WebQuests are a great way to challenge students with a problem or task that includes a driving question that has no single answer or solution. I really like WebQuests because they can be done as teams, pairs or individually and this can also be a decision made by the students. WebQuests allow students to research and apply new knowledge to a problem that often requires them to create an authentic solution to that problem. The best thing about WebQuests, if designed smartly, is that the solutions can be linked back into the real world for authentic feedback. This authentic feedback may be from government bodies, local environmental groups, zoo's and many other sources.
Personally, I really like the way WebQuests can be related to issues in the real world, that student's can connect with. Students in today's' day and age are constantly bombarded with new information and knowledge from all kinds of sources. It is therefore essential that they know that is relevant and useful and what is rubbish. Siemens Connectivism (2004)outlines that new information is continually being acquired and the ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is critical. WebQuests give students' the opportunity to develop these skills by filtering out which knowledge is relevant in order to develop an authentic solution to the problem.
I think WebQuests are defiantly something that I would but only in the upper grades. I don't think students at younger levels would get the full benefits out of a WebQuest that older students' would as they would not be able to do the research that is required. The only other thing that bothers me a little about WebQuests is the actual making of them. I had to design one last year for an assessment piece and it was not very successful. However, I think with practice and more time it is defiantly a piece of technology I would like to use in the classroom to create rich learning experiences for my class.
Siemens, G (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm