Jerry's WebQuest Information Site

A (Possible) Map to WebQuest Development

Creating a good WebQuest can be very difficult the first time around. For this section, I'll walk you through how I created my WebQuest. Hopefully, you will see that a WebQuest is nothing more than a very structured electronic lesson plan. The general sequence goes something like this:

  1. Create objectives based on your standards that fit into the context of what's going on in your classroom.
  2. Figure out what task-oriented products you want the students to create (i.e. the task)
  3. Figure out how your'e going to measure those products (i.e. your evaluation)
  4. Gather (or find) your Internet resources that you think would be useful to help the students create such a product
  5. Create a story to facilitate the creation of the final products
  6. Sequence the use of the web resources in such a way to help the students create the intended products
  7. Create your webpage
Do not look at that list and get overwhelmed! It's not nearly as hard as it may look. See below for more details.

1. Establish Objectives

WebQuests are no different than any other lesson plan. You must start out with objectives (i.e. what are the students supposed to know at the end of this lesson) before creating one page! When I set out to create my WebQuest, I wanted the students to use various Excel functions to create a comparative product. This tied in directly to my task list and worked into the context of my classroom.

2. Define Products

Figuring out what you want to students to create falls directly in with the objectives you set. In my case, one of my objectives was to have the students create a chart using Excel. Therefore, one of my products was chart. If you figure out what you want them to create, then you'll be less likely to get bogged down in the details of your story. Keep in mind that the story is only there to hook them. This is not to say that the story is unimportant, but the products are what we're after.

3. Create Evaluation Instruments

Once you know the products you're looking for (which came from your objectives), you need to know how you're going to judge the outcomes. Again, this part is no different than any other lesson. Almost all WebQuest use rubrics as their evaluation instruments, since rubrics allow for the greatest degree of diferentiation while still making sure objectives are targeted. My rubric is actually a scoring checklist, but it targets what I want each student to create. Do not reinvent the wheel! Chances are, a rubric from a traditional assignment can be modified ever-so-slightly to serve as the rubric for your WebQuest.

4. Gather up Your Web Resources

The easiest thing for most of us to do for this one is to look in our Bookmarks (or Favorites) and see what we go to on the Internet to help us teach the objectives we defined. At the time, my mom was on a big Weight Watchers kick, so I had a favorites folder devoted to nutrition websites. So I thought, "Why not have the students graph and analyze nutrition information!" The stuff I already had available constituted 80% of my WebQuest resources. This isn't to say you can't go find more, but why not use stuff you already know to be useful.

5. Create Your Story

Creating a story that is going to hook the kids requires imagination. If you're not the creative type, just think about a situation where your products would be needed and created with the help of your Web resources. I have no idea how I stumbled upon my story for my WebQuest. At the time, the school systems were debating heavily about school lunches and obesity, and I had just watched Supersize Me. So I thought, "Let's have the kids analyze fast food meals." My brain flickered for a few minutes trying to figure out why a student would actually want to sit around analyzing food statistics, then it dawned on me that college (and sometimes high school) kids end up supervising summer camps. Bingo. The story put the kids in a position as a camp counselor who needed to create the most nutritious fast-food lunch possible.

6. Sequence the WebQuest

Since we're teachers, this part is actually a no-brainer! You basically write out your sequence to guide the students to the final products using your identified web resources. This is nothing more than creating a worksheet that will be a little more interactive and appear on the screen.

7. Create your Webpage

There's a whole section dedicated to this!

Remember, if this sequence doesn't work for you, find something that does. The above is based on my experiences, but nothing says it's the definitive guide to WebQuests.