Friday, April 6, 2012

"The role of WebQuests in learning a foreign/second language"

Dr. Bernie Dodge defined WebQuest as an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the internet, optionally supplemented with videoconferencing.Webquests involve the exploration of real world information and events on the Web in an attempt to solve a problem or find needed content related to a task that students have been assigned.WebQuests take advantage of several learning concepts that are believed to benefit learners. One of these advantages is that the use of WebQuest improves the students’ critical thinking. They will be encountered with lots of issues that they have to analyze and solve. They have to gather information, analyze, decide the suitable one, ask questions and summarize what they find. It has a major role in many important areas in TEFL/TESL field like activating critical thinking, student-oriented activities, enquiry-oriented language use, cooperative and collaborative learning and Project-based learning.

WebQuests are student-oriented tasks, require students to depend on themselves not on their teachers and collect information through out the provided resources not from their textbooks.In Webquests students will learn independently and think critically which lead to creativity and self improvement. Through WebQuest students will use the target language indirectly, they will read more and then learn better.

WebQuests based on authentic tasks or problems that have to be done in groups.This will develop the students cooperative and collaborative learning.For example a group of students can be asked to work collaboratively in solving a problem and finding solutions to complete a task.Students will learn how to collaborate with their classmates,students from other classrooms, and with students halfway around the world.It also encourages the cooperative and collaborative learning in which learner learns that his/her knowledge has to be shared with others.

Project-based learning (PBL) is a teaching method which provides students with complex tasks based on challenging questions or problems that involve the students' problem solving, decision making and investigative skills. As has already been mentioned, WebQuest tends to be a student-oriented teaching tool, supports inquiry-oriented learning and requires group work which all considered as the basis of project-based learning.

To conclude WebQuest is a great tool to be used in TEFL/TESL field.It make teaching the language more interesting which consequently motivates students to learn and explore more.

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