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How-To: Incorporated New Media into Your Classroom
Why Not Create A WebQuest This Summer?  Judy Jones

Two summers ago, I attended one of the best professional development workshops I have ever been to. When I finished the workshop I had created a WebQuest for my Biology 1 students ("Genetic Detectives"). I have since discovered that the Internet has hundreds of teacher-created WebQuests. However, the process of writing my own was quite fulfilling and I urge you to consider creating one.

What is a WebQuest?
A WebQuest is an inquiry activity that usually has students working in groups with assigned roles and doing their research primarily on the Internet. The best WebQuests also require students to present their work in some "authentic" way. Usually students are asked to work with problems that do not have simple answers. Many WebQuests involve students in researching and reflecting on ethical questions. The WebQuest instructions, themselves, are accessed through the Internet.

How do I create a WebQuest?
There are many wonderful sites that describe how to create a WebQuest. The one I like best is Using a Webquest in Your Classroom.  I will summarize the organization of my WebQuest below.

What are the features of a WebQuest?
A well-constructed WebQuest will include the following:

Introduction: This gives the student a context for the activity. In my WebQuest, I remind students of how the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule has revolutionized our understanding of genetics.

Task: In this section, students will find the question or problem that they need to solve. In "Genetic Detectives," I tell the students about the "Moneytoburn Foundation." I explain that the students will be deciding which genetic disorder should receive the research money that is available.

Process: This usually is the longest section. Here is where students will find the assignment and the procedure. In my WebQuest, I describe the group roles, the research procedures, the decision rubric that they will use, and the final PowerPoint presentation they will create.

Evaluation: This section describes how students will be evaluated. I always give my students the evaluation rubric in advance so they can clearly see how I describe high quality work.

Conclusion: This section could just as easily be called "reflection." Here is where I give an individual assignment asking students to reflect on what they have learned.

Teacher Page: This section gives instructions to the teacher that expand on some of the student instructions. The Teacher Page includes an introduction, description of the learners for whom the activity is appropriate, the standards that are addressed, the resources required, more on evaluation, and a conclusion.

Credits: This section is very important. I used several lovely DNA graphics from the Internet and I requested permission to use them from the creators of those graphics. It is vital in this era of easy access to information that we give credit to our sources.

Now, I invite you to visit my WebQuest and encourage you to create your own! Please email me, ask questions, share insights, and let me know what you have created.


Please share you ideas with me  via e-mail.


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