truly wonderful to have a person in charge of Australian Government's Treasury Department with such views.

Last year, July 2008, there was a report in the Daily Telegraph with the heading: "Treasury boss Ken Henry leaves post to look after wombats".

 

Dr. Ken Henry with a northern hairy-nosed wombat.
When creating an Economics WebQuest for students in Years 9 - 12 or beyond - at University, Teachers and Trainers might think to add a perspective based on Dr. Ken Henry!

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General

Kiva.org

by frances 8. December 2009 14:21

Kiva.org "We Let You Loan to Low Income Entrepreneurs".....Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on Kiva, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else."

Kiva.org will allow students to participate in micro-credit and carry on the work of Muhammad Yunus, the Noble Peace Prize winner. Or they can investigate Yunus' ideas on social business through his website.

 

If you are creating a WebQuest around Poverty, Economics, or Commerce consider using this Resource!

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In the Classroom

Our Graphic Designer is so clever!

by frances 7. December 2009 09:20

Fuzz [Louise] of Fuzz Illustrations, Cambridge UK, is our notable graphic designer for "Your SWAT" [Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool].

Fuzz has just produced 3 iPhone Ebooks!!! They are fabulous!!! To have a look  iTunes: http://itunes.com/FuzzIllustration or if you want to see The Night Before Christmas in action go to: YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y6Fk0hHVCI

Fuzz has a great blog: http://fuzzillo.livejournal.com/ where you can see some of her creative work.

Earlier in the year, Fuzz was the feature illustrator on the British Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) site!

We are grateful that Louise is so passionate about her illustrations. To see what she has done for us, go to Your SWAT http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/swat

Here are some of the templates Louise has put together for us:

Ancient Persia                                              Diet and Exercise

Antarctica                                                   Under the sea

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News & Events

Prezi - a new presentation tool

by frances 25. November 2009 15:22

I just came across this presentation tool http://prezi.com/ the other day! It is fabulous!!!

If you want to give any sort of presentation a lift - then I highly recommend this tool. It was placed 28th best of 2009 e-Learning Tools at Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies

This would be a wonderful tool to give to students to create their presentations at the end of their WebQuests.

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Web Tools to improve a WebQuest

Our WebQuest Competition

by frances 25. November 2009 05:39

At the moment, we are awaiting the final submissions for WebQuests for this year 2009!

 

If you have created an excellent WebQuest this year, please submit it to our competition!

All you need do is register and submit a short summary of your WebQuest!

 

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General

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Other WebQuest & Educational Blogs

As I come across other WebQuest Blogs (& Educational ones), I will list them here.

Jane Hart's Blog (Jane is a Social Technologies Guru in UK)

Scot Aldred's Blog (Colleague at Central Queensland University and guru on Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

The Innovative Educator

Digital Education Blog

Blogging Corner Carnival

eLearn Magazine Blog

Dr. Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine

Primary School.com.au Blog

Charlie Sullivan - Charlie does a fantastic job collating websites for Primary schools.

De Tools Blog

This blog by and for online educators and features free web based tools applications and resources. Author: John Goldsmith.

Bright Ideas: a blog by the School Library Association of Victoria

The Book Whisperer

This blog is written by Donalyn Miller, a 6th Grade teacher in Texas, who is reknown for encouraging students to read!

 

Clustr Map

Created WebQuests

Champions of Justice
Federator
Gold Force
Community Shopping Centre Planner
Can you get the party started?
Reminders of our moral conscience
The Petrov Affair
Careers
My Business Rules
Pluto's planetary status