I had never used a webquest before. This is such an interesting way of thinking about teaching; students can have information given to them as well as add to it all on one website. I really liked how diverse the webquests were that I was seeing, as well as how much freedom you are given as an educator to assign a task. The only component of the webquest that I have been seeing that I didn’t like as much was evaluation aspect of it. From what I could tell, the majority of webquests relied on rubrics as their evaluation, and that is a practice I do not like to adhere to in teaching. I find rubrics limit creativity and often students try to only impress the teachers by sticking to what is exactly on them, and not going any further.
I looked specifically at webquests involving the two novels that I teach within my 8th grade curriculum; Night and The Giver. I am so impressed by assignments that teachers have put together. With Night, many teachers have helped students go through and work on the sensitive subjects and materials that are presented within that book. I think this webquest idea works great with books and subjects that are so upsetting to students; these assignments allow students to work through their own thoughts at their own pace. In terms of The Giver, I really enjoyed seeing how many teachers did a compare and contrasts with other supposed Utopian societies. The Utopian Unit is one I spend a large amount of time on, and seeing other teachers’ creative view points on connecting many pieces of literature inspired me to do the same. I teach The Giver, and then supplement it with John Lennon’s Imagine, as well as the short stories The Lottery and The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. Along with a thesis essay, I believe creating this webquest will be an excellent end of the unit activity, which can then lead into some great class discussion.
I have used the delicious website before, and think this is a great way to help with student research. It allows for us as educators to weed out any of the “bad” on the internet – i.e., inappropriate sites – and it also ensures that we can make sure our students are only viewing quality information. Bookmarking sites are great as they still allow students to practice doing research and give them autonomy on what information they decide to use, yet they still allow for ‘safe’ and focused research that the general web does not.