Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Quest For Knowledge

When I was a kid, I remember receiving packets upon packets of projects. I would become overwhelmed, frustrated, and eventually had to buckle down to finish the many different assignments. Well, now there is a way to present a project to your students without the paper, and with the ability to engage your students at a whole new level.

Web Quests are a way to present new information and to engage students in assignments via the Internet. Students are assigned a role and are encouraged to visit a series of websites, videos, etc as they accomplish the assignment. An introduction, grading rubric, and much more is available to guide students through the tasks.

A website that I found to be interesting and helpful was Quest Garden where many different Web Quests were shared for other teachers. There is a search engine so you can look into any topics you wish. One of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird, prompted me to look to see what other teachers have come up with for a Web Quest.

Upon my search I began to notice both the advantages and the disadvantages of Web Quests. I loved that you have the freedom to come up with so much for these. As a teacher, you have the opportunity to create many of these throughout the year and still reuse them in later years. Students will be engaged and will love the organization and structure that is presented. I also enjoyed that teachers are able to share their Web Quests for everyone to use. I think that is the epitome of teaching, where we can help each other out in curriculum.

I was a little worried by the risks with Web Quests. Some colors and backgrounds were irrelevant and some were hard to read. Spelling errors were an occasional problem and should be fixed because students will always catch them when we least expect it. Sometimes I felt that the assignment would have made more sense if it was presented on a single worksheet to the student. We have all heard the saying, “Keep it simple, stupid (KISS).” I think that if you do have a very extravagant project for students (especially in secondary education!) then you can definitely take advantage of a WebQuest, other times, it may just be easier to use worksheets. Also I noticed that it can be difficult to make sure that all links work. Sometimes the websites I clicked on were old or incorrect. So beware! and always double check the links.

Overall, I think if you double check the work, and make sure that everything flows well, then Web Quests are amazing. They are an awesome way to engage students to become intrinsically motivated in the topic and to learn something new while using one of the greatest in-class helpers: the computer.

For more information concerning WebQuests: http://questgarden.com/
To see a great example of TKAM WQ: http://questgarden.com/93/32/9/091208174539/t-index.htm 

Blog you later, 
Ms. Watkins