Grade Level: 9-12
Subject Area: English Language Arts
Topic: George Orwell's 1984
Description: This WebQuest divides students into groups of four and gives each of them specific roles which require research into different elements of the dystopian society of 1984. The WebQuest seems to support higher thinking as it gives the students the task of creating their own dystopia to be more successful than Oceania, drawing from 1984 and other research to create their society with the economy, literature, government, and social activity in mind. The eventual goal of the task is for students to present a poster of their society to their class, and to also create a brochure advertising their dystopia.
Reason Selected: I chose this WebQuest first and foremost because of the clarity of its task and the process by which students would complete the task. Yet I also chose this particular 1984 WebQuest because of the innovative nature of its approach to the literature. Unlike most of the other WebQuests, this particular one seems astoundingly creative in asking students to take on the roles of “ministers” who will be creating the dystopian society. I imagine that students presented with the choice between this WebQuest and others would likely choose this one as more fun, yet it still has strong requirements which will force students to think critically about the novel and about dystopian societies.
Explanation: This WebQuest represented the pure creativity that would actually inspire secondary students to explore George Orwell's world in greater depth, explore societal rules and government issues, and work together in groups to create an authentic project. The execution, in terms of functioning links, was flawed. Yet of all the WebQuests that I observed, this one had the most clear and concise process working with an excellent method of evaluation. Although not perfect by any means, this WebQuest sets the standard for an innovative project that helps students engage in higher-level thinking.