WebQuest Dialog

21st century learning environments made semi-easy

The WebQuest Birds of a Feather at NECC

Over fifty WebQuest fans joined together in San Antonio to share their questions and projects for an hour. Carla Beard, the cyberfamous Web English Teacher, shared a WebQuest she made called Dictionary, Schmictionary. Australian Camilla Elliott showed what may be the world's oldest continuously working WebQuest, Touring Antarctica, which started life long ago in 1996 as a Filamentality project. She keeps the links alive and reports getting fan mail from teachers around the globe.

The question of what platforms are being used to develop WebQuests was answered first by pointing to the WebQuest.org Creating WebQuests page. Others in the audience suggested the addition of FreeWebs, Teach-nology, and CyberBee.

The relationship between WebQuests and Web 2.0 came up, providing a great opportunity to point out the discussion going on right here on this Ning.

In new developments, I describe the forthcoming project to share the job of evaluating WebQuests being submitted to the WebQuest.org Search Page. That page gets between 4000 and 8000 hits a day and is thus by far the most popular page on the site. After some bad experiences, I had to moderate the submissions so that nothing gets added to the search engine unless I've looked at it. The time available for me to do that gets smaller each year and a huge backlog of 4700 WebQuests has built up.

So soon, for those who are willing to pitch in, there will be a way in which to get a random sample of WebQuests to rate whenever you feel like it. Each WebQuest will be rated by at least two people and raters will be able to specify the preferred grade levels and content areas they look at. To participate as a rater, one must have a QuestGarden account and the more ratings you do, the more your subscription will be extended.

All in all I'm hoping folks will see this as a way to sharpen their pedagogical skills, get new ideas, and give back to the common good by improving the pool of WebQuests available to everyone. Watch for an announcement in July when this new process becomes available.

Everyone who attended received a 6 month subscription to QuestGarden. And the surprise (even to me) door prize was three copies of a new book hot off the press: Using WebQuests in the Social Studies Classroom by Margaret M. Thombs, Maureen M. Gillis and Alan S. Canestrari. Congratulations to all three of you and thanks for making the book available to give away!

Overall, it was a great session. Hope to see everyone back again in DC next year.

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