Saturday, August 8, 2009


From researching WebQuests, I have learnt that this is an educational tool utilising the internet to engage learners and to cover many different educational topics. “A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web.” (Dodge, 1995). “Teachers have embraced WebQuests as a way to make good use of the internet while engaging their students in the kinds of thinking that the 21st century requires.” (Dodge, 1995). I found so many WebQuests on the internet by just typing ‘WebQuest’ into my search browser. One result link took me directly to a directory where teachers can search for different WebQuests that have been reviewed and/or rated by other teachers. (WebQuest Direct, 2009). Although this site requires a fee to access it, it is available for schools to purchase and subscription and therefore many WebQuests can become accessible for teachers to utilise different for their classes.

I asked myself when reading about WebQuests, what makes them so appealing to students and important in relations to education? I then realised that the answer to this question, actually relates directly to Kearsley and Shneiderman’s Engagement Theory, where it states that “students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks.” (Kearsley & Shneiderman, 1999). WebQuests are inquiry based and therefore enable students to remain engaged with the content through completing a variety of steps, stages and learning activities. One inquiry model that I am familiar with thanks to studying last years SOSE course is the TELSTAR model which I think is a great model to use when designing a WebQuest. (Tune in, Explore, Look, Sort, Test, Act, Reflect.) (Gordon, n.d.).

A site I came across listed many benefits of WebQuests that related to Kearsley & Shneiderman’s theory also. The benefits they listed about WebQuests are:
• “Students confront a complex and controversial real-world issue
• Students grapple with a central question that truly needs answering
• Students utilize real world, up-to-date resources on the Web (from experts, current reporting, and/or fringe groups)
• Students assume roles and must develop expertise
• Results of student work can be posted or sent to real people for feedback and evaluation.
• Based upon elements of cognitive psychology and constructivism. You provide guidance on the thinking process you want your students to follow. (Prompting or Scaffolding). Students are exposed to a broad range of information, examples, and opinions; they construct their own meaning which connects with their prior knowledge and experiences. (Constructivism)
• Contain concrete instructional objectives and tasks.
• Students must transform information in some way, exercising higher order thinking skills like error analysis, comparison, and synthesis.
• By taking on roles, students become experts on a specific aspect of a large and complex topic.
• The students work in groups to solve problems, utilizing their different areas of expertise. (Similar to work situations in real life.)
• The work of individual students is important, as it adds to the quality of the group's solution.” (March, n.d.).

In SOSE, we were required to create a WebQuest on a sustainability topic. When creating the WebQuest, I did encounter some issues that I considered might be an issue or concern that teachers may face also when creating WebQuests to be used in their classrooms. I found that:
- I had limited knowledge of how to actually create one that was usable for the internet
- It was somewhat time consuming and very fiddly to get different elements of the WebQuest correct and look appealing
- It required extensive research and planning to correctly design the WebQuest (in relations to curriculum) for the target audience and outcomes that needed to be met during and at the end of the WebQuest.
In short, it wasn’t such an easy task as I thought it would be and was more complex and intricate than I first thought.

I do believe that because there are so many WebQuests available on the internet that can be used, if teachers do not feel they have to capabilities, confidence or time to create a WebQuest themselves, this can be useful to them. By using WebQuests in the classroom, students are able to be exposed to useful information and resources utilising the internet and therefore creating a less ‘traditional’ learning experience than being given tasks to complete that are not so engaging and do not utilising any ICTs.


Dodge, B. (2007). Retrieved on August 8, 2009, from

Gordon, K. (n.d.). Inquiry Approaches in Primary Studies of Society and Environment Key Learning Area. Retrieved on August 8, 2009, from

Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 29, 2009, from

March, T. (n.d.). WebQuests for Learning – What are the benefits of WebQuests? Retrieved on August 8, 2009, from

WebQuest Direct. (2009). The World's Largest Searchable Directory of WebQuest Reviews. Retrieved on August 8, 2009, from

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