WebQuests: Learning in the 21st Century

The ACIE Newsletter, June 2000, Vol.3, No. 3

by Maureen Curran-Desano, Curriculum Coordinator, Normandale French Immersion School, Edina, Minnesota

WebQuest is an inquiry-based, highly interactive, learning module in which some or all of the information comes from resources on the Internet. Developed in 1995 at San Diego State University by Bernie Dodge, WebQuests now number in the hundreds, targeting all age levels, from pre-K to college students.

A WebQuest can be either a short-term activity, completed within one to three class periods, or a longer-term project, involving higher-level thinking skills and requiring several weeks from start to finish. All WebQuests, however, have the following attributes:

1. An introduction to set the stage and provide background information;
2. Tasks that are doable and interesting;
3. A list of resources, including, but not limited to, sites on the Internet;
4. A description of the process, broken down into small and understandable steps;
5. An evaluation tool, usually in the form of checklists and rubrics;
6. A conclusion that brings closure to the quest and motivates the student to continue exploring the topic.

WebQuest is a valuable learning resource for the immersion classroom. It encourages cooperative learning (see Selected Resources on page 6), allows for differentiation, provides authentic use of the target language, and develops the technology skills of both teacher and student. A well-designed WebQuest incorporates listening, speaking, reading, and writing as well as content-specific objectives.
For information about designing and using WebQuests, visit these web sites:

As is so often the case, if immersion teachers want access to the same wealth of resources that are available in English, we will have to develop them ourselves. If you would like assistance in creating WebQuests or other technology-related learning modules, contact Maureen Curran-Dorsano at maureen@dorsano.net.

Johnson, D. & Johnson, R. (1996). Meaningful and Manageable Assessment Through Cooperative Learning. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.
Provides a practical, comprehensive coverage of assessment procedures, then demonstrates with forms and instruction how these procedures become more meaningful and manageable with cooperative groups.

Johnson, D., Johnson, R., and Holubec, E. (1993). Circles of Learning. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.
An overview of cooperative learning. The essential components of successful cooperative learning, the teacher’s role, and the teaching of social skills to students are all covered. Cooperation among teachers is also discussed. An excellent introduction to cooperative learning.

Johnson, D., Johnson, R., and Holubec, E. (1998). Cooperation in the Classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.
The foundation for using cooperative learning in your classroom. The book covers the nature of cooperative learning, the essential components that make it work, the teacher’s role, the structuring of positive interdependence and individual accountability, teaching students social skills, group processing, and forming teacher collegial support groups. The basic lesson structures required to get started with cooperative learning are included. The foundational book for implementing cooperative learning.

Kagan, S. (1995). Cooperative Learning. Kagan Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing.
Practical and easy-to-use, this classic in the field has been acclaimed as the single most comprehensive book on cooperative learning. Have you heard about Numbered Heads Together? Learn about it from the man who created the concept of structures. Would you like dozens of down-to-earth management tips? How about improving your students’ social skills? Or hundreds of ready-to-use teambuilding and classbuilding activities to make your class click? This book has it all. You will find an easy, step-by-step approach to: team formation; classroom set-up and management; thinking skills and mastery; lesson planning; scoring and recognition; and research and theory. Tables, graphics, and reproducibles make cooperative learning easy, fun, and successful.



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