WebQuests are an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web. These WebQuests can be set up and organised by teachers or they can be WebQuests that are already situated on the web. Most of the Educational ones are found in the Learning Place which would be accessible to all schools.
My experience with WebQuests has been limited but I have managed to create 2 of my own for assignments during my BLM course. I have found them interesting and a great source as an interactive and engaging learning tools (Prensky 2005) whether students are Digital Natives or immigrants (Prensky 2001).
They can be time consuming when setting up, especially when you are not really familiar with the program, although there are plenty of web sites out there to help you begin one. http://www.webquest.org/ is a great site for beginners, easy instructions and layouts. The many features and designs that can be used is nearly endless, it is only limited to your own imagination and creativeness.
Students could also create their own as an authentic assessment for whatever they are working on in their unit of work. WebQuests are usefeul throughout all KLA's, and year grades. The Essential Learnings (2007) can be incorporated within the WebQuests. Such as a SOSE project on Global environments (QSA 2007) - The effects Global Warming for Penguins in the Antartic; which would include land formations, climate zones and so on, which is real world related which goes along with Kearsley and Shneiderman's (1998) Engagement Theory. The Webquest would include a lot of higher order thinking and questions (Blooms Taxonomy).
In the classroom, a WebQuest is an effective source of particular information that has been previously chosen for students to locate and answer questions. This tool can be linked to a Wiki for placing all their researched information for class sharing. A WebQuest could be used as the first port of call so to speak for the begining of a Unit of Work in each term. It can be set out use to cover all the curriculum requirements for the term, it would need to be scaffolded in a way that other resources can be incorporated but can still be used mostly throughout the term.
Below is a video on What is a WebQuest for furhter information.
Kearsley, G & Shneiderman, B. (1998). Engagement Theory. Retrieved August 18, from, http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
Prensky, M. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. Retrieved August 18, from,http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0553.pdf
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved August 18, from, www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%
Queensland Studies Authoriy (QSA), Queensdland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework (2007), Essential Learnings. Retrieved August 18, from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/learning/7284.html