26 July 2008

0 Sage on the Stage to the Guide on the Side

Shifting from Teacher Centered to Student Centered Learning

As educators, we are asked to explore new dimensions to our roles by shifting from “Sage on the Stage to the Guide on the Side”. The shift from teacher-centered to student-centered requires the educator to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge by guiding the student towards the process of discovery and inquiry.

WebQuests offer the student the opportunity to engage in their own learning by the means of critical thinking, problem solving and exploring intriguing questions.

What is a WebQuest?

Designed/originated by Professor Bernie Dodge and Tom March (San Diego State University), WebQuests are online curriculum modules which engage the student in learning about an authentic topic or problem. Supporting the learner’s thinking on levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation – the higher level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, WebQuests initiate cooperative activities, whereby, the student assume different roles relative to a realistic problem.

Students develop/create a product which demonstrates their knowledge of the problem and its potential solutions. The use of the Internet is usually the main information resource, although other more traditional resources (i.e. magazines, journals, books) are available.

Why WebQuests?

  • Engages the student in higher-level cognition skills (i.e. analyze, interpret, draw inferences).
  • Student-centered
  • Inquiry-based
  • Requires decision-making
  • Promotes communication and collaboration
  • Increases student motivation
  • Exhibits resourcefulness and creativity
  • Builds knowledge by synthesizing information
  • Fosters an interdisciplinary approach to learningRequires reflection and self-evaluation

The Six Building Blocks of WebQuests


  • Introduce a real-life dilemma, which the students must solve.
  • Orients the student and establishes a clear purpose for the WebQuest.


  • Description of what the learner will accomplish at the end of the exercise.

Process /Resources

  • The steps that learners should go through in completing the task are included in this section.


  • This section describes the evaluation criteria needed to meet performance and content standards.


  • Summarize what the learners are to accomplish or learn, upon completing the activity or lesson.
  • Provides a natural sense of closure to the activity.

Teacher’s Page

  • Provides background, standards, etc.
  • Activities for the teacher, in preparation for presenting (re: examples of products, etc).

WebQuests offers a way to enrich one’s curricula by fostering student learning through inquiry-oriented activities which incorporate elements of problem-based and project-based learning.

Visit the following sites to learn more or to view completed webquests.


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