If you’re looking for a way to move from lecture to student-centered activity, webquests are an excellent option. I learned about webquests about a year ago and built one to replace a lecture on nutrition. The results were worth the time it took to research material and build the content.
The students took the resources and instructions and came up with innovative ways to explain the Canada Food Guide and the importance of healthy, balanced meals. I included resources on menu diversity and the benefits of an active lifestyle to round out the subject. Rather than the fact-filled lecture I had inherited in this course, the students used the webquest resources to build a game show to share the content in a dynamic way.
We also looked at developing a food budget and compared local grocery chains including Safeway, Sobeys, and Superstore for value and variety. Finally, we addressed dining out at both fast-food and sit-down restaurants such as Tim Horton’s and Moxi’s to compare value, calories and menu options. Students included their favorite restaurants into this search.
The positive results should not be a surprise. Students’ engagement in the topic was far greater with the webquest approach, and several students remarked that they were in a better position to apply this information in their own lives. Compared to other cohorts, this class as a whole did a better job of connecting the nutrition topic to their work supporting people who have an intellectual disability to understand nutrition.
A key component to the success of webquests lies in choosing resources that are easy to use, and giving the students control over how they decide to share what they learn. The game show concept was the students’ idea. The next group may approach it in a very different way. No matter how they choose to share it, if the ability to put the information to use remains as high as it was with the first group, I will have even more proof that webquests are a beneficial method for flipping the classroom.