Teacher Tap

bus whistlingWebQuest Creation

Now that you feel comfortable with using WebQuests, try creating your own! There are many options for creating your own web page. However, developing a WebQuest is much more involved than filling in a lesson planning form. An effective WebQuest involves creating an entire learning environment for your students. For an overview of the process, check out The WebQuest Design Process by Bernie Dodge.

Complete the following sections of this page to learn more about the creation WebQuests: Choose a Topic, Select a Design, Choose Development Tools, Create Assessments, Develop the Process, Put It All Together, Evaluate Your WebQuest.

Choose a Topic

How do you choose an effective topic for a WebQuest? Start with your standards. Ask yourself the following questions to help you identify a topic.

Bernie Dodges describes the selection of a topic as a process. Not all topics are appropriate for WebQuests. Since WebQuest development is time-consuming, it's a good idea to carefully identify a topic and matching standards that will benefit from an inquiry-based, technology-rich project.

eye means qualityRead Selecting a WebQuest Project by Bernie Dodge (1999). This article discusses the process of selecting a WebQuest project including identification of standards, selecting a good lesson topic, making good use of the web, and focusing on transformational learning.

Use the Idea Machine to get your ideas flowing.

Many people like to use Inspiration software for brainstorming and creating a concept map of ideas related to your topic. For example, a teacher in Spartanburg Schools create a diagram brainstorming ideas related to Survival.

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Select a Design

Once you've identified a topic and matching standards, it's time to consider the strategies that will be used to teach the skills and concepts. Educators can use the WebQuest Taskonomy to design a doable and engaging task that requires students to use information in thoughtful ways. These tasks include retelling, compilation, mystery, journalistic, design, creative product, consensus building, persuasion, self-knowledge, analytical, judgment, and scientific.

eye means qualityRead A Taxonomy of WebQuest Tasks by Bernie Dodge (2002). Which task seems most appropriate for your project?

After analyzing a decade of WebQuests, Bernie Dodge has developed a set of instructionally solid lesson formats called WebQuest Design Patterns that can easily be modified for different content. These will help streamline the development process. You can even download a student and teacher template.

Each design pattern focuses on a unique instructional purpose and can be adapted for different subject areas. For instance, the “commemorative” design pattern directs students to decide on an appropriate way to commemorate an event or person. Sample topics include a Booker T Washington and W.E.B. Dubois project or a Monument on the Mall project. Other patterns include alternative history, analyzing for bias, ballot, behind the book, beyond the book, collaborative design, time capsule, comparative judgment, compilation, concept clarification, concrete design, exhibit, generic, genre analysis, historical story, in the style of…, meeting of the minds, on trial, parallel diaries, persuasive message, policy briefing, recommendation, teaching to learn, simulated diary, travel account, and travel plan.

eye means qualityExplore WebQuest Design Patterns by Bernie Dodge. This pages provides an overview of each design pattern and provides links to more detail and templates.

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Choose Development Tools

Many tools are available to help you build a professional-quality WebQuest. It's up to you to determine what fits best with your skills and time.

Many ready-made WebQuest templates can be downloaded. You simply open the WebQuest template in a web development tool and enter your original content. Start at the WebQuest Design Patterns page to explore a variety of designs. Or, use the standard WebQuest Templates from Bernie Dodge. If you'd just like a sample page, go to WebQuest Template.

Web Development Tools

Some people prefer to build a website from scratch. If you're looking for places to house your website, go to Information Architecture: Web Development Tools and Resources for free website hosting services. You might also consider a WebQuest Generator or Web Page Builders. These are "fill in the blank" type resources that help you build a page.

WebQuest Templates from Bernie Dodge
Traditional, No-Frames and Framed Versions.


WebQuest Generators

Filamentality from SBS Knowledge Network Explorer
Create and store a WebQuest by following the simple directions. They will store you page.

QuestGarden star
Create and host a WebQuest. Get a 30 day trial or subscribe.

Web Page Builders

Scholastic Teacher Toolkit
Easy to use resources for classroom pages.

Popular service for teachers

Teacher Web
They have a template for building a WebQuest. Free trial.

Web Wizard
Fill in the blanks and create a WebQuest. They will store your page.

bus activityChoose a WebQuest Design Patterns. Download the student and teacher templates. Open them using any web editor (i.e. Dreamweaver, FrontPage).
Or, try one of the other resources to help you build a WebQuest

PowerQuest - PowerPoint-based WebQuest

Some people don't have skills in developing web pages, but are very comfortable using PowerPoint. Why not create a WebQuest using PowerPoint? A PowerQuest isn't a presentation with a bunch of bullet points. It's a way to use the advanced hyperlink functions of PowerPoint to create a dynamic environment for inquiry-based learning.

Two approaches have been found to work well. The first option is simply to use PowerPoint as an alternative to web pages. Each slide contains an element of the WebQuest such as the Introduction or a step in the process. Buttons are used to move between pages.

Download a PowerQuest template (PPT) for a WebQuest created in PowerPoint.

