Webquests and Teacher Modeling
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Webquests and Teacher Modeling Candace Brownfield Louisiana State University Kelly Kelly Baton Rouge, La. What is a Webquest?.

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Webquests and Teacher Modeling

Candace Brownfield Louisiana State University

Kelly Kelly Baton Rouge, La

What is a Webquest?

The webquest model was developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March at San Diego State University in 1995.

Bernie Dodge describes a webquest as an “inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web.”

Components of a Webquest:



♣Process with web resources



Teacher Modeling

The purpose of teacher modeling is to provide students with a clear, multi-sensory model of a skill or concept.

In a lower elementary classroom the teacher typically engages students in learning through:

♣demonstrating enthusiasm

♣maintaining a lively pace

♣periodically questioning students

through checking for student understanding


The Webquest is designed to promote inquiry in the classroom. While the students are completing the Webquest, the methods of teacher modeling will be assessed. To determine the significance of teacher modeling and scaffolding for lower elementary students. The goal for this study is to improve teacher instruction and to gain a better understanding of effective teacher modeling.


During this research design study first grade students will complete a Webquest and a follow up activity.

The significance of teacher modeling and guidance will be assessed throughout this study.

The students will work in pairs to complete the Webquest and follow up activity.

The focus will be on the student interaction with one another and the Webquest.

Overall, the study will unveil the best way for teachers to model and use a Webquest in the first grade classroom.

St. Patrick’s Day Webquest

We designed a St. Patrick’s Day Webquest for the elementary students to complete. We chose St. Patrick’s Day because it is a holiday that all of the students could relate to.

View St. Patrick’s Day Webquest

  • Research on Young Children

  • ♣ Piaget, Jean

    • children are “little philosophers”

    • stresses the importance of using imagery when creating young children’s learning activities

  • ♣ Eriksson, Eric

    • stage in life where children learn important life skills. Such as working in teams.

    • They begin to learn to follow rules and gain responsibilities

  • ♣ Haugland & Wright, 1997

    • Studies have found that open-ended, child directed software made a more significant difference in children’s development rather than drill and practice software.

  • ♣ Becker, 2000

    • When young children are working on computers they should be encouraged to socially interact with their peers

  • Research on Webquests

  • ♣ Very little empirical research

  • ♣ Much information was found on the way Webquests are constructed

  • ♣ Vidoni, 2002

    • Since Webquests meet these elements, they are powerful tools for inspiring critical thinking skills in students.

  • Research on Teacher Modeling in Webquests

  • ♣Little research has been published regarding the role of the teacher as a model for Webquest instruction

  • ♣Lipscomb

    • found that the activities before and after student internet research were very important in guiding the students

  • ♣LoParrino

    • through introducing WebQuests in a first grade classroom, she discovered that by her scaffolding it helped the students to apply what they learned to create their final project

  • Research Questions

  • Can 1st graders benefit from web-based learning?

  • 2. How much modeling is necessary for 1st grade Webquests?

  • 3. Does modeling the Webquest improve student’s attitude towards Webquests?

  • 4. Does working with a partner affect a student’s attitude towards a Webquest?

  • Methodology

  • ♣Mixed Method Research

    • Assessment of process and performance

    • Observation and Questionnaires

  • ♣7 elementary classes

    • 1 first grade homeroom class (Mrs. Kelly)

    • 3 first grade computer classes (Mrs. Brownfield)

    • 3 second grade computer classes (Mrs. Brownfield)

    • Two day duration: one 30 minute session per day

    • Desktop computers

  • ♣Topic

    • St. Patrick’s Day Webquest

  • ♣Intervention:

    • Graphic organizer template(Microsoft Word)

    • Postcard template (Microsoft Publisher)

Outcome Variables




♣Half the students received teacher modeling and guidance prior to beginning the Webquest.

♣The first grade students completed the Webquest with a partner. The second grade students did not work with a partner.

♣The teacher observed the students and recorded data on the observation chart constructed specifically for the Webquest.

♣On day one, the students researched and completed the graphic organizer.

♣On day two, the students constructed the Symbols of Ireland poster.

♣The students completed the questionnaire.

♣The teacher evaluated the process and final project using a specifically designed rubric.

Components of the Webquest

Link to the Passport (graphic organizer)

Link to the rubric

Example Student Graphic Organizers

“Passport” to Ireland

Non-Modeled Example

Modeled Example

Table 5: Results of Student Perception Questionnaire Brownfield: First Grade

Table 5: Results of Process and Product Brownfield: Second Grade

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Table 5: Results of Student Perception Questionnaire Brownfield: First Grade

Table 6: Results of Student Perception Questionnaire Brownfield: Second Grade

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Research Question 1 Brownfield: First Grade

Can 1st graders benefit from web-based learning?

Our results indicate that the students do benefit from web-based learning. Most of the students responded on the questionnaire that they found the webquest interesting and many indicated that they learned more about Ireland through this process. We also observed that the students were enjoying the process while they were doing it. Overall the webquest was much more beneficial to the first grade students in the modeled groups. Both teachers agree that this is the only way they would present webquest to their first grade students. The rubric results overall also support this notion.

Research Question 2 Brownfield: First Grade

How much modeling is necessary for 1st grade Webquests?

Our results indicated that modeling is a very important part of integrating webquests into an early elementary classroom. Detailed modeling in all aspects from webquest navigation to working well with a partner should be included in the webquest’s introduction.

The results of this study also indicate that as students progress academically, the need for modeling might decrease. This notion is supported because there was no significant difference between modeled and non-modeled groups in second grade. This can be explained in the case of Mrs. Brownfield’s students because her second grade technology classes include much more advanced skills than her first grade classes.

Research Question 3 Brownfield: First Grade

Does modeling the Webquest improve student’s attitude towards Webquests?

Our results also indicate that modeling the webquest improves student’s attitudes towards the webquest in first and second grade students. In all three cases the questionnaire results were overall more positive in the modeled groups than in the non-modeled groups.

Research Question 4 Brownfield: First Grade

Does working with a partner affect a student’s attitude towards a Webquest?

Our results indicate that working with a partner does affect a student’s attitude towards a webquest particularly when modeling is involved. In both first grade case studies there was a significant difference in attitudes concerning the question “working with a partner made this project more fun”. We attribute this difference to the modeling process because during the demonstration correct conduct when working with a partner was modeled and discussed.

Correlations Brownfield: First Grade

In both case studies, the modeled group performed better on the St. Patrick’s Day WebQuest than the non-modeled group.

Overall, the modeled group was more accurate at following the directions and completing the assignments.

After reviewing the results from the questionnaires, the one area that varied greatly between the modeled and non-modeled groups was the issue of working with partners. We believe this is due to the teacher discussing appropriate behavior when working with a partner with the modeled group.

Conclusions Brownfield: First Grade

Ultimately, we believe that a webquest is a powerful tool to use in a first grade classroom. The webquest is most effective when the teacher models it for the students and serves as a scaffold throughout the process.