WebQuest News

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

Friday, October 28, 2005

WebQuest Conference in Barcelona

Has there ever been a conference devoted exclusively to WebQuests? I don't think so, but soon, there will be. The amazingly productive Comunitat Catalana de WebQuest is organizing a two-day meeting next March in Barcelona. I've met the organizers and presenters and I'm sure it's going to be a tremendous event. If you're fluent in Spanish or Catalan, put it on your calendar! Congratulations, Carme and SebastiĆ”!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

New and Notable WebQuests for October

This post represents the first edition of a regular feature here. Around the middle of every month, I'll link to new WebQuests that have caught my eye. In future editions, they may well come from all over, but this time I'm going to restrict the list to lessons that have been grown in the QuestGarden. They're not all perfect and maybe not even finished yet, but they all had something interesting about them to make them worthy of a look.

First up: Hoosier Who's Who. This is a nice example of using the WebQuest format to enliven the usual study-your-own-state lesson which, let's admit it, is often a snoozer. It turns out that this is a good example of a design pattern, Simulated Interview, that I've had a partial draft of for years but haven't finished. With this example to point to, I'll be adding simulated interview to the patterns list soon.

Next, The Confederated States of America. Nice example of the Alternate History pattern. It has a KWL chart and some scaffolding about how to write a term paper. If it just had a little more scaffolding about the main task of extrapolating an alternate timeline, it would be perfect!

Artists and Style caught my eye, well... because it caught my eye. It's great to see someone making skilled use of the appearance module in QuestGarden. The choice of colors and fonts is spectacular... and it looks like a fun lesson, too.

Netiquette: Making a Big Decision has an appealingly dark look. It incorporates role playing as learners grapple with inappropriate technology use in a school setting from multiple perspectives.

The Puritans and Punishment: What a Pair! gives students the task of developing a how-to manual for Puritans as they face a number of sticky situations (e.g., a wife who won't obey). It's all done with a light wackiness that makes it fun to read.

Junge Mode gets special recognition for having an unusually creative task: design a clothing catalog for teens in German. This should snag the attention of at least some of the kids who aren't normally enthralled by German I.

And finally, A Home on Ganymede was a welcome sight. Over the years I've seen dozens of WebQuests which ask kids to design a human habitat on the planet of their choice, which inevitably leads to them making settlements on Jupiter or Mercury or other planets completely unsuitable for homesteading with any imaginable technology. The task is untenable and it makes kids dumber about science than if they'd never done the lesson at all. In contrast to those, this WebQuest does a very nice job of lining up resources and structuring things so that kids would learn about the hard science of making a space colony on a solid body somewhere in the solar system.

There are a lot more promising WebQuests coming to life in the QuestGarden. Next month, I'll point out some more.