involving open-ended questions, knowledge acquisition, concept development, service learning,collaboration, graphic organizers and meaning-construction among others, but scaffolding, motivation,thinking and compelling online resources stand central to every WebQuest. With these four elementsas a foundation, this paper explores powerful synergies between advances in both pedagogy andtechnology.
Emerging Web 2 Technologies
Before revisiting the core elements of the WebQuest in a Web 2 context, consideration of the emergingtechnologies is in order. Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, neatlycaptures these changes in an article (Rainie, 2006) describing “Digital Natives” entering the workforce:And at the dawn of high school for our worker in 1999, Sean Fanning created the Napsterfile-sharing service. When the worker graduated from high school four years later, his giftsmight have included an iPod (patented in 2002) and a camera phone (first shipped in early2003). Our worker's college career saw the rise of blogs (already two-years-old in 2000),RSS feeds (coded in 2000), Wikipedia (2001), social network sites (Friendster waslaunched in 2002), tagging (Del.icio.us was created in 2003), free online phone calling(Skype software was made available in 2003), podcasts (term coined in 2004), and thevideo explosion that has occurred as broadband internet connections become the norm inhouseholds (YouTube went live in 2005).Part of the idea behind the version “2” nomenclature is that many of these new applications go farenough beyond understood specifications of the Web to merit a fresh set of user-expectations. A fewaspects are central to this re-vision of the Web. First, enriched browser-based interactivity enablesmuch more than the familiar “point-and-click-and-wait” as demonstrated by the ability to drag and re-size Google Maps without delays needed to download new content. Second, Web-based softwareencourages users’ contributions through facile browser-based publishing as seen in the explosion of the “blogosphere” and Wikipedia’s incredible growth. Finally, “Web services” remix user-generateddata and thus “get smarter” through use. The archetype and industry leader in this area is Googlewhose algorithms track over 200 variables per search. This approach now derives a “universal search” of data drawn from “Google Apps” like Gmail, iGoogle, Froogle, Maps, Docs, Blogger and YouTube. Onemeasure of Google’s success at this data-mining is the value of its stock compared to the Web 1.0search leader Yahoo (typically $500+ versus $25). The leading Web 2 applications are known by suchterms as blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks, and mashups and are located on the Web, butincreasingly merge with mobile devices so that camera phones send photos to blogs, social networksrun on SMS text messages, and Wikipedia can be read from an iPod. If one “voice” could be used tospeak for what is common to this variety of applications, perhaps a reasonable attempt is this: “Wewant to connect you with everything you like to do, know, share, watch, listen to, participate in, createand buy. And the more you use us, the better we’ll get.”
WebQuests originally scaffolded students used to knowledge acquisition to construction of meaning andthe teacher from “direct-instructor” to facilitator. Web 2 environments complete the progression fromteacher-centered practice to a learning-centered experience that is best mediated by students