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ELT WebQuest

INTRODUCTION

Imagine that you work for a reasonably large English language teaching institution which caters for all levels from young learners to adults. Recently the Head of the institution, who is charismatic and inspirational but slightly eccentric, came back from a conference where she had heard for the first time about WebQuests for language learning. She is very keen for all the staff to start to use them with their students. However she realises that she will need to work hard to convince some of the more die-hard traditionalists in the institution to adopt this new use of technology.

TASK
The Head of your institution has appointed you as a working party of well respected teachers to investigate the potential of WebQuests for enhancing reading and writing skills. She wants you to look at both the advantages and perceived disadvantages of this technology in your school and to present a balanced (but she hopes!) convincing case to the staff at the next Staff Meeting.

PROCESS
You all have several years teaching experience. However you each have developed a different area of specialism (reading, writing, groupwork, autonomy), and it is for this particular expertise that you have been chosen for this Working Party.

First, as a group brainstorm some basic questions you have about WebQuests. Then in your groups choose one role each (reading expert, writing enthusiast, groupwork guru, autonomy authority, staff supporter). Look at your role information and the questions associated with it.

Individually, you'll examine the sites below and use the worksheet to jot down some notes of your opinions of each from the perspective of your role. You'll need to examine each site fairly quickly. Don't spend more than 5 minutes on any one site.

 


 

WebQuests for Language Learning

 

1


Figurative Language


Find out how to write 'rocky road' and not 'vanilla' style

2


What's in a Word

Is Latin relevant to the modern world?

3


I heard a Word (For younger learners)


Listen to some poems and learn about rhyme

4


Use your English

Learn about a place and meet a friend

5


Oh the Possibilities!


Plan a language learning trip.

 

WebQuests for Native Speakers

that can be adapted for ELT

5


Getting Hitched


Explore wedding customs in different cultures

6


An English Holiday


Take a trip to England with some friends.

7

Ferocious Predator or Soup of the Day?

Is this predator dangerous or endangered?




PRODUCT


  1. When everyone in the group has seen all the sites, it's time to get together to answer the questions. Try to make sure that everyone had a chance to give their opinion.

  2. You will then need to decide how to make notes on your discussion - will you assign points? make a chart? have a secretary to record the ideas?

  3. Finally you should summarise your findings. There will probably not be unanimous agreement but try to put aside your individual aspect and come to an agreement that takes into account all four perspectives.

  4. Feed back to the group in the form of a brief presentation of your main findings to a Staff Meeting. Do you think WebQuests are useful in your context? Which ones do you particularly recommend? Why? What benefits for reading / writing / groups / autonomy are likely? What drawbacks might arise? What kinds of language learning opportunities did you find? What preparation will teachers need?

EVALUATION


Go to your blog or wiki. Write your impression of the concept of WebQuests. What aspects of ELT are encouraged? What are the potential problems?

CONCLUSION

If you would like to see more examples of WebQuests that are suitable for language learners, there are a number of links on this page:

http://www.fi.muni.cz/ICT4ELT/websites/intermediate/webquests.html