The following is a blog post from Alan P., a public school teacher in a large city school district.
If your lesson plan includes any higher-order thinking terms, then WebQuests are a particularly perfect assessment for the moment we find ourselves in. Unlike most regular assessments, WebQuests are done almost entirely online. Nothing should be printed or handed out if it can be avoided. The idea is to email students a “thinking scavenger hunt” and allow them to find and create the answers for themselves. They can proceed to fill it out with any PDF editor, word processor, their desktop paint function, or print it themselves and photograph their finished work. If needed, they can even just copy the questions down in an attachable text document. In my classroom, I often used WebQuests to introduce new units like the Revolutionary War, or a text like The Crucible. Creating your own is simple. Open up any word processor or assessment creator. For my example, I’m using Remark Test Grading Cloud.
First, clearly state in the instructions for your students your expectations, guidelines, and submission process. Next, find a website or series of websites that you find reputable enough for your class and make sure its user interface is quick and easy to learn. Finally, create your questions, keeping in mind how the content is phrased on the website. One temptation is to make this assessment a simple search and find, but try to resist this urge. The goal is to have your students take in the information they find and create their answers through thought and understanding. Make sure not to only ask your students simple low-order questions like: “who died on December 14th, 1799?”, (George Washington if you were wondering) and ask them more questions instead like, “What choice would you have made? Explain your reasoning.”
WebQuests resonate so well with students because it allows them to use technology in a different way than they’re used to in the classroom. As a bonus, if set up as I instructed, the teacher can sit back and rest as students do almost the entirety of the classwork by themselves. Who can complain about a win-win situation?
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