How to Create a Webquest with Wordpress
Webquests are teaching tools that help you use technology and the Internet to engage your students in inquiry based learning activities. I've written several hubs about what webquests are and how they can be used in class. If you're not familiar with the concept, you could start by checking out this hub on using webquests and English class and this hub on using webquests in math class.
But another question worth considering is - how can a teacher make a webquest of his or her own? There are plenty of them around the Internet, but there are few that are of great quality.
Luckily, it's not too hard to create your own webquest. All you need is a service that lets you create and host a free website - and we're going to spend the rest of this hub talking about one such service.
Setting Up a Wordpress Blog as a Webquest
Wordpress is a service that offers 100% free blog hosting. You can create an account and create an unlimited number of blogs, each hosted on their own domain.
Now, with the default set up, this isn't necessarily a great choice for a webquest. Blogs are great for sharing information in a chronological fashion. They're set up to display a series of posts in a time-based index. A webquest, on the other hand, is a static webpage consisting of five or six individual pages.
You can, however, set up a Wordpress website to be just that. This is one of the advantages of Wordpress over other services, like Blogger. Although the blog format is the most common set up, Wordpress is an extremely versatile platform.
Let's walk through the process real quick, and talk about the major steps that you'll need to take.
Create Your Content As Pages
The first thing you'll need to do is create all of your individual pages. Don't create posts; you want to create pages. These will fit into a menu and navigational structure better in the end.
Organize the webquest the way that you want, but traditionally this means an introduction, a task, a process, a resource list, an evaluation mechanism, and/or a conclusion.
Create each page, use the formatting palette in the page editor to make the page look how you'd like, and make sure that you insert hyperlinks, images, and videos where appropriate.
Create a Navigational Menu
In the dashboard of your blog, under "Appearance" you can create menus. You'll want to create a menu, and add each of your five or six pages to it.
Within the menu, you can also rename each of the pages. This means that if you gave the page a long title, you can give it a much shorter name in the menu.
Choose a Simple, Minimalist Theme
Next, you'll want to pick a new theme. Choose something that's one or two columns. You'll probably want something with a menu across the top, but this isn't 100% necessary.
Avoid flashy designs that have sliders or too many images on the front page. It's not necessary, and you won't use all these features with your simple website.
Change the Front Page to the Introduction
Finally, in the dashboard choose "Settings" and go to "Reading." At the top, you can choose between your front page being an index or being a static page.
You want to choose a static page and you want to set your front page to your introduction. That way, when students go to your web address, they'll end up at the introduction by default.
Play Around, Ask For Help
That's the core idea here. You're setting up a simple website in Wordpress with a small number of pages. You can get a lot fancier from here, but these instructions should get you started if you're adventuresome enough to try it out.
Wordpress also has a fairly robust community. There are lots of volunteers that answer questions people have about using Wordpress, so head over to the Support Forum if you run into trouble.