What I love about Web Quests is that they are so adaptable. In my opinion they are more easily adaptable for the elementary grades than Telecollaborations or Web Inquiries, but that’s just coming from someone with my particular teaching style. Because I am in transition from teaching high school to teaching elementary, I found that as I read about Web Quests, I was not only thinking about how they would work in my kindergarten classroom, but also how they would work in my old 9th grade classroom.
Because kindergartners are learning to follow directions and should only be given directions in one or two steps at a time, I believe organizing the task and process portions of the Web Quest should be done differently than they would be done for higher elementary levels, middle school, or high school. Students should only be able to see one to two steps at a time so they do not jump ahead or get confused or overwhelmed. Just as Coffman (2013) says, “Your goal as a teacher is to ensure that these experiences [investigating, questioning, collaboration, etc] are taking place and are appropriate.” We want the students to feel confident as they take on the role of investigator, however that may manifest itself depending on the subject being taught, and if they are not given directions and scaffolding in a way that supports that, the Web Quest was not designed successfully.
Thinking about ways Web Quests might be used in the 9th grade English classroom, the big research paper that they assign every year came to mind. The process includes teaching students how to evaluate sources, compile information, and present it in a research paper so that it proves their thesis. A Web Quest would be a beneficial introductory activity for the research paper because 9th graders are still learning about the research process and how to evaluate sources, so they would greatly benefit from the fact that the teacher chooses the sources that they use. The teacher could compare the strong, reliable sources she chose to specific examples of bad sources.
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Coffman, T. (2013). Using Inquiry in the Classroom: Developing creative thinkers and information literate students (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Education.