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How to Use WebQuests in the Classroom


List of relevant articles (12)
List of On-line workshops and tutorials (6)
WebQuests can be used in many ways to cater for the needs of all students.

Individuals, small groups and whole classes can participate in the learning process. They are not exclusive to computer lab usage but can be used on-line and off-line, using a number of computers or only a few.

The logistics of how to use WebQuests can be quite overwhelming, however with careful planning and flexibility, they can be invaluable in utilising the school library, computers, staff and wider community.
Using the Computer Lab - Whole Class Access
  • Class Teams - Classes could be divided into teams working on the same topic, but different WebQuests. On completion of the WebQuests, students could gather together as a class to share their experiences and perspectives on the topic.
  • One WebQuest Focus- The whole class can work through one WebQuest on-line. Although each group would be creating their own results, it allows for valuable conversations to occur amongst groups, aiding in their learning.
  • Limited access to the Lab - Where classes have only weekly access to the lab, the focus might be for students to do all internet research during that time, and leave the other components for off-line sessions in the classroom or library.
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Computer stations - Part Class Access
  • On-line and off-line work - If access to on-line computers is limited, many WebQuests allow, or can be adapted for groups to work on and off-line.  Some students may take turns using the computer, while others are researching using other methods (interviewing community members, making phone calls to relevant establishments, conducting surveys, visiting the library etc.)
  • Using the Library - In collaboration with the Information Literacy teacher, teachers working together can give students the opportunity to use library resources and Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills. Both can act as facilitators throughout the process and draw on each others expertise to get the most out of students and the WebQuest they are working on. The library might be an area where some groups work off-line with one teacher while other groups are working on line with the other.
  • Rotations - WebQuests can be used as an activity for a class rotation in which small groups work on the computer for the period of the WebQuest before moving onto the next activity. All activities could focus on the same issue, topic, theme, concept or KLA.

Access to one or two on-line computers - Individual Student Access

  • WebQuest teams can still be involved in researching the Internet. It might mean that individuals rotate within their group to access the computer, so that everyone has a turn. During this time others might be looking through concrete materials at the same time, in the same area to maintain discussion amongst group members. Through the course of the day or week, each team gets access to the computer.
  • Alternatively, the teacher might give one student in each group the role of "Internet Investigator" for a particular webquest. Only they can investigate using the computer, during webquest sessions. A roster would help students and teachers keep track of turns and length of usage.

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No computers available on-line - No Student Access.

  • Working with Community Members - WebQuests can ask students to engage in community involvement.  Students may be asked to write to a political figure or to interview a significant local member, giving them that "real world" involvement.
  • Involving Parents or Guardians - Parents will feel valued and appreciated by participating in WebQuests with their children.They can act as support people to help guide students through the process of a WebQuest. Parents can also act as another resource for students to discourse with.
  • Using Stand Alone computers - Computers that are not connected up to the Internet can also be used. Software that may be part of the process or presentation of a WebQuest construction can be used. They can be used during and after students have used alternate research methods off-line. Stand alone computers can be used in conjunction with any WebQuest classroom management strategy.
  • Downloading Information - In most instances, websites are vital to the success of a WebQuest. In these cases, Teachers, Parents, support teachers or students could download the information and make a copy for each group to view. Downloading the WebQuest itself may also be necessary for students to see what they are doing. It could be made into an overhead transparency or put into plastic sleeves or folders, for safekeeping and future use.

Other Uses of WebQuests

  • Gifted and Talented Enrichment - Enhance higher order thinking and take students through more complex ways of thinking that provide real life experiences.
  • Across Grades - WebQuests can be used as part of a "Buddy" system, in which students can work across grades on a common topic. It's a great way to get for perhaps primary and secondary students to work together. There is also scope for students to support younger students while consolidating their own understandings, not to mention improving across school peer relationships.
  • Special Needs - Some may assume because WebQuests engage in higher order thinking, then students requiring additional intellectual support can not participate. Teachers can engage these studnets in webquests appropriate to their needs. More able students and parents can assist with more challenging components, once again improving relationships between students.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Students - There are wonderful WebQuests for motivating students with language needs. ESL students can use WebQuests to improve their literacy skills while keeping up with mainstream class expectations, at their year level.

The use of WebQuests in the classroom is only limited by the educators imagination. Other ways may be to:

  • Adopt a WebQuest in its entirety for an area of study.
  • Adapt a WebQuest to suit the theme of study, students or curriculum area.
  • Gain ideas about a topic or theme
  • Use the embedded ICT resources to become proficient in using ICT techniques or programs (eg. Powerpoint, Hyperstudio, Excel etc.)
  • Introduce a topic or unit of work. A stimulating way to get students thinking about their new avenue of study.
  • Use it as a focus throughout study of a unit of work or topic.
  • Assess the knowledge of students at the end of a study unit.
  • Engage in WebQuests for a short term and long term study.
  • Conclude a unit of work. Students have the opportunity to clarify what the have learned through their studies of a topic and apply their knowledge and skills in activities that require critical thinking
  • Develop and build the foundations for a debate - very useful for improving skills in students who are required to do ROSTRUM speeches or are on a debating team.

: It is not recommended that relief teachers use WebQuests for one off use, as it is necessary to know the students and their abilities to achieve quality outcomes.

If you have more innovative ideas on how to best engage in WebQuests, let us know. Click here to contact us.


Do you want to know more about using WebQuests?

To learn more about using WebQuests in the classroom, here is an extensive list of articles.
For information about WebQuest workshops and tutorials, click here for online resources.


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