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Using WebQuests to study literature

One of the best teaching strategies is to have a lesson that actively engages students in the learning process. If you want students to work cooperatively, become critical thinkers and work with an authentic task, then you might want to include a WebQuest in your English language arts course. WebQuests provide students with opportunities to learn with their peers while using the Internet to research specific topics. For example, if you happen to teach American literature, an excellent WebQuest for students studying The Crucible is April Moore’s “Studying the Background of Arthur Miller's The Crucible” which can be found at http://ctap10.org/~amoore/WebQuests/Crucible.htm.

Teachers unfamiliar with WebQuests, will find that the following site provides an excellent step-by-step explanation on how to develop a WebQuest. This site also contains an annotated list of ready-to-use WebQuests. WebQuest 101-Putting Discovery into the Curriculum.

Bernie Dodge, the “Father of the WebQuest,” has his own helpful site which includes a list of WebQuests for immediate use. There the WebQuests are arranged by both content area and grade level.

Questions to think about regarding WebQuests

  • After visiting the above Web sites, do I understand the format of a WebQuest?
  • Would any of the pre-made WebQuests suit my students and my classroom?
  • Am I willing to make my own WebQuest, perhaps with the help of another member of my department?
  • Once my students are familiar with the WebQuest format, could I ask them to work in groups to create their own WebQuest?