One of the best ways to use the web just got a million times easier! Bernie Dodge, the WebQuest guy, just unveiled his latest enhancement of the WebQuest, QuestGarden. It really changes everything. I was lucky enough to be in the second class at SDSU that Bernie taught WebQuests to nine years ago as part of my credentialing program! After that class, he hired me for five consecutive summers to help with the Triton and then later Patterns Challenge Grants. I was able to help teach the workshops, create my own WebQuests as examples, and develop a number of guides to help teachers make WebQuests.
The first year, we attempted to teach a group of 20-30 teachers not only how to use the Internet and create a WebQuest, but how to write it in HTML! Things got a little easier in the following years with Claris Homepage, but we always got hung up on the tech issues. Four years ago, I taught a WebQuest session at the Teach the Teachers conference in Ojai, CA (outside of Santa Barbara). I had a group of 14 teachers who were all living at the dorms of a very nice boarding school. Each person was issued a laptop that could access the Internet in the evenings. Even with the participants living and breathing WebQuests for an entire week, they had trouble finishing them AND I spent a good chunk of the time teaching them how to use FrontPage and then troubleshooting FrontPage and the FTP process.
Over the years I have taught a lot of one day technology integration workshops. I always dedicate time to WebQuests, but I admit to the participants that each one I did took hours and hours, plus I have to tell them that I have been making web pages for years. While many want to make one, or even customize/update an existing project, they are limited by time and by their technological skills.
In comes QuestGarden.
A tool that will walk you through the whole process, from selecting the appropriate design pattern to adding images to publishing the finished product on the web. You will even be able to host it at the QuestGarden web site or download it to your computer to place on your own server. If you agree to make your WebQuest public, others can provide you comments or take it and customize for their own classroom needs – while giving the original author credit.
I can’t wait to tell my next group about this (although they will be in August so I can’t show them yet) – just maybe I’ll get some people in my district to finally create some quality WebQuests!