A web quest is a structured and scaffolded learning journey students undertake using carefully selected resources from the world wide web. They are challenged to answer open-ended questions that have been selected to provoke higher order thinking. Web quests need to engage the students from the beginning so that they are motivated to complete the challenge. The web quest needs to "relate to a real-world, authentic problem scenarios that are messy and ill-structured" (Kearsley and Shneiderman, 1998). Additionally, the resources (websites) selected for the students to work through need to be student-friendly. It's easy to see why creating web quests can become a timely process. However on the plus side, once a web quest has been created it can be used for years to come.
Because some schools may be under resourced with technology equipment, or time allocations in computer labs. Web quests are best completed in small groups. This means students will also benefit from collaborate learning. Vygotsky (1962), contends that "social interaction has a large influence on learning". Therefore, students who are not so computer savvy may be matched with other students who are so peer-to-peer teacher can be performed. Also students who typically have trouble reading can be grouped with more refined readers so they are less limited in their learning journey. This can be linked to Vygotsky theory on the 'Zone of Proximal Development' (Vygotsky 1962).
To implement a web quest into the classroom, assuring that it is interesting, engaging, meaningful, and authentic to the students, I believe it has the potential to further develop learning outcomes for all students. Used as a unit of work or even to cover a topic I believe web quests can give our students that extra bit of motivation and encourage them to take on an active role in their own learning and develop key qualities of a life-long-learner.
- Kearsley, G. Shneiderman, B. (1998) Engagement Theory. A Framework for Technology-Based Teaching and Learning. (1998). Retrieved 5, July, 2009, from Sprynet website: http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
- Vygotsky, L.S. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.