Teaching with the Web:
    A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests
 
             
 
Overview WebQuests Teacher’s Guides
to the WebQuests
Treasure Hunts Teacher’s Guides
to the Treasure Hunts
Forms Contributors
 
     
 
 

How to Make the Most of Online Treasure Hunts and WebQuests

Good instructional design is essential if the pedagogical benefits of online treasure hunts and WebQuest are to be realized.

Instructional design is defined as the “systematic process of planning, developing, evaluating and managing the instructional process effectively to ensure competent performance by learners.” (walterweb.com)

For both the online treasure hunt and Webquest (as well as all other learning activities), the first step in instructional design is setting the learning objectives. What would you like your students to learn in this activity? What learning competencies does the lesson aim to develop?

For the online treasure hunt, the other instructional design steps are:
1. Formulate the questions. These must be questions that will help understand the major components or aspects of the topic, not trivia questions. And they must phrased clearly or unambiguously, in language that your students will understand. Also, follow a logical sequencing of questions.
2. Choose the appropriate Web resources—that is, Web resources that not only help your students answer the questions but are also appropriate to your students in terms of reading level and other education considerations.
3. Formulate a Big Question that helps students integrate what they have learned by answering the small questions. Be specific as well about the form of the answer to the Big Question (e.g., do you want them to submit a collage? a 3-paragraph essay? a graph?)
4. Ensure that students are adequately prepared for the online treasure hunt, in terms for example of familiarity with computers and the Internet.
5. Plan the implementation schedule and procedures, and prepare whatever materials are necessary. Include time for discussing answers to the questions and providing an adequate synthesis of the lesson.

For WebQuests, the instructional design steps after setting the learning objectives are as follows:
1. Set an authentic task, or one that revolves around a real-life problem or issue. Aside from being based on your learning objectives, the task should be interesting to students (or you could make it interesting) and appropriate for their level.
2. Plan how students will be organized to accomplish the task. Determine the appropriate size of groups, the roles of members, and the method for grouping. Roles should be interesting and authentic (e.g., historian, children’s book illustrator, engineer) and they should complement each other. Appropriate grouping (i.e., in terms of mix of abilities and learning styles) is crucial to whether collaborative learning will take place.
3. Plan the procedures (process) that students will follow in order to successfully complete the task. The procedures must be concrete, logically arranged, and phrased clearly. Also, the procedures should be consistent with and be in aid of collaborative learning skills, information literacy (the ability to locate, evaluate and use information), reading and writing skills, among others.
4. Select the Web and other resources that students will use in the Webquest. These should be educational, clearly relevant to the task, and appropriate to the level of the students.
5. Design the system for evaluating student work in the WebQuest. This should include a rubric or scoring guide for evaluating the students’ outputs, and self-assessment and peer evaluation strategies. In a WebQuest, the process is as important as the product. The skills being developed are just as important as knowledge of the subject matter. Self-reflection is an important skill that should be fostered, as well as collaborative learning skills. The rubric for scoring the group outputs is also a means for helping students assess their work and that of their peers in a structured and relatively objective way.
6. Anticipate what difficulties you might experience in the course of doing the WebQuest and put in place appropriate solutions and support measures, such as providing an orientation to and basic training in how to use computers and Internet, detailed scheduling of WebQuest-related activities, and liasing with other experts and organizations or groups that students might need to touch base with.
7. Provide a relevant closure to the WebQuest. Discuss the WebQuest experience with your students, synthesize lessons learned, and give informative feedback on student work.

Of course, you must identify beforehand the topic of your online treasure hunt and/or WebQuest. Most topics in the curriculum can be taught using online treasure hunts and WebQuests. However, online treasure hunts tend to be limited to a specific topic or concept (e.g., triangle congruence, what is a haiku, the biological system of classification, the monetary system). In terms of learning competencies, an online treasure hunt generally provides students with an overview of the topic and helps them understand the basic concepts that comprise the topic. Webquests integrate a set of related lessons, or lessons that comprise a unit in the curriculum. Thus, a WebQuest is usually implemented after these specific lessons have been covered, as a kind of synthesizing activity.

On the other hand, a WebQuest can be used as the overarching framework for a series of lessons that comprise a unit. That is, the lessons are taught in the course of the WebQuest itself. And you can combine an online treasure hunt and WebQuest in teaching certain lessons. Specifically, an online treasure hunt can be the format for the initial data-gathering step in the WebQuest process where students are required to read a set of Web resources. In this collection, examples of online treasure hunts and WebQuests that are integrated in this way are the following:

WebQuest Online Treasure Hunt
Ang Mga Alamat ng Dumanjug Ang Alamat
Folklore of Bohol Folktales, Fables, Myths & Legends
Philippine Short Stories in English What Makes a Good Story?
Pollution-Free Alburquerque What Causes Air and Water Pollution?
Who’s Reading Basic Statistics
Flora and Fauna of Lake Danao

The Biological System of Classification
and Haiku

The WebQuests included in this collection may be adapted for implementation in your own context. You can adjust not only the locale (for example, by changing references to specific towns and provinces in certain WebQuests) but also certain aspects of the task (for example, by adjusting the level of difficulty for a younger or older group of students, or for learners with a particular set of learning styles). You may add resources or replace those that are no longer on the Web or those that need updating. You may also streamline the process or add steps that you think are necessary for your students to go through.

In conclusion, let me say that teaching with the Web is and should not be an end in itself. It is simply a strategy—one of many—for helping our students have engaging, resource-rich, relevant, challenging, and effective learning experiences.


What’s in the Collection
Why Teach With the Web?
How to Make the Most of Online Treasure Hunts and WebQuests
References
 

 
   
   
       

Copyright 2004 by the Foundation for IT Education & Development. All rights reserved.