This kind of learning activity offers an ideal model for all those teachers who are looking for ways to integrate the use of the Internet in the classroom.
We call webquest a learning activity, structured and guided by a teacher, which poses a well-defined task whose realization requires that students use certain online resources, previously selected by the teacher to avoid students losing hours browsing the search of relevant information. The ultimate goal of the activity is that students can appropriate, interpret and use the information to which they have had access, adopting a proactive attitude and becoming co-responsible for their own learning.
Bernie Dodge, a professor at San Diego State University (USA), was one of the first to try to define and structure this type of learning activity. In 1995 he explained it as “an activity based on inquiry in which part or all of the information with which students interact comes from Internet resources”. According to what we seek to promote with its realization, the webquest will be proposed as a short-term activity (when it privileges the acquisition of knowledge of a specific subject) or long-term (if it is intended to encourage attitudes of deduction, induction and abstraction).
Steps in the production of a WebQuest
Introduction: Students should know exactly what their individual task is and what the final result of the search should be (create a presentation, produce an online newspaper, etc). The teacher must establish the appropriate framework at an educational level (putting them in background, linking the theme of the webquest with lessons previously taught in the classroom, etc) and technical (giving general advice on ICTs, or concrete on the tools suggested by him) . It is possible that students need to work in groups and decide among themselves how to divide their tasks.
The process: The teacher will guide the students through a set of activities and research tasks, using a set of predefined resources. There is no reason why printed resources should be totally excluded from a webquest, since including them increases the skills they need to complete the task. Students should have guidance on how to present the results of the activity (through diagrams ?, murals?).
Conclusion: A successfully completed webquest is a webquest in which students are fully aware of what they have learned during its completion.