Tuesday, 31 January 2012
A WebQuest is an educational tool designed to develop higher learning and linguistic skills in students by having them use Internet resources to accomplish real life tasks. It allows students to engage in both group work and autonomous learning.
I am particularly impressed by the potential this tool has to develop students' higher learning and linguistic skills. Carefully designed WebQuests provide students with the opportunity to give sufficient attention to each linguistic skill: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Well-designed WebQuests also result in students engaging in meaningful lifelong learning since they allow them to analyze, synthesize and evaluate information as they work on real life tasks.
Using this tool could contribute to increased motivation in language learning since students will feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing a task in the target language and will also have created something tangible that can be shared with others.
This tool can also be useful in classroom management in that a well-designed WebQuest ensures that each student must make a meaningful contribution in order to successfully accomplish the task at hand. Engaged students mean a more orderly, productive classroom environment.
In designing a WebQuest for your students, in addition to your educational goals, you must also think of your students general interests.
For example, it might be interesting to use comments from an online magazine as the text for a reading comprehension (The What Shall I Wear WebQuest illustrates how this can be done).
Also, an online video recording tool can be embedded into the WebQuest so that students can record themselves conducting an interview (job, sporting event, celebrity, etc) or engaging in a role-play activity.
Designing a WebQuest is extremely time consuming. It involves finding the right resources, constantly checking that your choice of activities suit your objectives and constantly remembering to save all changes that you have made before moving on to another page.
It is not the most user-friendly website, some knowledge of web editing is required.
There are many poor quality WebQuests published on the Internet and therefore you need to be very selective to ensure that the WebQuest you choose fulfils your educational goals.