Do you assign web quests as activities?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Do you assign web quests as activities?

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Web quests as activities for learning are certainly not new, at least for this generation of students. At their heart they are research activities usually performed in groups where links to the required information are provided leaving students free to spend their time analyzing and assessing information rather than searching for it. They are usually undertaken as a small group activity and help foster cooperative learning.

Teachers can research and create their own web quest or there are premade ones available, and in their simplest form can be a word document giving links to other websites. This poll revealed that a very small majority of teachers do not assign web quests to their students. While this may be true the other thought is that teachers have been assigning these types of projects for quite a while but terming them as research assignments only. Many elementary teachers give small group research assignments and then lead the students to various websites in order to garner information. Isn't this basically the same idea?

Secondary school students have more opportunities to use web quests simply because they are involved with far more analytical research on a larger variety of topics. Web quests can be used at all grade levels to promote a deeper understanding of a topic and at elementary levels they are valuable tools in teaching students how to navigate the internet.

Think back to the old days for a moment. Does anyone remember going to the library with a list of resource books given by the teacher and looking up titles on index cards using the Dewey Decimal system? These could probably be called library quests. Students weren't required to search out books on their own but use the list provided. The lessons learned not only involved an understanding of the research topic, but a better understanding of the library set up and how to find materials in the future. Web quests seem to be an updated version of the same idea.

Although a minority of teachers report that they use web quests, but if we expand our thinking a little it's plausible that most teachers have been using the same technique for many, many years. It just wasn't given a fancy name - students have always just called it work.