WebQuests in Middle School
by Jim Andris, firstname.lastname@example.org
IntroductionA web-based tool that has excited a lot of teachers in the last two yearsis the webquest. Developed by Prof. BernieDodge (http://edweb.sdsu.edu/People/BDodge/BDodge.html) at San DiegoState University, it is a way to focus the internet-based activities oflearners so that they get both structure and direction, but still havevarying degrees of freedom to explore web resources. In the article WebQuest(http://edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/edtec596/about_webquests.html), Prof. Dodgedistinguishes between short term and long term webquests. He then providescritical attributes for webquests, which he says should contain: an introductionthat sets the stage, a task that is doable and interesting, a setof information sources needed to complete the task, a descriptionof the process the learners should go through in accomplishing the task,some guidance on how to organize the information acquired, and aconclusion.
The TaskYou will be exploring other middle school webquests in this 45 minute session.Once you understand this model, you may decide to develop a webquest foryour own use or to work as a team to consolidate web resources for usein a thematic unit.
- Several educators developed webquests at this site of an ROE3 Bond-Fayette-EffinghamTechnology/Curriculum Development Workshop: Technologyin the Curriculum
- Barbara LaBeau (email@example.com) and Jim Wenzloff (firstname.lastname@example.org)of Macomb ISD have provided a long list of examples, including severalmiddle school webquests at this indexsite (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/webqindx.htm). They also providetemplates, tips, and lesson forms. Just in case this server is busy, beloware some specific examples provided on the page. [However, I have decidedthat while these sites do illustrate directed instructional use of theweb, most of them do not embody Webquests in the true sense that BernieDodge was trying to define.]
- AncientEgypt (6th) (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/jm1ucs.htm)
- MayaBike Trek (6th) (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/df1ucs.htm)
- BikeTrek, II (6th) (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/df2ucs.htm)
- ServiceLearning (middle school) (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/meb1cl.htm)
- Service Learning, II(middle school) (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/meb2cl.htm)
- Aztecs(middle school) (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/kh1cl.htm)
- Aztecs(middle school) (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/kh2cl.htm)
- Olympics(Grade 6-8) by Stephanie Wroblewski (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/sw1cl.htm)
- Olympics, II (Grade6-8) by Stephanie Wroblewski (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/sw2cl.htm)
- ExploringChina (http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/ab1cvs.htm)
- Just in case the Macomb server isn't working, heres an example developedby teachers at Vandalia Middle School.
- Web Search Engines (http://www.siue.edu/~jandris/internet/search.html).I began my search for finding middle school webquests by going to AltaVista and doing an advanced search for "webquest" AND "middle school"
You might find other examples in this way, too. (Notice that "webquest"is one word.)
- I didn't find any long term webquests for middle school, maybe becauseof the age, but here are two examples of these for high school.
- I don't know how far these will be, but I am working with North and Bridgesstaff members to develop customized webquests for North curriculum, andwill work with any individual or team to develop others or train in webpublishing.
- Your first step is to form teams of pairs or trios to work in. You couldbe teaching the same subject or grade level.
- Begin comparing and contrasting middle school web sites that are givenabove.
- Make sure you can define a webquest as Prof. Dodge defines it, and thatyou can find good and not so good examples of webquests.
- Still in your teams, come up with at least one good example of a webquestthat one or more of you could use in your classroom activities.
GuidanceA very good way to organize the information you have come up with in generatingyor example is to follow the structure that Prof. Dodge provides and thathas provided the structure for the information on this page using the categoriesof an introduction that sets the stage, a task that is doableand interesting, a set of information sources needed to completethe task, a description of the process the learners should go throughin accomplishing the task, some guidance on how to organize theinformation acquired, and a conclusion.
Some other questions that you might want to have answers to:
- What is a constructivist approach to learning?
- Who is Bernie Dodge?
- What are the components of a webquest?
- Why is a webquest, properly designed an example of a constructivist approachto learning?
- What are some specific examples of webquests?
Could you think of ways to improve or modify some of the examples of webquestsyou have seen?
- How could you specifically use this approach in your teaching, given theavailability to you of web resources?
- How does one make an effective Internet search?
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at email@example.comUpdated January 14, 1998
- We will have a 10 minute discussion at the end of this session. At thistime we will identify those teams or individuals who wish to develop aWebQuest, remembering that this includes teaching using the webquest.
- I or others will assist you if you wish to put your WebQuest on the web.