A WebQuest is an activity usually created by teachers for their students that leads students to answer inquiries using Web-based resources. There’s an emphasis on using the information rather than just gathering it. Therefore, students should have to use analytical and critical-thinking skills to solve a problem or question.
WebQuests were developed at San Diego State University by Bernie Dodge, PHD, a Professor of Educational Technology there. Dr. Dodge defines a WebQuest as having 6 components:
- Introduction: A simple overview of what is to come. If the WebQuest takes place within a story setting, the Introduction introduces the plot and characters. For example, “You are on a trip in ancient India. You need to gather crucial information about the culture to avoid being thrown out of the country.”
- Task: The details of the assignment. Tasks are often numbered lists of items to accomplish in order to complete the quest. Explain required tools for documenting the results, such as Micrisoft Word or PowerPoint.
- Process: Here students work together, develop plans of action, and find ways to solve the presented problem. Here is where you put the online resources for students to investigate.
- Evaluation: The evaluation phase centers on a rubric, listing goals for the quest and the standards by which performance will be measured.
- Conclusion: This is a brief summary, usually congratulatory in tone, that wraps up the project.
Here’s a WebQuest about WebQuests, written by Dr. Dodge. It’s meant for a group of teachers to follow. You can use this as a framework for creating your own WebQuests.
While the sample Web quests suggested by Dr. Dodge are created in HTML and there are several tools to help teachers create HTML Webquests, you can create them in PowerPoint as well. Why PowerPoint? Because more teachers are familiar with it!
The main technology of WebQuests is hyperlinks, and hyperlinks are easy to create in PowerPoint.
Start by conceiving your WebQuest and breaking it down into an introduction, task list, process, evaluation rubric, and conclusion.
In PowerPoint, start a new presentation file and use the title slide for the name of the WebQuest.
On the second slide, enter the introduction text. Use more than one slide if you need to. You probably don’t want bullets. To create a regular paragraph, see my tip, Quickly Get Rid of Bullets.
Add a new slide and enter text for the task or tasks. If the tasks are numbered, select the text, and number the text by choosing the Numbering button on the Formatting toolbar. (In 2007, on the Home tab, Paragraph group, click the Numbering button.) If you need to give further instructions, such as the format of the final result (Word document? PowerPoint presentation? Oral report?), use another slide.
Add a new slide for the process section and provide any necessary instructions. Then create links to Web sites that you want the students to use. For information on creating hyperlinks, see my tip, Using Hyperlinks.
Add another slide for a congratulatory conclusion.
At this point, you should also add Action Buttons to enable students to easily move back and forth within the WebQuest presentation. This allows them to re-read instructions, for example. I give instructions in my tip, Design a Web-Style Presentation. This tip also offers related advice for creating hyperlinks within a presentation.
When you’re done, test your hyperlinks before introducing your WebQuest to your students.