WebQuest News

News and views about the WebQuest model, a constructivist lesson format used widely around the world.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Three-Week Birthday

It's just 21 days ago that I flipped the switch and opened up QuestGarden to the public, so here's a status report for anyone interested. The picture of recent logins tells the tale. In the last 48 hours we've had 213 members log in. There are 2,443 users and they come from 59 different countries. Here are the top 10:

China (including Hong Kong)23
New Zealand16

We've also had people logging in from more exotic locales like Albania, Bermuda, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Oman, the UAE and Uruguay.

Most users so far are just jumping in to see what's what and making a few test pages in their WebQuest, but there are also some completed WebQuests already that are ready for the public. Some examples:

Florida Jigsaw

Reading the World with Information Trade Books
Nickled and Dimed in San Diego
Langston Hughes Monument
Mission: UN Address, 2211
Zoo Keeper for a Day
The Nutrition Resort

All in all I'd have to say, we're off to a good start. Once we have some more scaffolding and peer review in place, the quality should go even higher.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

48 Hours without Mishap

It's 2 nights ago now since I sent out the notices to all my lists and made links to QuestGarden from webquest.sdsu.edu and webquest.org and opened things up to anyone interested. Things seem to be holding up nicely. The QuestGarden page got over 700 hits since the doors opened. Yesterday, 57 people created WebQuests, and today another 31. Almost all of them are empty and untitled and came into existence only because people were getting acquainted with the tool. But already there are three WebQuests that are almost complete. It's clear that they were pasted in from existing quests, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Zafer Unal, creator of the Instant WebQuest site, kindly took the time to work his way through QuestGarden and uncovered a couple of places where I'd left myself open to security breaches. They're now fixed, and I hope he'll continue to provide that kind of advice.

It's cosmic the way some things cycle back to a new version of an older event. In 1982 I set up an electronic bulletin board on a spare Apple ][ in our lab at SDSU. As far as I can tell it was among the first 2 or three BBSs set up specifically for teachers to communicate with each other. After testing it by calling it up repeatedly myself (you had to ... gasp ... dial up a phone number to get to it), I spread the word that it was up and ready. The very first person to call was Al Rogers, who would later skyrocket to fame as Mr. FrEdWriter and then Mr. FrEdMail.

So it didn't amaze me at all that the first person to hit QuestGarden after I threw the switch Thursday night was again Al Rogers.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

QuestGarden Goes Public

At a wonderful event hosted by the Educational Technology Department of San Diego Unified School District, at 4pm today I demoed QuestGarden at its new, post-beta-test URL: http://webquest.org/questgarden/.

It was a great venue to be in, as I spent many hours with the group in the early WebQuest days helping with the Triton and Patterns projects. Some of the teachers and leaders from back then were in the room, along with telecommunications legends Al Rogers and Yvonne Andres, and four former presidents of San Diego Computer-Using Educators (including two Dodges). Lots of old friends and some new ones. Got great questions from the group and a list of new ideas for features and partnerships. They're archiving the presentation for later streaming.

There's an overview of QuestGarden here.

The baby is born. Now on to version 1.1.