Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Overcoming Obstacles to WebQuest Creation

Overcoming Obstacles to Quicker Webquest Creation

Bernie Dodge, PhD, San Diego State University
How many people can create a WebQuest in just a few hours? Webquests began about 10 years ago. To help streamline the process, Mr. Dodge created a template. However, to create a good WebQuest that engages students in real-world problem-solving still takes a tremendous amount of time.
What are some of the problems with creating WebQuests? Some listed problems pre-service teachers and in-service teachers' blogs: can't find previously started WebQuests, importing images, technical problems, uploading, the time that is takes, and fear of not being able to fix things. Mr. Dodge also surveyed WebQuest authors, classes at universities, and WebQuest users. Some of the same problems were stated. However, the survey found that the most time consuming part of WebQuest creation was finding good websites, designing the steps in the process section, and designing it to engage higher level thinking. Another question asked was what was hard? The responders said; finding good web sites, mechanics of making the pages, creating navigation buttons (writing html), making it pretty, process steps, scaffolding, aligning the evaluation with the task standards. In addition, uploading from home, losing pieces of the files, and creating higher order thinking problems were also stated as hard. The survey also asked what people would wish for to make it easier. The responders stated; templates in various forms, compatibility with Dreamweaver, library of images, flexibility in appearances, WYSIWYG text input, access to appropriate links, ability to customize current webquest, easy image inclusion, guidance on content for each section, access to standards, easy navigation and easy uploading.
Mr. Dodge stated that it truly is amazing that ANY webquests have ever been made – they are difficult and take a lot of time.WebQuest creation requires two parts. 1) Technical knowledge, including web editing, FTP (even just finding a host), searching, aesthetics (choice of colors, fonts, animation). 2) Pedagogical knowledge – constructivism, scaffolding, higher level thinking skills, cooperative learning.
What are some possible solutions?

Repeated practice in each area will help teachers learn.

FTP problems– use web-based FTP (many Open Source ones available), upload the Quest for the teacher, don't put the Quest online at all (local server, in text – disadvantage is that the WWW doesn't get to use it).

Web-Editing problems – use a browser-based editor, use Word or Powerpoint.

Searching – provide links to appropriate resources, or farm it out to the experts (library media
Aesthetics – provide pretty templates

Pedagogical Knowledge – provide templates preselected to engage higher level thiking and encourage cooperation

Authoring tools will help most teachers

Generateur do Missions Virtuelles - From Canada, in French

http://www.teach-nology.com/ - Teach-nology – provides space to host, a fill-in-the-blank
webquest form, have to be a member

http://www.phpwebquest.org/english/index.htm - PHPWebquest – written in Spain. Open Source

http://www.instantprojects.org/webquest/ - Instant WebQuest – Open Source, is a hosting sites

http://teacherweb.com/TWQuest.htm - TeacherWeb.com – Webquest hosting for free

Authoring Environments

Metcalfe's Law – the usefulness of a network is increased by the number of users. An example is


A place for great webquests to be grown. Experienced gardeners can help novice gardeners in creating webquests.

This new site will allow teachers to stop worrying about the technical aspects of the webquest and focus on the pedagogical aspects. It gives many hints and scaffolding to teach people how to create GOOD webquests. It has step by step guidance, browser based, emphasis on sharing resources and advice, ability for Webuest workshop leaders to monitor progress. The text formatting is WYSIWY and there is the ability to upload pictures, provide a glossary, and the design patterns are already there. Once a webquest is uploaded, it will be available to be downloaded and edited for other users. It is a regular webpage, so you can export it to any other sites. The style sheets limit the changing of fonts/colors but has the sheets that are good fonts and colors without distractions.

This will be available September 1 – and it will be free for a year. After that, there will be a $20 for a 2 year subscription.

- Bernie Dodge's blog about Webquests

- The WebQuest Page

– open source web-editor

- emints national center – theme-based list of links for lower

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