education · learning disabilities · technology · Uncategorized

WebQuest: Bernie Dodge was ahead of his time

This past year, the focus for our technology classes @EHSSouthport was the WebQuest. I recalled readlng about WebQuests in @HeidiHayesJacob book Curriculum 21 during my graduate studies last year.  When approaching my Director of Curriculum to plan tech classes this year, he brought up WebQuests as well as a focus to implement.  Great minds think alike.

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In preparing for a preservice to get the staff up to speed on this concept, it was amazing to realize that the concept of WebQuests began with Bernie Dodge back in 1995.  Thinking back to this time of the Internet and technology tools, I cannot even imagine how the first WebQuests worked.

WebQuests are “an inquiry oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with resources on the Internet.” (Dodge, 1977)  These activities clearly fit into today’s education field focusing on project-based learning.  Additionally, they are ideal for students with learning disabilities.  The tasks are broken down into clearly defined tasks that give the opportunity for modification and variation of content, process and output.  WebQuests are not just about the end, but also treat the process as a learning opportunity.  It fosters collaboration, thoughtful interaction with Internet resources, and the ability to demonstrate knowledge in a variety of ways.  This can benefit all learners, and create strong students in the 21st Century world.

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As Bernie Dodge stated, “A well-designed WebQuest will involve the student in the processes of analysis, synthesis, and evaluations.” (1995)  Bloom would be doing cartwheels to see the Taxonomy being so deftly highlighted in the design of such activities for students.

WebQuests are meant to extend a unit of study, either in the beginning to build a level of background knowledge, or to finish a unit of study, creating a summarization activity to synthesize knowledge.  What is most poignant is that they support the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to accommodate students with diverse learning needs, identified or not.

As I continue to research the basis and effectiveness of WebQuests for a presentation at EveryOneReading.org in March, I continue to see how great Bernie Dodge’s concept was, and how it fits so much into today’s academic environment as the essence of 21st Century learning.

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