Located at: http://webquest.org
Merlot Database Entry
Quality of Content:
WebQuest.org provides teachers with access to webquests created by other people. It also provides basic, introductory information for teachers about how to create a webquest for use in your own classroom. The information provided seems to be valid and correct.
With that being said, there isn't a lot of information that would be useful in my class without leaving the website. When you chose the "Find a Webquest" link, it brings you to a page that tells you about 4 different webpages that house webquests. The first one, a site through San Diego State University doesn't have a provided hyperlink. The next, QuestGarden, is a pay-for-use service. The most promising is the third, which is called the "Curriculum x Grade Level Matrix". It includes drop-down selections where you can select a subject area and age level. Unfortunately, however, there were no webquests for 3rd-5th grade, which was very disappointing. The final search method was a simple Google Search, which makes me wonder why one would need to visit WebQuest.org. Why not simply start at Google?
On top of that, the most recent news was posted in 2008, which indicated to me that this website has not been maintained much since. For such high reviews on MERLOT, I was disaapointed to see the quality of the information provided.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool:
- What stage(s) in the learning process/cycle could the materials be used?
WebQuest.org is meant to be a resource for teachers and professors. Teachers can use the provided webquests to explain the topic they are teaching, provide demonstrations, allow for practice using the skill or tool being taught, and encourage students to apply the knowledge learned to solve other problems.
- What is(are) the learning objective(s)? What should students be able to do after successfully learning with the materials?
Specific learning objectives are dependent upon the webquest chosen by the teacher, but may include objectives that include improving proficiency in research skills. Students should be able to successfully locate information online to solve the problem they are given.
- What are the characteristics of the target learner(s)
Webquests can be effective learning tools with students from early elementary to graduate level depending upon the amount of support provided and the complexity of the webquest. Any student with basic technology skills can be successful with a webquest.
- Does the interactive/media-rich presentation of material improve faculty and students' abilities to teach and learn the materials?
The website itself isn't extremely interactive, nor is it media rich, so those would not be helpful in engaging and improving the ability to learn.
- Can the use of the software be readily integrated into current curriculum and pedagogy within the discipline?
Webquests are easy to integrate into your class given that your students have access to computers with internet access and provide students with a chance to use higher order thinking skills to solve a problem. If you rely solely on the resources provided at Webquest.org, you will have a more difficult time. It would be simpler to either create your own webquest or search Google. When creating your own, you can be sure that it aligns with your curriculum and standards.
- Can the software be used in a variety of ways to achieve teaching and learning goals?
Webquests can be used in many subjects and with a variety of students. When creating your own, you have more flexibility to mold the webquest to meet your specific needs.
- Are the teaching-learning goals easy to identify?
If you visit the "Creating WebQuests" page, the author explains the purpose and rationale behind using webquests. The goals of individual webquests vary since they are user-submitted and are created by a lot of different people.
- Can good learning assignments for using the software application be written easily?
Depending on how it is a designed, a webquest can be considered a stand-alone assignment - you would not need to write a supplementary assignment to go with it.
- Are the labels, buttons, menus, text, and general layout of the computer interface consistent and visually distinct?
The website is easy to use and navigate, but it is not anything out of the ordinary and I would not say that it is visually distinct. The navigation is provided on a simple toolbar on the left side of the website. If you are looking to find a webquest to use in you class, however, you may have a difficult time. As a website focused on webquests, you would think that there would be an easy way to find and utilize webquests but there is not.
- Does the user get trapped in the material?
There honestly is not much original information provided, so I do not think a user would get trapped.
- Can the user get lost easily in the material?
The website doesn't provide enough to overwhelm or lose a user.
- Does the module provide feedback about the system status and the user's responses?
The website has a "Community" page, which provides links to several message boards. WebQuest.org has a message board for their own website, but the most recent post was in 2010 so if you were hoping for feedback you would probably be disappointed.
- Does the module provide appropriate flexibility in its use?
The information provided under the "Create WebQuests" page could be used in a variety of ways and be adapted for a variety of users, mostly because you as a teacher would be creating your resource from scratch rather than utilizing something that was pre-made.
- Does the learning material require a lot of documentation, technical support, and/or instruction for most students to successfully use the software?
Most students can be successful with a webquest as long as they are able to read and understand basic internet navigation.
- Does the material present information in ways that are familiar for students?
The website is organized in a very standard way, making it easy for any students to navigate.
- Does the material present information in ways that would be attractive to students?
As a graduate student, this website is not attractive to me, and I don't think it would be attractive to most students. It isn't awful, but it isn't displayed in a way that catches your eye.
While this website does provide some helpful information, namely explaining what a webquest is, it does not provide much more. For a resource that earned 5 stars through MERLOT, I had much higher expectations. I was hoping to find a database with usable resources that I could use in my classroom, but what I found instead was an outdated website that directs you to other websites for information. For other teachers hoping to use webquests in their classrooms, I would suggest that you skip this website and go straight to Google.