Bernie Dodge is “Mr. WebQuest” go to his site to get lost in information.
News and views about the WebQuest model, a constructivist lesson format used widely
around the world.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Yesterday was terrific. Twenty-
four of the teachers I worked with in WebQuest's Jurassic Era came back together to learn
about QuestGarden. They were part of the Triton and Patterns Projects, two Challenge Grants
that stretched from 1995 to 2001, years packed with workshops, showcases, and a whole lot of
evolution of the WebQuest model. Marcie Bober, the project evaluator, counted up the impact
that projects made in the final report and I believe the numbers were close to 300 teachers
and, indirectly, 30,000 kids.
Alas, the grant money ran out, San Diego Unified hired a very top-down non-educator as
superintendent, suddenly literacy was the only game in town and there was almost no support
or time for technology. The amazing cadre of high-tech educators built up during those years
fell apart and had no center of gravity pulling it together to do new things.
There were lots of hugs and catching up. Many had moved on to other schools or upwards(?)
into administration. What brought them back together was the idea that we could move their
great old WebQuests into QuestGarden, bring them up to date, and give them back to the
world in better shape. There were many great lessons created in that project. At the risk of
disappointing those whose lessons I leave out, I'll mention Anthem, Return of the Great Game,
and The Children's Pool. Some of these, I hope, will soon see the light of day again with fresh
links and new ideas.
Labels: workshops QuestGarden "San Diego"
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 11:11 PM 0 comments
Monday, February 19, 2007
Summer WebQuest Institutes
There's snow on the ground in many places, so what better time to think about summer? This
year for the first time since 2001, I'm returning to the Thacher School in Ojai for a week-long
advanced WebQuest workshop. Ask anyone who's been there for a summer session and they'll
tell you about the food, the beautiful mountain sunsets, and the sheer pleasure of being
productive away from all distractions. The Teach the Teachers Consortium is also offering
classes in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, multimedia, video and robotics during the week of July 29
to August 3. I can't wait to go back!
I'm betting that there are other WebQuest workshops, institutes, and seminars out there this
summer. Where are they? Post some links in the comments and we'll develop a list for those
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 10:11 AM 0 comments
Sunday, December 31, 2006
A New Look
As the minutes tick down on 2006, the entire WebQuest staff (Bernie,
June and Alex) are hard at work getting the new QuestGarden site in order. To distinguish it
from this site, webquest.org, we'll be giving it a new look here and there. Part of that will be a
logo that captures the idea of QuestGarden, a place to grow great WebQuests.
We've got a few samples to show and would love to gather your input. Please take a minute to
look them over and tell us what you think. Thanks!
UPDATE: Survey is now closed. Thanks to the 66 of you who provided input. We have a
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 9:02 PM 1 comments
Sunday, December 17, 2006
No... not for good, but for better!
From December 24, 2006 to January 2, 2007, QuestGarden will be unavailable. We need the
time to do a major overhaul and the addition of new features.
During this shutdown we'll be moving all published WebQuests created in QuestGarden to a
new site and the structure of the URLs will change. Subject to revision, here is how it will go:
If your old WebQuest was at
...its new address will be something like
and you will have the option of changing that to something like
For a given QuestGarden member, the first part of the URL (e.g.
http://questgarden.com/44/285/) will always be the same for each WebQuest they create, so it
should be easier to remember.
More changes are on the way and will be reported here when ready. Sorry for the
inconvenience during our shutdown... but you really should be doing something else this time
of year anyway!
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 1:17 PM 3 comments
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
There are some great new features to announce this Thanksgiving Eve.
First and bestest: you can now export your WebQuest to a
zipped archive and take it with you. This will be great for education students whose professors
want them to turn in something heftier than a mere URL. It's also, more broadly, a good
capability for any web-based service to have. Would you do significant work on a site that locks
you in and doesn't let you pull your stuff out when you want? I wouldn't. Now QuestGarden
does the right thing.
Other more subtle improvements: 2) signing up for a new account is smoother. If you leave out
a required field you don't have to start all over. 3) If you forget your password there's a link
that will send it to you. 4) If you accidentally add the wrong co-author you can now delete
them. 5) If there are graphics or documents you uploaded as part of your WebQuest that you
decided not to use, you can now delete them.
Many more new features coming up during Christmas break.
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 5:04 PM 1 comments
Friday, September 01, 2006
QuestGarden is One Year Old!
A year ago today I flipped the switch and opened up QuestGarden to anyone who wanted to try
it out. Like the WebQuest idea itself, QuestGarden has taken off beyond my wildest
expectations. We have 34356 registered users in 120 countries and more than 19000
WebQuests have been created.
For the last year I've been paying for server space and bandwidth out of pocket and doing all
the work of running the service myself. As I announced at the outset, after a year QuestGarden
is to become a subscription service with a fee of $20 for a 2-year subscription. The switchover
was supposed to occur today, but it's taking longer than I thought to set up the payment
interface, bank account and other financial mysteries.
Therefore, the date for beginning subscriptions has been moved back a month to
In spite of the low cost, I've received a surprising number of notes pleading for some
exceptions to the fee. Being a flexible guy without a single strand of business acumen DNA in
his body, I'm preparing a couple of alternatives to the mix. Tentatively, here they are:
Thirty-day free trial. If you can get your teacher-ed students through the whole
process of WebQuest creation in a month, they will incur no costs. At the end of the free trial
their work gets archived and can be retrieved if they subscribe.
