WebQuest News

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

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Making WebQuests more Exciting

Thanks to Technorati, I've got a pretty far-ranging radar that tells me when anyone writes something new with the word "WebQuest" in it. Here's a quote that caught my eye today:

Blog, Blog, Fo-fog, Banana-ana-bo-blog, fe-fi-mo-mog....BLLLOOOOGGG: Webquest for the holy grade.: "Here I am sitting at work, getting paid to blog about webquests. Exciting, isn't it? Anyway, what is there to say about webquests? Personally, I am not a huge fan of webquests. To most webquests are just electronic busy work. While some are very beneficial, most that I have experienced are lacking something. I don't know what it is for sure, but I think that they are all kind of boring. With a name like WEBQUEST, I expect some kind of adventure. What do I get? Overly structured clicking and reading. Maybe my distaste for webquests come some being raised in the generation of lights, sounds, and video game violence, but when I look at webquests I am looking for an actual quest. I do still understand the practical nature of the webquests, but consider them to be a less-than-desirable alternative to hands on learning. To appeal to the future masses of students I believe webquests need to drastically change. To excite is to entertain, to entertain is to captivate, to captivate is to inspire, to inspire is to teach."

Spoken like a true millennial learner, I suppose. It's true that most WebQuests are boring, but I think that's because they aren't really well designed, not because they don't have flashy graphics and interactivity. I'd like to think that getting engaged in a problem that requires synthesis and problem-solving is motivating in a deep and useful way that goes beyond Prensky's arcade-game type learning. And given that right from the start the goal was to develop a lesson format that any teacher could author, there's no way that WebQuests can look like Halo 2.

But what can be done to make WebQuest cooler? Any ideas out there? Please add your thoughts to the comments.


At 5:17 PM, Blogger SMeech said...

Technocrati is a great tool... but watch out for porn coming up! I tried to create a webquest that has my technocrati feed come up inside of the webquest, but there was porn listed with information.....

It was a great concept. The front page of the quest would have the latest list of the used words come up... but until they have it filtered or I can filter it.. no go!

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Maddie said...

I have heard about Webquests, taken classes and even recommended some for other to do, but I think teachers need more training. I just read an article by Tom March "The Learning Power of WebQuests" from Educational Leadership/December 2003/January 2004. The teachers have develop WebQuests that will challenge students to develop learning and go a step farther than just answering questions. Assimilate what they get from the webpage and produce something that is different.

At 4:04 AM, Blogger el_blondie said...

I am interested in your comment about 'Halo2', as a 3D software teacher I am able to build interactive virtual worlds and find the idea of creating a webquest this way quite exciting. I am interested in games for learning and enjoyed your comments.

I created my first webQuest on the theme 'mission impossible', and renamed it 'mission not impossible'
It was built in Flash and the students had identity cards, missions, tasks etc. Hopefully the format was more intersting than the general text page led webQuests. (Download http://www.wlv.ac.uk/~ex2071).

At 3:01 PM, Blogger TheatrePetre said...

I can't say I've researched what's been done in the world of interactive education, but what about the use of a graphics engine like what's used in all those 1st-person shooters??

Create interactive environment and use a gameranger setup where virtual classrooms could meet and explore history, science, and the world of art (at the very least) in a 3-d world where you can touch, hear, and see things, places, and people all over the world??

Of course you want a good ping for smooth graphics, but I'm sure investors would be interested in that...

I've got a blog started (my first, btw) for a forum on it:


let's talk...

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Ms. Correa said...

I am in the process of creating my first WebQuest for teachers in training about the integration of techonology applications and media in the curriculum.

If anyone has words of wisdom or caution, please I'm all "ears".

I just created my first blog: http://firstwebquest.blogspot.com/

Please come and share your thoughts.

Ms. Correa

At 11:15 AM, Blogger T Smyth said...

Another approach to making webquests (WQ) more "interesting," I think (and this has already been stated somewhere else, I'm sure), is to focus on the process of developing a WQ. In other words, have students develop their own webquests, with classmates as the audience or students in grades below them. Deeper learning will likely take place, and participation in the creative process will result in higher interest.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished my first webquest. It is not flashy, and I doubt many teachers could develop anything really flashy. I mean, we are not making these webquests in order for our students to be able to video-game their way through their education. I think what makes a good webquest, just like any good lesson plan, the teacher should have some sort of hook, some way to link the learning to the students' personal lives. If you are able to hook them, give them a reason for doing the task, you are more likely to get the results you desire.

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Ravi Purushotma said...

I think Halo 2 is the wrong exemplar for thinking about this. The revelant Genre should be Augmented Reality Games. "I Love Bees" alone had 600,000 players and would have very clear implications for educational webquest designers.


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