The second option is to use PowerPoint as a tool in a shared experience with students. Then, ask students to work through the PowerQuest on their own. This requires special consideration to font size if it will be used as a large group tool. For example, the introduction and task may be presented as a whole class experience, then students will work through the process and roles on their own or in smaller groups.

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Create Assessments

Your next step involves matching your standards, activities, and assessments. In other words, your activities must help students develop the proficiencies outlined in the standards and your assessments must determine whether students can performance at the levels you've established.

eye means qualityRead Rubrics for Web Lessons and Creating a Rubric for a Given Task by Bernie Dodge (2001). These articles will help you design effective instruction and evaluation resources.

bus activityGo to RubiStar from 4teachers.org or Scholastic Rubrics and create a computer-generated rubric for your project.
Remember, you can copy this rubric into your WebQuest or create a Word document or PDF file. Choose the format that works best for you.

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Develop the Process

Once you've got the topic, standards, task, design, and evaluation tools identified, it's time to focus on the process. Students need good instruction, directions, and scaffolding to be successful in a WebQuest. Again, Bernie Dodge has developed many helpers to facilitate this process.

Pre-Selecting Resources

It's important to pre-select quality websites that will be useful for your students as they complete their tasks.

eye means qualitySkim Four NETS for Better Searching by Bernie Dodge (2004). This page will help you become a more effective web searcher. Also, examine Specialized Search Engines and Directories for help in locating information. Also skim Step Zero: What to do before searching.

Student Guides

Learners need help in understanding and organizing information.

eye means qualityRead Student Guides by Dan McDowell (1999). Then, skim the options for students guides. Consider which would be most useful for your learners in your WebQuest.

The Taxonomy of Information Patterns was created to illustrate different ways that information could be visualized. Types of information patterns included cluster, hierarchy, Venn diagram, timeline, flowchart, concept map, causal loop diagram, comparison matrix, and inductive tower.

bus activityUse the Process Checklist by Bernie Dodge (1999) to be sure that you've considered all the information and resources students will need to successfully complete your WebQuest.

Also, use the Designing for Success checklist from Tom March (1998) to help you evaluate your design.

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Put It All Together

Your last step is to bring all the elements together into a polished WebQuest. Add an engaging Introduction and a dynamic conclusion. Be sure to include credits and a teacher section. Add graphics and other features that will appeal to your learners.

eye means qualityRead Fine points: Little things that make a big bifference by Bernie Dodge (1999). These ideas will help you make your WebQuest efficient, effective, and appealing.

Keep in mind that you're writing for a particular age group. Your use of volcabulary should be appropriate for that group. If you're not sure about writing for a particular age, read Kathy Scrock's teachers helper on Fry's Readability Graph.

Review the Elements

You'll want to review each of the elements of a WebQuest to be sure you have everything covered. Used the following activity to help:

Focus on Introductions. Think about ways to introduce the project. The introduction should motivate, set the stage, and provide background information. Consider situations, pictures, quotes, poems, and songs to establish the environment. How do the Dustbowl WebQuest do this?
How will you introduce your WebQuest to your students?
Create the Task. The task should be something doable and interesting. For example, it could be a series of questions, summary to be created, problem to be solved, position to be debated, or creative work. It should require thinking and doing such as the ChinaQuest example.

Create a short paragraph stating the task.
Information Resources. What resources will students need to complete the task? Select specific, appropriate resources such as web documents, experts available via Internet, searchable net databases, books and other documents, and real objects. There are different ways to format these links and resources. Compare the way different projects organized their resources.
Create a list of resources.
Processes. What process will students follow to complete the WebQuest? Will you provide them with a list of activities, step-by-step instructions, or a timeline?
Create a step-by-step description of what you expect students to do during the project.
Learning Advice. Do you have any other advice for students? Do they need to know how to organize information? Will you give them guiding questions, directions to complete, checklists, timelines, concept maps, cause-effect diagrams, or action plan guidelines?
Brainstorm advice that might be helpful for students in completing the project.
Evaluation. How will students be assessed? Will you use contracts, checklists, or rubrics?
Discuss ideas for evaluation.
Conclusion. How will the project conclude? Will you remind learners about what they've learned or encourage learners to extend the experience?
Create an exciting conclusion.
Other Elements. What other elements will you include to expand the project? Consider roles to play, collaboration guidelines, and teacher resources.
Add an additional element to your project.

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Evaluate Your WebQuest

Before using your WebQuest in your classroom, consider conducting some formative evaluations. Start with your own evaluation. Carefull review both the content and technical aspects of your project. Does it operate properly? Do the links work? How does it look on different computers? Then, ask a teacher to examine your WebQuest. You might also have some students look it over.

bus activityUse the Rubric for Evaluating WebQuests by Bernie Dodge (2001) to evaluate your WebQuest.

You might also adapt the rubric to fit the needs of a younger student audience who might evaluate your project.

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Continue to WebQuest Co-Production

Return to Teacher Tap: WebQuests

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