USING WEBQUESTS IN THE TRAINING OF FUTURE TEACHERS OF SECONDARY AND HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION
The European Higher Education Space has brought about a lot of changes and requirements since the outset of the Bologna Process in 1999, but among all these, the competence related to Information Technology and Communication (hereafter ITC) was the one whose use was sought to be further increased and promoted.
ITCs are currently having a huge impact and transforming universities (Mas and Tejada, 2013). Their tools are providing educational institutions with new roles, thus creating new teaching and learning environments while producing new educational materials at the same time.
In this same vein, Quintero and Hernández (2011) highlight that ITCs involve a great challenge for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), not only because of their availability and potential, but also, and more importantly, due to the teaching innovation processes which may be applied.
The Webquest (WQ) is one of the tools to facilitate significant training for the students and innovative experience for teachers. They were first used by Dodge and March (1995) who described it as' an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the Internet'. Through the didactical use of Internet resources, higher level cognitive processes are developed (Roig-Vila et al., 2014). WQ is teacher-driven, and students are required to share their findings through an open website. Jalo y Simón (2008: 18) explain that knowledge is built through research and transformation of information and the scaffolding provided by the teacher.
The objective of this paper is to show the results of the implementation of a pilot experiment carried out by two teachers at a private HEI, with students of the Degree in Teaching Training, which took place during the Fall Semester of this year. This enabled us to gather information about the perceptions by these future teachers regarding the elaboration and building of their learning.
The purpose of the activity was not only that the students be familiar with this innovative tool, but also that they could experience how to do it and see the results obtained. In this case, the activity was put into practice in the course called ‘Educational Centre Projects and Tutorial Strategies in the Classroom’ and, in particular, in the Module related to Values. The students were required to choose one or two values to work with in a simulated way.
The activity consisted in creating a scenario: the students/future teachers had to imagine that they were tutoring a group with some specific characteristics, which they had to describe, and through the WQ they had to work on the previously chosen values. The conclusion stage involved students being required to include a section commenting on their personal learning and their experience with the WQ.
At the end of the process, not only did all the students highlight the important role of WQ as a learning tool, but also its innovative nature, to break routines and foster values such as fellowship and respect. This is because students, through teacher-driven tasks, unconsciously reach their objectives, thus noticing what is intended to learn.
After checking the learning evidence, the experience has proven to be very effective and innovative, thanks to which the student successfully assimilates the content. Its success has led the management of our HEI to extend it in order to be put in practice in other Degrees and Master’s Degrees.