Institutional accounts. A university, school or staff development entity can acquire a
set of accounts to use in a workshop or class. No author names are associated with the
accounts and none of the resulting WebQuests will be listed anywhere. But they'll serve as a
way to introduce the concept at no cost to the participant and just a small cost to the
That's what I'm thinking at this point, at least. Once there's some income coming in, I can hire
some programming and logistical help to speed the progress towards QuestGarden 2.0 and
provide stipends to experienced teachers to mentor novices along by providing individual
Thanks to everyone for the support and thank you notes over this inaugural year. Stay tuned
for an even better set of tools during our Terrible Twos.
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 8:08 PM 7 comments
Friday, July 14, 2006
WebQuests at NECC 2006
NECC 2006 filled San Diego with close to 17,000 excited educators last week and WebQuests,
as usual, were part of the conversation.
This is a shot of Annie Rae
Clementz at her presentation
WebQuests: A Mechanism for Adapting Technology Professional Development. The binder she's
holding is part of a very creative staff development camp she and Lynn Burdick designed in
WebQuest format. It's called A Moveable Feast IX and it just concluded today. The WebQuest
that organized participants' activities can be seen here. This use of WebQuests should inspire
anyone putting an inservice effort together. Great stuff!
My One Year of QuestGardening: A Crop Report had a crowd of over 300. I covered some of
the statistics of the past year and looked ahead to future developments. QuestGarden has over
29,000 registered users in 114 countries! They've created over 14,000 WebQuests so far and
the growth is accelerating. See the slides for more details.
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 4:00 PM 2 comments
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Log in and give it a whack! No doubt there will be new little quirks that turn up in the new
environment, but it seems to be basically back in business... only faster.
Again, I sincerely apologize for the disruptions the move caused. The complications (as usual)
were completely unanticipated and I had to learn a lot of new Linux and php lore in order to get
us back on the air. The new server has a lot more room to grow and I don't foresee any more
Now I can focus on adding some more features. (And getting some sleep!)
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 6:03 PM 11 comments
Friday, March 24, 2006
Server Move Update
My sincere apologies to all those anxiously awaiting the return of QuestGarden. It's almost
ready to roll except for two things: the ability to edit the appearance still isn't working and
pictures aren't uploading properly. Both of these things are due to the fact that some php
settings on the new server are different than on the old site, and I'm still working to fix the
scripts that broke. If I can get the picture thing working first, I'll open up QuestGarden again
while continuing to work on the appearance editor.
Please be mindful of the fact that the entire WebQuest World Headquarters staff consists of me,
and that I have other obligations, besides this one. I think you'll all be pleased by the enhanced
speed and reliablity of the site once we finish the move.
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 9:48 AM 5 comments
Sunday, March 19, 2006
New Server Move Delayed
An unforeseen complication is delaying the completion of our move to a new server. It will
certainly not be up tonight. Monday would be good but Tuesday seems more likely. Thanks for
UPDATE: We're almost there. Some permissions problems on files need to be fixed. Hoping for
a Thursday night re-opening.
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 8:10 PM 4 comments
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
WebQuest.org is Moving
No... no need to change your bookmarks. The URL for the
WebQuest Portal and QuestGarden will remain the same but the actual server they sit on is
moving to a powerful new home. We've outgrown the shared server we've been on since 2002.
The symptoms of that are that twice in the last two weeks, our web host has shut off access to
the site because too many requests to the database were flooding in at the same time,
disrupting things for the other sites on the same server. (Strangely enough, both times that this
happened, a class of kids at a parochial school in Minnesota was online).
In any case, with over 18000 registered users, it's time to move on up to bigger iron. Moving all
that code and user data is going to be tricky and there will need to be a period of time when
the site is unavailable. I anticipate that this will happen sometime around St. Patrick's Day and
I'll try to minimize the impact by doing it after midnight, Pacific Time.
Update: The official shutdown time is 12:30 am, Sunday, March 19. With any luck,
the site will be back up that evening... but who knows?
When we come out on the other side, I hope that we'll have faster performance and more room
to grow. Thanks to all of you for the amazing support you've been giving the WebQuest idea.
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 8:39 AM 9 comments
Friday, February 03, 2006
Is Latin Really Dead? Not in Maine!
Congratulations go to Eric Chamberlin whose WebQuest Is Latin Really Dead?
impressed members of the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Consolidated School District, according
to this report. Great to see a WebQuest used as evidence to get more support for doing the
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 1:28 PM 4 comments
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
The DaVinci Code
I guess WebQuests have truly arrived in the mainstream. There's a lot
of buzz around the web about the new DaVinci Code Web Quest which is part of a viral
marketing campaign to promote the movie coming out next May and to sell a few more copies
of the book to the handful who don't already have it (mostly cavedwellers in Borneo). The quest
is a series of puzzles to solve that start out easy and move on towards impossible.
So that's what a WebQuest is, eh? A sequence of puzzles? I think not. Perhaps the authors of
the site would agree since they carefully label it as a "Web (space) Quest".
Give it a try, though. If you like puzzles and word play you'll have fun with it. Just don't call it a
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 11:21 AM 12 comments
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
WebQuests are Feminine. Who Knew?
I keep track of mentions of the word WebQuest using
Technorati, which tracks the travails of pre-service teachers creating WebQuests in a required
class, and occasionally the wails of high school kids who were assigned a WebQuest. I learn a
lot from reading these unedited accounts. Increasingly there are blogs in Spanish, Portuguese
and Chinese that mention WebQuests, too, and today I noticed something I hadn't thought of
before: WebQuests are girly.
Here's the evidence: "Las WebQuest", "Una WebQuest", "La WebQuest", "Esta WebQuest" and
there are lots more where those came from.
I wonder if that's true in German or any of the other languages that assign gender to nouns?
And how do they know?
posted by Bernie Dodge @ 2:46 PM 28 comments
Summer WebQuest Institutes
A New Look
QuestGarden is One Year Old!
WebQuests at NECC 2006
Server Move Update
New Server Move Delayed