What are some good Australian WebQuests?

by admin 26. January 2010 16:50

As today is Australia Day, it might be a good idea to look at some good Australian WebQuests! It is also Republic Day in India - so I will investigate some Indian WebQuests for later in the week.

The Reviews are from the Team @ WebQuest Direct.

Secondary School WebQuest:

Antarctica - an unspoilt wilderness on earth  Gold award     


Key Learning Areas: HSIE / SOSE / Social Studies
Key Competencies: Collecting, analysing and organising information; Communicating Ideas and information; Solving problems; Working in a team
Tasks: Analytical; Compilation; Journalistic; Persuasion; Research; Science
Grade Levels: Secondary / High School
Country: Australia Australia
Language: English

Designed for students in Year 9 (Queensland, Australia) studying Social Studies particularly Geography. Students are given the following scenario: "The Australian Government has come under enormous pressure recently from multinational companies to look at ways in which Australia can develop Antarctica. These companies are considering the ideas of ecotourism, mining or commercial fishing at Antarctica in 2010. These companies have on many occasions criticised the Federal Government for not doing enough towards the development of Antarctica. As humans we are now able to travel to all parts of the globe and we are becoming more and more interested in commercialising Antarctica. Fearing further criticism and concerns regarding re-election, the Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has requested your team to prepare a presentation into the viability and complex issues that surround these controversial proposals. The Australian Government has requested that a number of Teams explore the impact of ecotourism, mining and commercial fishing proposals on the animals and natural environment of Antarctica." The Big Question is: "Can commercial exploitation and the preservation of the natural Antarctic ecosystem co-exist together?" The roles are: Tour Operator, Environmentalist, Scientist, or, Politician. These roles have questions to be answered and comprehensive resources to look up and research. "The team is to develop a group presentation that contains recommendations that consider issues of tourism impact, scientific research, political pressures, climate, environment and wildlife. Once each individual has researched and developed an argument in relation to their role, they are to come together as a team to develop a conclusion and recommendations. The five (5) summary recommendations that either support or argue against the proposals will be forwarded to the Federal Government Environment Minister Peter Garrett on behalf of the whole team." Resources are comprehensive. Conclusion contains Real World Feedback Complete a class summary of recommendations and send them directly to the Australian Antarctic Division. Students are also challenged to investigate one of the following three issues facing Australian and its environment: Ecotourism in the Daintree Forrest; or, Mining on the Great Barrier Reef; or, Commercial Fishing on the Great Barrier Reef by recording for two weeks any media references to their topic and commenting on their research in a response paper - this is also assessed. Evaluation rubric is provided. Teacher's Guide contains Curriculum Standards for SOSE (Social Studies), Science and Technology; implementation advice; and, Duration: could be incorporated into an unit of work lasting one term (8 - 10 weeks) or stand alone at the end of the unit: 4 weeks. Design and Layout is excellent with images to enhance learning; font size appropriate. Last updated 2008.

A Middle School WebQuest:

The Last Lighthouse Keeper – Web Quest     

Key Learning Areas: HSIE / SOSE / Social Studies
Key Competencies:
Tasks: Other
Grade Levels: Middle
Country: Australia Australia
Language: English

Designed for students in Years 5 - 8. The unit of work focuses on the question of ‘Who wins from automation?’ and uses Tasmanian lighthouses as the prime example. Students may start this WebQuest with a Knowledge Hunt at http://www.maritimetas.org/LLK_KH.html The big questions are: "Should the Keeper remain or should the light be automated?" and "What is your recommendation about the future management of the lighthouse and of the island itself?" Students are to decide on the island's name (English/Dutch); and, the location of several important features such as the lighthouse and associated buildings, the seal colony, and the access. Students explore the pros and cons of automation from the viewpoint of various stakeholders: Lighthouse Keeper and family; Tourism Developers; Environmentalists; Employer Representatives; Yachting Disaster Survivors; and, Lawyers. Each group, besides the lawyers - who help every role, present their recommendation before a class discussion or debate is held to try to resolve the future of the last Lighthouse Keeper. They are to develop a management plan for the lighthouse and the island itself. There is an opportunity to obtain Real Life Feedback from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and families who were lighthouse keepers. Teachers interested in Philosophy for Children could have the class conduct a community of inquiry exploring the question of "Who do you think wins from automation?" Tasmanian Curriculum Standards are listed. Extensive resources listed. Last updated 2004.

A Primary School WebQuest:

Potter's Administration  Gold award    

Key Learning Areas: English & Language Arts (ELA); HSIE / SOSE / Social Studies; Technology & Design; The Arts & Music
Key Competencies: Collecting, analysing and organising information; Communicating Ideas and information; Planning and organising activities; Solving problems; Working in a team
Tasks: Analytical; Compilation; Creative Product; Mystery; Research
Grade Levels: Primary / Elementary; Middle
Country: Australia Australia
Language: English

Designed for students in Years 6 - 7 (Queensland, Australia, or Years 5 - 6 students in most other Australian States), based on Harry Potter, and on the study of all levels of Australian Government. Students are invited to become one of Dumbledore's Army to see if the Australian Government System is the one for the Newly Revised Ministry of Magic. Students are to take on a role (Muggle, Aura, Ministry Official; House-elf, Centaur or Giant) and investigate the Australian Government from this beings perspective and identify the key parts of this style of government that would particularly suit them by using a Venn Diagram to demonstrate the similarities and differences between the different levels of government; identify leaders, deputies and opposition; and describe significant roles and government responsibilities i.e. Garbage collection and Defence services; assemble a draft of the most significant responsibilities of each level of government; negotiate within their team and come up with the 4 most significant responsibilities of each; devise 4 spells that the Ministry could use to implement their 4 most important responsibilities; name the spells; and, clarify what the spell would do. Students are to come to consensus on whether the New Magical Government should use the Australian Government as a superior prototype. Students are to then design and present a Power Point and short oral presentation to the other members of Dumbledore’s Army, The Order and The Head of the Ministry where each member explains who they were and their perspective on the need for a Magical Government; describe the significantly important aspects of the Australian Government for the new Magical government; and, explain the 4 spells created and their specific function, for each level of government. Resources: comprehensive. Evaluation rubric is provided. Conclusion: students are told that they "have been nominated for election into Government for the Ministry of Magic". Students are to come prepared in appropriate dress, bring their profile and be prepared to appeal to their peers for selection. Their profile has to be a poster with their name, preferred office position and slogan, list of special magical skills and one significant quality which they think would make them the most pleasing representative. Teacher's Guide provides Duration: 4 weeks (3 hours per week), Queensland Curriculum Outcomes are listed, information about each of the Tasks; and, feedback from another school about their experiences. Design and layout: visually exciting as well as audio clips to enhance student learning. This activity has turned a somewhat boring topic "Three levels of Government within Australia" to an exciting relevant topic. Last updated 2008.

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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!


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